Informed by key passages in the Bible, the Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide is a resource to aid believers in seeking the welfare of the city through prayer. Listing the 77 communities (comprised of 221 micro-neighborhoods) that make up the city of Chicago, this prayer guide provides information about the history, demographics, and needs of the neighborhoods which make up each community, and gives suggestions for how to specifically pray, praise, and give thanks.
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About the Author
JOHN FUDER (PH.D., Biola University) is Director of Justice and Compassion Ministries of re:source global as well as a part time grad school and adjunct professor for Moody Bible Institute. In 1993, after 15 years of serving in urban ministry in California, Dr. Fuder brought his passion of equipping students for effective urban ministry to Chicago. As the Professor of Urban Studies at Moody Theological Seminary, Dr. Fuder taught ministry practitioners and students for 17 years. Dr. Fuder has authored many publications including A Heart for the Community, A Heart for the City, and Training Students for Urban Ministry. Dr. Fuder and his wife, Nellie, have three children and a granddaughter.
Read an Excerpt
Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide
Seeking God's Peace for the City
By John Fuder, Elizabeth Koenig
Moody PublishersCopyright © 2014 John Fuder
All rights reserved.
See Map (3)
The Lord will be a stronghold for the oppressed ... in times of trouble.
Albany Park, Mayfair, North Mayfair, Ravenswood Manor
Asian (12.7%), Black or African American (4.3%), Hispanic or Latino (51.0%), White (30.2%)
Annexed to Chicago in 1893, Albany Park is now home to one of the most ethnically diverse zip codes in the country. Initially settled by German and Swedish immigrants, Albany Park became home to a number of Russian Jews after 1912. Following World War II, many Jewish families moved north, leaving Albany Park during the economic and social decline. The population dropped drastically as homes and stores became vacant, leading to the development of illegal drug trade, prostitution, and gangs. In response, city government and other corporations worked to improve Albany Park through streetscape development, low-interest loans, and financing packages. These efforts brought a return of residents and an increase in property values. In 1990, Albany Park became home to the largest number of Korean, Filipino, and Guatemalan immigrants in Chicago and became known as the "Ellis Island" of Chicago. The population continues to shift as Korean immigrants move to northern suburbs.
As one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Chicago, Albany Park is a community of many religions. Pray for truth to reign in the hearts of the people and the gospel to break through cultural boundaries and strongholds.
There are several churches and organizations that are working with the refugee population. Pray that God would give them favor and the necessary resources to serve the refugees.
Many churches have been recently planted to address the diversity in this neighborhood. Pray that their efforts would take root in the lives of the community residents.
Pray for those that are marginalized in this community, such as the homeless and undocumented residents. Pray that they may reestablish connectedness to family, employment, and schooling.
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... the new Jerusalem ... God shall be among them ... there shall no longer be any death ...
Asian (0%), Black or African American (1.4%), Hispanic or Latino (67.8%), White (30.1%)
During the 1850s, Archer Heights remained undeveloped swampland, home to few settlers. There was little economic development in the area despite the establishment of the Illinois & Michigan Canal, the Chicago & Alton Railroad, and Archer Road. After the turn of the century in 1900, spectators developed residential sections of Archer Heights. The establishment of electric streetcars by 1906 created an influx of Poles, Italians, Lithuanians, Czechs, and Russian Jews. The 1930s and 1940s brought industrial and commercial growth and about two-thirds of the area became industry. Residential growth, however, picked up again following World War II. The population fluctuated between 1950 and 1990 with the decline of Midway's significance as the main airport in Chicago. During this time, the population remained notably consistent in composition. At the end of the twentieth century, 60 percent of Archer Heights was for manufacturing and bulk transportation facilities, 30 percent was residential, and 10 percent was commercial. The character of Archer Heights remained consistent throughout the twentieth century as a mostly blue-collar, Caucasian, and industrial population. In the early twenty-first century, the population began to shift as a large number of Hispanic families moved into the neighborhood.
