Redemptive Gift


Alabama received its name from a Native American tribe that inhabited the region at the time the first Europeans arrived. The tribal name must be sought in the Choctaw tongue and is translated as “thicket clearers,” (Alba, “a thick or mass vegetation,” and amo, “to clear, to collect, or gather”).  In scripture, the concept of “clearing a path” or “preparing the way” is associated with a prophetic gift or mantle. In addition, the concept of “clearing a field” is associated in scripture with “preparation” for planting or building. If we may look past the perversion, this call has tremendous possibility when in right-relationship to God.
Much of Alabama history gives additional witness to this call. Without justifying the reproach of the past, we must see the common threads in Alabama history that reveal the characteristics of this gift that (when redeemed and aligned with righteousness) may glorify God, and be used to bless, minister to, and serve another, with divine purpose and godly intention.
Alabama’s role in the Civil War reveals several things. The platform by which the state seceded from the Union was Southern Rights, and was “perceived” (rightly or wrongly) as an attack on the freedom and rights of the people (though still blinded to the injustice of slavery because it was entrenched in culture and considered an economic necessity). It was Alabama that initiated a call to the separate states to join in Montgomery and was instrumental in seeing them galvanized in forming the Southern Nation, the Confederate States of America. Montgomery became known as the “Cradle of the Confederacy” for the birthing role and as the first Capital of the Confederacy (which later moved to Virginia), and Alabama became known as the “Heart of Dixie.” It may be significant that “heart” in scripture (vs. head) implies a prophet/priestly role (vs. king/ruling role) and is “intended” to be a voice of morality. Though much in this was a reproach, the role must be understood, for when redeemed it has potential for great good. Similarly, with the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born and educated in Georgia and elsewhere, but it was while serving as pastor in Montgomery, AL that the flashpoint of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott provided the catalyst to birth the movement that revolutionized the state and nation, and galvanized a national coalition (the building of which later then moved to Atlanta).
Another case may be seen in 1943 (during World War II) when Alabama was the first (and possibly only) state to officially call for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The unanimous joint resolution from the Alabama legislature led the way in the U.S. – and eventually the U.N. – five years before Israel became a nation. Alabama again led the way in 2002 when the legislature did the same, urging President Bush to support Israel during the rising Palestinian conflict drawing international attention after the terrorism of 9/11. (It has been said that the only flag to fly in Israel at the Knesset other than her national flag is the flag of the state of Alabama).
Another recent example may be seen in the issue of the lottery, where again a perceived moral issue and exploitation of poor galvanized the state. In addition, the modern example of Judge Roy Moore is very much in line with this historical precedence. Here again is a strong voice emerging in defense of perceived rights and justice, the issue being over right and jurisdiction of the federal and state courts and the misrepresentation that has occurred in complete contradiction to both U.S. history and the explicit writings and clarifications of our founders and writers of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. It is interesting to note the Alabama State Motto, “We Dare Defend Our Rights,” has been proven to be repeatedly the case (whether for good or for evil). This pursuit is both noble and according to the scripture (to judge/defend the cause/right of another), but also carries with it the danger of rebellion to proper authority, if not in right-relationship to God.


The Alabama State Seal gives another hint at a repeated characteristic showing Alabama not as an isolated state, standing alone, but including all four state borders AND the names of the four bordering states as well. This is not only unique for a state seal, but is yet another witness to the significance of Alabama both being joined and joining with others. Whether for good or evil this has been evident repeatedly in her past, and is why sectarianism/division in some form has often been the chief strategy of the enemy. In addition to several previous examples of joining or connecting, another modern one is that Alabama has the most cities of any state in the nation that have gone to Summit (meaning have initiated Pastoral Prayer Summits in their city, which includes an annual gathering of pastors from across the city joining in prayer together for four days in an isolated place, and has been a primary catalyst in stirring both relationship and city-wide vision for the Kingdom).
These and other examples reveal several characteristics that continue to emerge regarding the state of Alabama including:1) quick to confront, or take initiative in conflict
2) driven by principle or ideology (whether right or wrong) and by perceived morality or heart issues
3) resentment of anything resembling injustice or control, when understood as such
4) fierce opposition to (real or perceived) loss of freedom or rights
5) catalytic and able to galvanize
These characteristics imply Alabama, when truly walking in her calling, may be a strong guiding voice of morality with the Father’s heart, and a true catalyst toward right relationship, covenant, and brotherhood. When driven by divine principle, Alabama will be a fierce voice for freedom and against all manner of injustice. Her compassion on the poor and needy will then reveal her as a Joseph in times of famine, and a passionate defender of truth and righteousness. This is but a glimpse of the destiny God has put within our reach!


Written by John Buhler – Alabama State Coordinator (2003 – 2007) – Alabama Strategic Prayer Network (AL-USSPN)


50 State Tour
Alabama Statewide Gathering


This artwork was created by Prophetic Art of James Nesbit, and is available online
for many of the states from the 50 State Tour here: 50 State Tour Artwork