Prayer Targets: Intercessory Prayer; Urgent Health Care Vote Tomorrow!; Gorsuch Hearings, Vote Soon!
March 22, 2017
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men… (1 Timothy 2:1-8)
Dear Praying Friends,
Prayer Charge #1: 2 Chronicles 7:14 – Most Christians can recite this verse from memory. God gave King Solomon this promise at the highpoint of ancient Israel’s history. On the day Solomon dedicated the temple in Jerusalem, fire fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifices. The presence of God was so overwhelming that the priests could not enter the temple to minister (2 Chr 7:1-2). That same night, God appeared to Solomon and promised him (and us):
If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
God foreknew that his people would experience cycles of fervent obedience and blessing then spiritual apathy, disobedience, and even the worship of false gods. The Books of Kings and Chronicles are a history of such cycles. But in His great love, God promised that if His people would return to Him, meeting His specific conditions, He would forgive their sins and heal their land. Carefully responding to 2 Chr 7:14 is imperative for “His people,” if our land is to be healed. This scripture applies to churches and nations that have been spiritually and morally delinquent. It is the duty of believers to repent and seek God’s face on their own behalf and on behalf of their fellow citizens. Believers, whose nations have never known the blessing of God or that have known God but have departed from Him, must lead the way in pleading with God for mercy (see Dt 28: all; 2 Chr 7: all).
Prayer Charge #2: 1 Timothy 2:1-8 – This scripture pertains to our priestly duty. Intercessory prayer is the church’s first order of business – to pray for all men, and especially for those who are in authority over us. Our civil authorities can advance or hinder the Gospel. Their work can lead to peace and freedom or war and subjection. God wants an atmosphere in every nation where the Gospel can be preached freely. He wants men and women, high and low, including those in civil authority to hear the Gospel and be saved. The Apostle Paul instructs Timothy that this kind of prayer is a priority in the church. Yet many churches actually avoid praying for those in civil authority for fear of being “political.” But their failure to obey God with meaningful, Spirit-led prayer for our government leaders has given our arch-enemy, Satan, too much of a free hand to influence many of our political and cultural leaders. Every new law and every legal decision has moral and spiritual implications, moving our nation toward or away from God. God makes it clear that it is our prayers that enable him to move upon the hearts and minds of our government leaders – to restrain them from evil and lead them in paths of righteousness (Pr 29:2). Behind the constant, distasteful political warfare in Washington is spiritual warfare (Eph 6:10-20). God has given His sons and daughters the duty and privilege, as a kingdom of priests, to intercede on behalf of all who exercise political and cultural authority.
The signs of America’s decline are everywhere. Only God, together with His praying people, can restore the Judeo-Christian ethic to the “mountains” of culture, hijacked over time by hedonism and pagan philosophies, beginning with the extraordinary prayers of His people. Too many of our leaders on these “mountains” are no longer simply blasé toward Christianity, but hostile. Each of the oft-referenced seven mountains (or spheres of influence): Family, Church, Education, Government, Military, Media, Arts & Entertainment, and (I would add) Science, Medicine, and Technology, has a superstructure of positional and influential leaders. We must pray as led by the Spirit for leaders in each of these spheres, all of whom powerfully impact our nation.
Two of the most important decisions to be made by our elected leaders will take place during the next two weeks: 1) The House of Representatives will vote on the American Health Care Act, promised to “repeal and replace” Obamacare (Thursday, March 23rd); 2) The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to take Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacated seat on the U.S. Supreme Court (Monday, April 3rd).
Urgent: American Health Care Vote Tomorrow – On Monday night, several “tweaks” were made to Paul Ryan’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill in hopes of winning enough conservative votes to pass. The bill is still opposed by Democrats and many conservatives, most notably the House Freedom Caucus. The House Freedom Caucus (30+ Republican members) has promised to oppose the bill if major changes are not made. The group felt that the bill retained too much of Obamacare and did not adequately repeal but rather made tweaks to the old law. To be truly conservative and constitutional, they argue, it needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. If all the members of the Freedom Caucus vote against the bill, it will not pass. A report in the Washington Post indicated that the conservative Caucus is now “neutral” on the Act, and that members are free to vote in favor of it if they wish. Yet Caucus Chairman, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) told the Hill Newspaper Monday night that given his understanding of the changes, “not enough was altered to bring him and his colleagues on board.”
On March 13, before Monday’s fixes, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a pessimistic report on AHCA, but Forbes Magazine puts the report into perspective. One of the House GOP “fixes” was to explicitly prevent any abortion coverage with tax payer dollars. Some pro-life organizations are supporting the bill. Other concerned pro-lifers warn that this is just one chamber and that the Senate will produce its own bill. Indeed, because of obscure rules in the Senate, the pro-life language could fail to survive a parliamentarian challenge. Plus, the versions must be reconciled, and other changes could be made in the process. President Trump is pushing the current bill hard, lobbying individual members (see Freedom Caucus Neutral? Perkins: A Byrd’s Eye View of Healthcare; Rep. Gohmert; Rep Hayes; Business Insider; Tax Relief Accelerated).
- Please pray that the poor will be helped but that the law ultimately passed will be a free market solution for everyone else, which will be the only way to keep health innovation and care the highest possible quality and at the lowest cost. Above all, pray that policies containing abortion coverage will not be subsidized by federal tax credits. Pray that the Senate will produce a bill that meets the same conditions! (Ex 20:13; 15:26; Dt 5:17; Ps 9:18; Pr 24:11-12; Gal 5:1)
U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch – Judge Gorsuch endured his first two days of grilling by Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee. He did so with amazing grace, wisdom, and affability. He cunningly escaped efforts by liberal progressive opponents to trap him into suggesting how he would rule on potential cases, refusing to answer political questions. Take time to watch what you can on C-SPAN.
Unlike so many judicial activists today, Gorsuch understands his role. In a world where issues like same-sex marriage and abortion were supposedly discovered in the Constitution, Gorsuch offered hope that he would not declare what he would “like the [law] to be” but “what it is.” How refreshing to hear after seeing a handful of justices redefine thousands of years of tradition, natural law, and biblical truth.
Conservative groups, including us here at FRC, have declared strong support for Neil Gorsuch’s nomination. On human life, he argues in his own book that it is “fundamentally and inherently valuable.” On religious liberty, he has proven his keen understanding and respect for our first freedom in his rulings in the Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor cases. All the evidence suggests that President Trump did indeed select a nominee in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia, but only God knows Gorsuch’s heart of hearts (see Senate Judiciary Committee to Vote April 3rd; Perkins: Looking for Justice in Gorsuch).
- Pray that this good man and stellar nominee will receive a fair hearing and that those who attempt to “Bork” him will fail! May God weigh in on this nominee, and may He prevail! (Ex 20:13; 15:26; Dt 5:17; Ps 9:18; Pr 24:11-12; Gal 5:1)
Finally, so important are these two issues that I want to suggest that you give full prayer attention to them during the coming week – in your private prayers, in your prayer meetings, and in your prayer conference calls. These are one time opportunities that could have generational consequences. Our Congress must get it right! Thank you for praying!