As the social landscape of this neighborhood changes rapidly, the residents are experiencing racial and language barriers. Pray for churches to come alongside the people and help alleviate the tensions.
There are many families that have been displaced and fragmented in this community. Pray for stability and that they would discover their belonging as members of the family of God.
Pray for young people to stay in school and stem the tide of high dropout rates in this community. Pray for teachers and administrators to persevere and inspire students to see the value of education.
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He who is gracious to the needy honors Him.
Armour Square, Chinatown, Wentworth Gardens
Asian (67.9%), Black or African American (9.1%), Hispanic or Latino (3.7%), White (16.5%)
Armour Square found its beginnings when German, Irish, and Swedish immigrants arrived during the Civil War. Around 1912, Chinese living on the south edge of the Loop began a mass movement southward, encountering severe racial discrimination. They were forced to do business through an intermediary. The H.O. Stone Company acted on behalf of fifty Chinese businessmen, securing leases on buildings in what has since become a major tourist attraction in Chicago. During World War I, the narrow corridor that was limited to African American residents on Chicago's South Side, known as the "Black Belt," expanded into the southern section of Armour Square. Chicago Housing Authority's construction of Wentworth Gardens in 1947 brought the population in the area to an all-time high. However, the demolition brought about for the construction of the Dan Ryan and Stevenson Expressway resulted in a steady decline in population. The distinctive Chinatown and Wentworth Gardens has made Armour Square the diverse environment it is today.
Pray for the long-term development of the community as a new generation of leaders are taking over and starting to emerge.
Many immigrants are mainland Chinese students coming to America specifically for an education, which provides a window of opportunity to share the gospel with these students during their short time here.
Praise God for the work He is doing through a number of Christian social service agencies and churches in the community that provide ESL services, job training, and tutoring classes.
Recently, Chinatown businesses have gained the interest of foreign investors, with new and different understanding of business than the traditional. Pray that tensions among people in business would be mediated and resolved.
Pray that the underground issues and tensions, especially trafficking, would be addressed and not tolerated by the community.
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And let our people also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs ...
Ashburn, Ashburn Estates, Beverly View, Crestline, Parkview, Scottsdale, Wrightwood
Asian (0.8%), Black or African American (49.2%), Hispanic or Latino (31.5%), White (17.6%)
Following Ashburn's annexation to Chicago in 1893, railroads were built in hopes that the community would flourish. However, Ashburn was slow in development, and by 1894, only a few homes and residences were added. Chicago's first airport, Ashburn Flying Field, was opened in 1916, which became a training camp for Signal Corps during World War I. By this time, Ashburn's population had grown to 1,363. The Municipal Airport (now Midway) then opened in 1927 in a neighboring community, and Ashburn Field closed in 1939, later becoming a suburban-style mall. Although the population of Ashburn shrank down to 731 during World War II, the automobile and post-WWII baby boom led to rapid growth in the community, with the population peaking at 47,161 in 1970. The majority of the population was white until a new racially mixed neighborhood, Maycrest, formed. During the 1960s, neighborhoods integrated with the help of Greater Ashburn Planning Association (GAPA), which worked to minimize racial strife over school desegregation. Ashburn has maintained an extremely high homeowner-ship rate, with retirement housing to help families age in the same place.
Praise God for the ethnic diversity in the community. Pray for cultural sensitivity and continued peace among the residents.
Pray for the local high school which, though underresourced, brings together young people from many socioeconomic backgrounds.
Praise God that this community has not experienced the instances of violence and gang activity of neighboring communities. Pray that these patterns of safety would continue in Ashburn. A once vibrant church presence has waned in recent years. Pray for a renewed focus on the part of the body of Christ.
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... always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all.
