Prayers of Our Fathers

It has become fashionable in some circles to deny the Christian foundations of the United States. This week, when we remember President’s Day, would be a good time to listen to the words of our national Fathers and join them in their prayers for America:

Benjamin Franklin: On the Need for Divine Guidance
“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; out projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down on future ages.
And what is worse, mankind may thereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move – that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.” – June 28, 1787 at the Constitutional Convention

George Washington: Prayer for the United States
“Almighty God, We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection; and Thou wilt incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field.
And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.
Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Thomas Jefferson: National Prayer for Peace
“Almighty God, Who has given us good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners.
Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitude brought hither out of many kindred and tongues.
Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those who in Thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.
In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail, all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”

Abraham Lincoln: National Day of Prayer and Humiliation
“Whereas, the Senate of the United States devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and Government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation:
And whereas, it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord:
And insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subject to punishment and chastisement in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?
We have been recipient of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sin and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
Now, therefore, in compliance with the request and fully concurring in the view of the Senate, I do, by this proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer.
And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping that day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.
All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessings no less than the pardon of our national sins and restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand to caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. By the President: Abraham Lincoln.”

To which we can only add: Amen.

Celebrating China’s Christians

Next week, on February 16, people around the world will celebrate Chinese New Year. It is a good time to pray for our Brothers and Sisters in China and celebrate China’s Christians.

It was the dream of the great Catholic Evangelist Frances Xavier to bring Christianity to China, and after his death off the coast of China in 1552 others followed in his footsteps. However the Emperors feared the Church and ultimately passed laws outlawing Christianity. In the 1830’s, after Europeans forced open the ports of China, Christianity came to the treaty ports. Then Hudson Taylor and a host of missionaries carried Christianity into the heartland in the late 19th Century.

There were 1 million Christians in China when Mao Tse-Tung established Communist rule in 1949. Like the Emperors before him Mao feared the Church. As his followers drove Christian Missionaries out of China and persecuted the Chinese Christians, no one expected Christianity to survive.

Like the ancient Caesars, however, Mao did not understand that the Kingdom of God was on the inside of Believers, giving them strength to endure under persecution. The removal of the Missionaries did not end Christianity, but simply made the Church into a Chinese enterprise. When its property was confiscated it moved into the homes. And when its Chinese leaders were imprisoned, the Holy Spirit provided new leaders. As it had done during the Roman persecution, the Church provided hope in a brutal society and continued to grow. Instead of fading away, the Chinese Church has over 100 million Believers today.

Unable to stop Christianity, the Communists attempted to control it by establishing a state of controlled Church structure, the Three Self Church. Some Christians elected to participate in the state church, but many others refused. Instead, they formed the House Church movement which is still outlawed in China. For Catholics whose fealty to the Pope is considered to be treason, the Communists have appointed their own bishops and viciously persecuted Catholics.

Today the new “Emperor” of China, Xi Jinping, is still afraid of the Church. He has declared himself as an opponent of Christianity and increased the persecution of Christians. A campaign against houses of worship has also been intensified. Recently the Church building of a large Charismatic church, built by members at a cost of $3 million, was blown up and destroyed.

Meanwhile Pope Francis, in a conciliatory move, has agreed to recognize 7 Chinese Bishops put in place by the Communists. The Pope’s decision is controversial among Chinese Catholics, but he seems to be hoping for peace between the Communists and the Church.

Let us pray that the Pope’s gesture will overcome Xi Jinping’s fear and eventually lead to an end to the persecution of Christians. But let us also pray that the Chinse Church will continue to boldly proclaim the Gospel no matter what obstacles must be overcome.

May we in America honor and support our Chinese Brothers and Sisters. May we have the courage of the Chinese Church to pray in the face of persecution the prayer of the Church in Jerusalem:

“Now Lord consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” Acts 4:29

Dismal Day

In the early Church the date of February 4 was set aside as “Dismal Day”.

Dismal Day was a somber day set aside to remember the plagues of Egypt during the Exodus. The name “dismal” itself means “Evil days” and was intended to memorialize the woe and suffering of the Egyptians. Rather than celebrate the victory of the Israelites, the purpose of the day was to serve as a reminder of the consequences of disobeying God. Thus, the reflective and introspective mood of the day.

