Carrboro (Orange County) – A former Sanctuary City
Lisa Flynn, our Strategic Prayer Outing Leader, had been concerned for several months about Sanctuary Cities in America and their violation of Federal Immigration laws. My immediate response was to make sure that we prayed the Lord’s heart towards refugees fleeing religious persecution and that our prayers completely lined up with Scripture. But, although on the surface Sanctuary Cities sounded like the Cities of Refuge found in the Word of God, further discussion and research unveiled that they were quite a different matter altogether.
Biblical Cities of Refuge
In Scripture (Exodus 21:12-13 and Numbers 35:10-12, 22-25), cities of refuge were established by the Lord to be places where manslayers could flee, if their actions that led to the death were unintentional, in order to allow time for their actions to be judged by the congregation. If their actions were indeed found to be unintentional, they would then remain in that city until the high priest died.
On the other hand with regard to Sanctuary cities, there aren’t any legal definitions, so there is no accountability, no trial, no repentance but instead there is freedom to roam unchecked. A case in point was the tragedy this past July in San Francisco, a Sanctuary city, wherein a young woman was gunned down without cause by a man who resided there with illegal immigration status even though he was a repeat criminal offender across multiple states.
Be Subject to Government
At the time of Lisa’s wrestling there were nine (9) Sanctuary cities in North Carolina and Lisa had selected Carrboro as the representative city to prayer walk. In the midst of her prayers (October28th), Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill that banned sanctuary cities in our state.
Romans 13:1-4 (NASB)
13 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.
Some impressions – skewed lines, strange ties and new beginnings!
We wanted to follow through by still going to Carrboro to uncover any iniquity that may have been planted while the “door” was left open. So we sent a team of four to walk the land, repent, and prophesy!
Welcome Holy Spirit! Take Your Rightful Place
Carrboro had once been a city that sent missionaries to China but one of the main church buildings was now just the community center – so we set out to start our prayer journey there. One of the first people we met after a “wrong” turn was an Ethiopian man working on a piece of artwork in the nearby park. We spoke with him and found that he readily mixed bible verses with lots of pagan idolatry making seemingly no distinction between the two. We found it strange for him to be in what we thought was just a typical small town but we indeed found a link to Africa. The gentleman let us pray for him and we later extended that prayer to generally come against the influence of false worship as we also cried out for revelation and sanctification towards the truth. Yvonne remembered that Orange County was one of the places that ran off James McGready who helped start the flame of the Second Great Awakening at three small river churches in Kentucky. So we stood in the gap and repented for those past actions. Our research had indicated that the atmosphere over Carrboro had shifted from its godly beginnings to being a collector of a lot of liberal and paganistic influence. We cried out in repentance again and we decreed that the Spirit of the Lord would once again be the only spirit ruling and reigning there!
Staking Carrboro’s destiny
Carrboro was once a railroad stop established outside of Chapel Hill so that this passage way would be separated from the students attending the university there. The thought was to distance any temptations so that they could focus on their studies. But now Carrboro seemed to be an open door to distractions. We shut that door through our prayers and decrees while Lisa planted a stake of acacia wood to prophetically submit Carrboro to the Lord’s destiny and purpose for her.
“What has my lord to say to his servant?”
Our last stop was to the gravesite memorial to the African American slaves and freedmen who had helped build Carrboro. One team member was taken aback over the obvious distinction in care between the graves of the African Americans and that of the Weaver family who owned the lot.
In that moment, I was on the battlefield outside of Jericho with Joshua:
13 Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” 14 He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” 15 The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.”
We are to guard our hearts and always seek the Lord’s perspective. He does not judge as other men judge. His thoughts, His ways are higher and we must look to His purposes, His will, His kingdom. We likewise look while in the midst of our battlefields until we behold our Captain, the Lord Jesus, and we cease from our own agenda, our own perspective, our own fear, anger, discouragement, disappointments, arguments, understanding, and we no longer seek to see whose side is He on, but we take off our sandals and we commit to seek to hear from Him. “What has my lord to say to his servant?”