Auburn Gresham, Gresham
Asian (0.1%), Black or African American (98.3%), Hispanic or Latino (0.7%), White (0.4%)
Auburn Gresham was annexed to Chicago in 1889 comprising German and Dutch settlers. Later, Irish settlers moved to the area and grew to 21 percent of the population. Near the end of the 1950s, African Americans began leaving the overcrowded corridor on Chicago's South Side referred to as the "Black Belt" and moved into the neighborhoods surrounding Auburn Gresham. To address the developing racial tensions, churches and civic organizations formed the Organization of Southwest Communities (OSC) in 1959. Their goal was to implement stable racial integration by maintaining property values, eliminating racist stereotypes, and preventing violence. However, in the 1960s, crime grew at a fast pace. Simultaneously, the population of Auburn Gresham increased dramatically. With national and citywide movements and riots, many white residents left the region. By 1970, Auburn Gresham was settled by a 69 percent African American population. While the OSC was unsuccessful in maintaining integration, the transition from a majority white to a majority black population was more peaceful than might have been otherwise.
Pray for increased educational opportunities for children and teenagers.
Pray for the body of Christ in this community to be empowered in the gospel to provide an example for the neighborhood.
Pray for parents in this community to become more involved in the lives of their children.
Pray for a break in the poverty, violence, and crime prevalent in the neighborhood.
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He saw the city and wept over it.
Austin, Galewood, The Island
Asian (0.4%), Black or African American (84.7%), Hispanic or Latino (8.3%), White (5.9%)
Henry Austin purchased 470 acres in 1865 for a temperance settlement named "Austinville" in which home ownership, tree-lined parkways, and gracious living would be the status quo. By 1920, Austin had become one of Chicago's best-served commuter neighborhoods. Germans, Scandinavians, Irish, and Italian families settled and built churches and homes, but fled during the 1960s when the demographics began to change dramatically. By 1980, Austin's population was predominantly African American. Like many other West Side communities, the neighborhood experienced the tragedy of systemic racism and white flight through housing disinvestment, vacancy, demolition, and the loss of jobs and commerce. It is currently known as one of Chicago's roughest neighborhoods, stricken with illegal drug and gang activity. Yet, there is hope for the future as Austin experiences signs of recovery through neighborhood churches and organizations.
Pray against violence in the community, which has seen an increase in recent years due to domestic violence, drugs, gang activity, and school closures. In fact, Austin has become known as one of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods.
Pray for the many single-parent families, especially the struggles many women face who are left raising families by themselves. Pray for a stronger commitment to family.
In 2013, the Chicago Public School System started closing down almost fifty schools in Chicago. Several of these schools are in Austin. Pray for stability within the community during this time of transition in the school system.
Pray for the various churches in Austin to reach out to the community by getting involved in people's lives by addressing both physical and spiritual needs.
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... stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.
Avalon Park, Marynook, Stony Island Park
Asian (0.3%), Black or African American (98.1%), Hispanic or Latino (0%), White (0.4%)
One of the unique attributes of Avalon Park are the swamps that used to occupy this territory. To avoid flooding, many houses were built on stilts during early settlement. Swamp conditions also discouraged attempts at permanent settlement, causing Avalon Park to serve as a site for waste disposal rather than family living. By the 1880s, German and Irish descendants began to reside in the community. Also, the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the installation of drainage in 1900 stimulated residential growth. Then, in 1910, the former "Pennytown" changed its name officially to Avalon Park. The 1920s brought a second housing boom of single-family brick bungalows and a few apartments. African Americans began to move into Avalon Park during the 1960s and made up 96 percent of the population by 1980. They did not experience the same ravages white flight usually brought, enabling owner-occupancy rates to remain consistently over 70 percent in recent decades.
The Nation of Islam has a strong presence in the broader community in Avalon Park. Pray for young African American men to discover their true identity in Christ.
Numerous businesses in the neighborhood are struggling, making the availability of local job opportunities scarce for the residents. Pray for economic renewal of the community.
Like many other neighborhoods in Chicago, the community is a "food desert" with a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables for families resulting in an improper diet and health concerns. Pray for initiatives to educate residents in healthy eating patterns and for affordable alternatives.