At the time of the Exodus in 1446 BC Egypt was the most powerful nation on earth. The Israelites, who had come in 1876 BC, had settled in an area of the Eastern Nile Delta known as Goshen. After the death of their champion Joseph in about 1806 BC, the Egyptian Pharaohs became fearful of the Israelites and made them into slaves. One of the Pharaohs had even initiated an infanticide against the Israelite children in about 1526 BC. It was a survivor of this holocaust, a stuttering 80 year old named Moses, whom God chose to confront the most powerful man in the world.

Of course the Pharaoh refused to submit to God’s command to let his people go, and God sent the famous Ten Plagues of Egypt. Because of their stubbornness, the Egyptians saw their river die, their crops fail, their livestock destroyed, and finally their children die. Then, to top it off, their army was destroyed chasing the Israelites and history tells us that the entire country of Egypt was later overrun by foreign invaders. Certainly “Evil Days” for the Egyptians.

It is unfortunate that the Church no longer sets apart Dismal Day to remember the consequences of rebellion against God. To remember how the most powerful Nation on Earth brought judgment on itself by mistreating God’s people and killing God’s children. To remember how their river died, their agriculture economy shriveled, their children were lost, and their military was humbled. To remember how defiance of God’s commands destroyed the most powerful Nation on Earth. And to seek God because it is beginning to unfold again right before our eyes.

For His people, God had set aside the land of Goshen as a place of safety, and they were spared from the seven last plagues sent on Egypt. Today many Intercessors believe that God has set aside Lands of Goshen in America, and that He will make a distinction between those states, cities, and people who follow Him and these who do not. Just compare the economies of places like Texas where God is honored with California where He is not. This is no time to disregard God’s plans and purposes.

The Nation is in serious trouble as it suffers more and more from its disobedience. The Church needs to humble itself and pray for an Awakening.

Dismal Day would be a good time to start.

President Cyrus

During the 2016 election cycle a number of prophetic voices announced that God was sending a “Cyrus” to rescue the Church from an increasingly Anti-Christian government.

What we got was Donald Trump, a foul-mouthed, arrogant, former playboy, and a merciless competitor. But, like ancient King Cyrus, he befriended God’s people and 81% of the Evangelicals voted for him.

Like King Cyrus, Trump rose against a corrupt system and promised to change it. Cyrus targeted the ancient city of Babylon, which was suffering from mis-rule by King Nabonidus and his son, the famous Belshazzar whose doom was prophesied by Daniel (Daniel 5:26-28). The people, already oppressed by the government, suffered from a declining economy, loss of productive land, and plague. On top of it all, the kings disrespected the pagan religious leaders, who opened the gates of the city to Cyrus without an arrow being fired. In Trump’s case it was the Christian leaders, not the unbelievers, who helped an oppressed people open the gates for change.

Like Trump, Cyrus saw the wisdom of working with God’s people. He fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah (Jerimiah 25:9, 11, 12) by allowing the Jews to return to Israel. He also decreed that the Temple would be rebuilt and all of its furnishings returned, as prophesied by Isaiah (Isaiah 44:28). Because of his generosity, Israel supported Persia and helped guard Persia’s contested border with Egypt. Like Cyrus, Trump can help bring God’s presence back into our land as the Christians defend him against attack.

In his first year in office Trump’s policies have rolled back many of the oppressive and lawless decrees of the Obama administration. The stock market, although probably due for correction, has reached record levels and, thanks to tax and regulatory reform America is enjoying prosperity and a growing economy. The ISIS caliphate has been destroyed and we have finally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And freedom of religion is no longer under attack by the Government.

Trump’s efforts to “Drain the swamp” of corruption and misrule in Washington have been less successful, as the elites in Media, government, and politics have fought fiercely to maintain their power. Government agencies have promoted a false “Russia Collusion” story while trying to cover up their illegal actions taken against Trump. The media have reported, than retracted, many false accusations. Some even went so far as to shut down the government to gain political leverage in the immigration debate.

