48 Cries to God: A Prayer of Humility and Purpose

Dear Family, Friends, and Supporters,

Today, on my 48th birthday, I’m compelled to share with you 48 cries of my heart lifted up to God. These are not merely requests but earnest prayers for guidance, strength, and purpose. Crying out to God is an admission of coming to the end of oneself and placing hope in the divine. As the psalmist declared, “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears” (Psalm 18:6).

I am filled with immense gratitude, joy, and peace, all of which I attribute solely to the grace of God. Today, on the tenth day of the fourth month, I’m reminded of my favorite Bible verse, James 4:10:

“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

James 4:10 NASB2020″

For me, humility is not thinking less of oneself but of thinking of others more than oneself. As a follower of Christ, I acknowledge the spiritual gifts bestowed upon me, including prophecy, hospitality, leadership, and discernment, alongside my earthly talent of coaching.

Here are my 48 cries to God, which also serve as prayer requests to each one of you:

  1. Allow me to love and protect my wife Kelli above all humans.
  2. Allow me to love and protect my daughters Mackenzi and Mackenna.
  3. Allow me to use my spiritual gifts and earthly talents to serve others and bring them into a relationship with Christ.
  4. Help me take my worries and concerns to the Lord first.
  5. Enable me to unapologetically embrace my Black identity.
  6. Empower me to be the best baseball coach to ever live, not for my glory but to serve others well.
  7. Help me be a good steward of the power bestowed upon me.
  8. Grant me the gift of being a better listener.
  9. Cultivate in me a heart of compassion.
  10. Bless me financially so that I may serve others well, recognizing that I cannot give what I don’t have.
  11. Guide me to be socially conscious, avoiding offense and encouraging others to aspire to their best selves.
  12. Help me be a great follower.
  13. Teach me patience, which is to wait without anger.
  14. Strengthen me to be a prayer warrior.
  15. Equip me to be a spiritual agriculturalist and activist.
  16. Grant me the ability to communicate with conviction, clarity, and conciseness.
  17. Remove my fear of doing what God has called me to do.
  18. Empower me to challenge the status quo.
  19. Enable me to be a catalyst for positive change in coaching.
  20. Guide me to be a faithful steward of spiritual matters.
  21. Inspire me to innovate.
  22. Remind me to give credit to those whom God has placed in my life to help me.
  23. Give me the courage to demand the credit I am due, so that God may receive the glory.
  24. Enable me to demand fair financial compensation for my work, recognizing the value of my spiritual gifts and earthly talents.
  25. Help me say no to invitations and yes to assignments, as my Bishop Craig L. Oliver has repeatedly preached.
  26. Teach me the value of silence.
  27. Show me how to lament.
  28. Enable me to accept criticism graciously, recognizing my own shortcomings.
  29. Prepare me to speak boldly about my relationship with Jesus Christ.
  30. Embolden me to speak out against injustices faced by Black Americans.
  31. Grant me wisdom to navigate the complexities of life with grace and integrity.
  32. Help me prioritize my time and energy according to your will, focusing on what truly matters.
  33. Guide me in being a source of encouragement and support to those who are struggling or in need.
  34. Strengthen my faith to weather the storms of doubt and uncertainty, trusting in your unfailing love.
  35. Grant me the courage to forgive those who have wronged me, releasing bitterness and embracing reconciliation.
  36. Equip me with resilience in the face of adversity, knowing that through you, I am more than conquerors.
  37. Help me cultivate a spirit of gratitude, recognizing and appreciating the blessings that surround me each day.
  38. Grant me discernment to recognize opportunities for growth and transformation, both personally and professionally.
  39. Lead me in fostering genuine connections and meaningful relationships, rooted in love and mutual respect.
  40. Inspire me to be a beacon of hope and light in a world that often feels dark and divided.
  41. Guide me in using my platform and influence for the betterment of society, advocating for justice and equality.
  42. Teach me to embrace vulnerability, allowing me to connect with others on a deeper level and experience true intimacy.
  43. Grant me the strength to persevere in my endeavors, even when faced with obstacles or setbacks.
  44. Help me release the need for control, surrendering my plans and desires to your perfect will.
  45. Inspire me to live authentically, embracing my unique gifts and quirks without fear or shame.
  46. Grant me the humility to acknowledge my limitations and seek help when needed, recognizing that I cannot do it all alone.
  47. Lead me in living a life of purpose and passion, fueled by love and guided by your divine wisdom.
  48. Finally, Lord, fill me with your peace that surpasses all understanding, anchoring my soul in the assurance of your presence and provision.

These are my heartfelt cries to God, shared with you all as a testament to my journey of faith and humility. Thank you for being a part of my life and for your continued support and prayers.

With sincere gratitude,
Corteney James Stewart aka C.J.

Rounding the Bases: My Top Four Moments as a 404 Native

April 4th holds a special place in the hearts of Atlantans, as we celebrate 404 Day – a true Atlanta holiday. As a proud native of this vibrant city, I reflect on my journey around the bases of life, marking some of my most cherished moments.

1st Base: Born and Bred

Born in Atlanta on April 10, 1976, in the NW Atlanta Bankhead Community, I proudly hail as a Grady Baby. My educational roots were nurtured in Atlanta Public Schools (APS) at Grove Park Elementary School. Under the guidance of Principal Sylvia Jones and APS Superintendent Alonzo Crim, I imbibed the essence of excellence in education, inspired by Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays’ Quotable Quotes. Atlanta Public Schools integrated in 1965, a year before the Braves found their home in Atlanta from Milwaukee.

2nd Base: Playing Ball

At the tender age of eight, I stepped onto the field of Cascade Youth Organization (CYO) as a Brave, coached by esteemed individuals like Emmett Johnson Sr., Chairman of the APS School Board, Joshua Butler Sr., an art teacher at B.E. Mays High School, and Gus Burns. The CYO Opening Day parades were grand spectacles, graced by legends like Hank Aaron, Maynard Jackson, and Coretta Scott King.

3rd Base: Honored Recognition

November 20, 2011, marked a significant milestone as Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond proclaimed it C.J. Stewart Day and L.E.A.D. Day in Atlanta, thanks to the advocacy of Rendell Jackson.

Home Plate: Legacy

Standing tall at home plate, I find solace in being a part of the legacy of Atlanta. Modeling for the nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Hank Aaron at Truist Park’s Monument Gardens was a profound honor. As my wife Kelli and I celebrate 27 years of marriage this year, our journey together has been intertwined with our dedication to establishing the LEAD Center For Youth, a love and thank you letter to Atlanta for all it has done for us.

Atlanta, with all its complexities and challenges, has always been our anchor and inspiration. As we continue our mission with LEAD, Atlanta’s love and support have only strengthened our resolve to empower at-risk youth, helping them navigate the curveballs of life with resilience and grace.

On this 404 Day, I reminisce on just a few of the countless moments that define my Atlanta journey. Forever indebted to this city, I proudly proclaim: Foreva I Love Atlanta. ✌🏿

Photo credit: iSmooth