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Seek the welfare of the city ... pray to the Lord on its behalf ...
Avondale, Jackowo, The Polish Village, Waclowowo
Asian (3.2%), Black or African American (2.5%), Hispanic or Latino (65.8%), White (27.0%)
Avondale grew along Milwaukee Avenue and paralleling railroad lines, developing as a working-class community. Rapid growth began in 1889 following Avondale's annexation to Chicago. Transportation improved with the extension of street railway lines and the construction of the "L", providing means for commuting to the city for jobs. The rail lines and the river attracted industry in Avondale. The river banks once contained boatyards, brick factories, and an amusement park. Today, the industrial belt along the river is being replaced with luxury townhouses, condominiums, and shopping malls, leading to the loss of many industrial jobs that supported the working class for decades.
Praise God for the diversity found in Avondale. Pray for ongoing unity between groups of people as the neighborhood continues to change.
The community as a whole is under-churched, and many of those who are involved in the church are more connected culturally than spiritually. Pray for an increased presence of the body of Christ in this neighborhood.
Unemployment and underemployment is a very real struggle in this community. Many households have parents working two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Pray for the physical, social, and emotional needs of these families.
The schools in this neighborhood attempt to educate the students, but face overcrowding and language barriers. Pray that despite these hurdles, resources would be allocated and the needs of the students would be met.
Pray for new businesses to focus on this area as there is still a need for economic improvement in the community.
Excerpted from Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide by John Fuder, Elizabeth Koenig. Copyright © 2014 John Fuder. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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What People are Saying About This
“John Fuder and his team have created a great tool to help us pray more strategically for Chicago. I would encourage everyone who cares about the spiritual condition of our city to get ahold of a Chicago Neighborhood Prayer Guide and start praying. We should never underestimate the transformative power of persistent and united prayer for a city.”
Mark Jobe, pastor of New Life Community Church, Chicago, www.pastormarkjobe.com
“This is an extremely valuable resource to aid one in praying for the needs of this great city that is in desperate need of the touch of God upon it. I appreciate this labor of love in Dr. Fuder providing this help for God’s people to pray!”
Dr. Bill Thrasher, professor, Moody Theological Seminary and Graduate School, author of A Journey to Victorious Praying, www.victoriouspraying.com
This book is a welcome resource for all who love the city of Chicago! John Fuder and those who helped compile all this valuable information have given us useful information about every neighborhood in Chicago. This is just what all of us need as we pray and plan to grow our witness to the city and for reaching our own neighborhood. I can hardly wait until it is available for all of us!
Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor, The Moody Church, Chicago, Illinois
“This guide gives a short but sweet description of each neighborhood to help us wrap it in prayer. Thanks Dr. Fuder for your labor of LOVE for this city.”
Felecia Thompson, Director of Domestic Mission, Christ Church of Oak Brook, Illinois
“I love my city. All of it. Since I can’t be in every neighborhood in Chicago physically, this prayer guide is an excellent and necessary tool for me to still be a part of God’s work in the entire city through prayer. Now I can pray for all of Chicago while I live and focus on my community.”
David K. Potete, Senior Pastor, Northwest Community Church, Chicago, Illinois
"The Prayer Guide, compiled by Dr. John Fuder, is a fantastic resource for Chicagoan Christians. There is a helpful and concise history given for each of the 77 neighborhoods, which in and of itself makes it a great tool. In addition, specific themes and prayer requests are shared for each of those neighborhoods, allowing us to be equipped to specifically pray for the city as a whole."
Daniel Hill, Pastor, River City Community Church, Chicago, Illinois, www.rivercitychicago.com
"A much needed thoughtful, insightful and relevant prayer tool for all of Chicago, and all who share concern for our city. Highly recommended."
Dr. Hutz Hertzberg, Senior Protestant Chaplain - Chicago O'Hare and Midway Airports, Chicago, Illinois