We all know that Trump can be boorish and is often his own worst enemy. Instead of judging Trump as so many have, we should follow the Apostle Paul’s command to pray for him so “That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:2).

The truth is that Trump has given Christians a respite from the anti-Christian forces at work in the land. But we are a nation in desperate need of revival. And it is up to God’s people to “humble themselves and pray and seek My face and then turn from their wicked ways” so God will heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Let the Church begin by repenting of its divisions and come into unity as Jesus prayed in John 17:21-23, so that this world will know that God so loved the world that He sent His son to save us.

May the love of God shine through His people to change the atmosphere of hate and divisiveness afflicting America.

So pray for President Trump, but also pray for your neighbors, and pray blessings on the enemies of the Church so that they will be blessed with eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to know the truth.

Love is the most powerful spiritual force of all (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Let’s use it.

Celebrating Reconciliation

On Monday, January 15 the U.S. celebrated the Martin Luther King holiday, honoring the life of an American hero and a Christian martyr.

Dr. King grew up in a world where many people believed that the black African people were inferior to the white Europeans. This belief, which was used to support slavery in the U.S. and the colonization of Africa by Europe, directly contradicts Biblical teaching that all humans are from the same family and that God commands us to love our brothers. However, the rise of Secularism and a Darwinistic view of the human race gave a scientific veneer to the myth of racial superiority. To their shame, even some Churches went along with the lie. Modern science has now proven that all humans came from the same mother, as the Bible teaches, and that there is more genetic difference within the races than between them.

So Thomas Jefferson was right when he said all men are created equal. But making that statement a reality has been a long battle in the U.S. We fought the Civil War to end slavery, and the war brought God’s judgment, as one soldier died for each person left in slavery after the American Revolution, and the slaveholding South was devastated. Nevertheless, racial inequality was reborn in the “Jim Crow” system of laws which discriminated against black people in the South. After the Second World War black servicemen who had proven themselves the equal of their white brothers found it more and more difficult to accept their oppression.

In many countries oppressed minorities had taken up arms, but the U.S. was spared from this fate. Instead, a black Baptist pastor called on his people to use nonviolent Christian principles to bring about change. Dr. King’s Civil Rights crusade eventually bought an end to the Jim Crow laws and led to a broad level of reconciliation between the races. Sadly, he and many others gave their lives to bring about the nonviolent Civil Rights revolution.
We still have some work to do to reach Dr. King’s goal of a color blind society and full racial reconciliation. But on this day we celebrate a Baptist pastor who used Christian principles and his Christian faith to bring his white and black brothers together.
Let us pray that Dr. King’s memory will be honored by reconciliation and unity, and that those who would divide and promote hatred, whether white or black, will be exposed and repudiated.

Why do the Nations Rage?

Today, January 10 holds the dubious distinction of being the anniversary of the convening both the League of Nations in 1920 and the United Nations in 1946.
The League of Nations was formed in the aftermath of World War I as an attempt to bring dialogue to the nations and avoid war. Progressive U.S. President Woodrow Wilson pushed the idea, apparently believing that tyrants could be talked out of tyranny. Americans were unconvinced and never joined. Tyrants in Japan, Italy, and Germany ignored the League of Nations and it collapsed in the flames of World War II.
After the war the League of Nations was resurrected as the United Nations. In the beginning the U.N. was somewhat successful, and even supported the formation of Israel in 1947. The U.N. also supported the Korean War against communist aggression in 1950, but only because the Russians were boycotting the U.N. when the vote was taken. Thereafter the Cold War overwhelmed most U.N. opportunities and the U.N. became largely a propaganda entity.
The end of Colonialism and the birth of new nations brought a burst of hope to the U.N. However, most of the new nations were taken over by tyrants and the U.N. became something of a club for authoritarian governments. While the tyrants use the U.N. for their propaganda purposes, putting countries like Iran on the human rights committee is not calculated to produce any real advances in human freedom. Naturally, the tyrants oppose the freedom agendas of the U.S. and the other democracies.
A particular target of the authoritarian governments of the U.N. has been the democratic state of Israel. Acts of terrorism, wanton attacks on civilians by rockets, and military aggression against Israel are routinely ignored, while Israel is condemned for defending itself. Last year, the U.N. condemned Israel for “endangering peace” by building settlements, while ignoring the refusals of Palestinians to recognize Israel’s right to exist and their continuing policy of placing a bounty on murdered Israelites. Then, in December, the tyrant majority of the U. N. voted to condemn the U.S. for recognizing that Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 50 years.
Why do the nations rage? The Bible says that they want to throw off the restraints on their evil activities (Psalm 2:1-3). They are at war with God’s plans and purposes, especially as it relates to Israel.
The only force consistently standing against the tyrant majority in the U.N. has been the U.S., which has a Security Council Veto. We must pray that the U.S. will continue to stand up to the tyrants and enemies of Israel.
And let us not forget to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

2017: A Year of Reckoning

Next week, on January 8, the American Dialect Society will pick the “Word of the year” for 2017.

One of the top candidates is “Reckoning”, a word which nominator Mary Schmick of the Chicago Tribune said “Has been everywhere”. According to Wall Street Journal writer Ben Zimmer the word “reckoning” “suggests a settling of accounts, especially for past misdeeds.” He states that the world dates back to 14thcentury English “Referring to the last judgement”. Indeed, 2017 has been a year of “Reckoning”, or judgment, from God.

It is not as if we were not warned. Many commentators, ourselves included, saw in the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017 a warning from God. The fact that this eclipse occurred on the first day of the Hebrew repentance season of Teshuvah magnified the message of Teshuvah to return to the presence of God. For more information you can download our book Teshuvah Eclipses for free at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/835gr2gnzg1labn/Teshuvah%20Eclipses.pdf?dl=0

While many did repent and pray through Teshuvah, the nation as a whole did not. The day after the Eclipse the floods began, with the first in Kansas City where torrents of rain had covered the view of the Eclipse. Next came Hurricanes dumping 4 feet of water in southeast Texas, raking Florida from the Keys and up the western seaboard, and destroying the infrastructure of Puerto Rico. Then came the wind driven fires, raging through the wealthy Napa Valley and devastating large areas around Los Angeles.
Now comes Ice, as most of the nation has seen the coldest New Year in a century.

Back in the Spring of 2017 scientists noticed that the energy output of the sun, measured by sunspot activity, had fallen to its lowest level in 100 years. Lower solar energy had historically led to a cooling climate cycle which features torrential rains, high winds which can drive fires, and colder temperatures. Scripture teaches us that the Lord uses the forces of nature to send Judgment (See Deuteronomy 11:16-17, Ezekiel 13:13, and Job 37:6-13). These reckonings of rain, fire, and ice have forced a rebellious people to stop and pay attention to Him (Job 37:7).

Another form of reckoning, or judgment, came as the secret sins of powerful men were exposed (See Proverbs 26:24-26). It began with sexual exploitation in the entertainment business, as women came forward with credible accusations which people began to believe. This exploitation had been covered over for years because of the “Progressive” politics espoused by the abusers. Even the Democratic Party, which had stood steadfast by Bill Clinton when his sexual abuses were exposed, turned on some of their own politicians in an amazing recognition that perhaps character does matter. For their part, the Republicans re-learned the lesson that character matters in a stunning electoral defeat in Republican Alabama.

Secret sins in the government were also exposed as the “Russia Collusion” investigation, intended to entangle the Trump presidency, began instead to show that the Democrats had used Russian sources to manipulate the FBI and Justice Department into spying on the Trump campaign. Many high government officials have been implicated in an apparent conspiracy to interfere with the Trump campaign while covering up the over $100 million Russian payment to the Clinton Foundation and failing to mount a real investigation of the Clinton Server Scandal. Of course, the secret sins of some Trump campaign workers have also been exposed, even though they are unrelated to the “Russia Collusion “story. It seems that those who lied to the President and those who lied about the President may both fall into the pit they dug for him (Psalms 35:7-8).

As people of prayer we should be praying that those under judgment will repent and learn righteousness in accordance with God’s plan, as expressed in Isaiah 26:9. Because He is gracious and compassionate, the Lord may relent from sending further calamity (Joel 2:13).

Let us pray that the year of reckoning will bring forth a year of reconciliation with God and man, and healing for our land.