Prayer Targets: Batterson; Pastors' Briefing; U.S. Promoting Life; Barna; NC; Fake News; Trump Taps FRC
May 17, 2017
So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you. (Luke 11:9 Amplified)
Dear Praying Friends,
Dr. Mark Batterson is lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C., one church with eight locations. Author of 16 books, including the New York Times Best Seller, The Circle-Maker. Mark holds a D.Min. from Regent University. He will speak at FRC's Watchmen on the Wall Pastors' Briefing on the theme of "Prayer." These excerpts are from The Circle Maker:
In standardized math tests, Japanese children consistently score higher than their American counterparts. While some assume that a natural proclivity toward mathematics is the primary difference, researchers have discovered that it may have more to do with effort than ability. In one study involving first graders, students were given a difficult puzzle to solve. The researchers... simply wanted to see how long they would try before giving up. The American children lasted, on average, 9.47 minutes. The Japanese children lasted 13.93 minutes. In other words, the Japanese children tried about 40 percent longer. Is it any wonder that they score higher on math exams? Researchers concluded that the difference in math scores might have less to do with intelligence quotient and more to do with persistence quotient. The Japanese first graders simply tried harder.
That study not only explains the difference in standardized math scores; the implications are true no matter where you turn. It doesn't matter whether it's athletics or academics, music or math. There are no shortcuts. There are no substitutes. Success is a derivative of persistence. More than a decade ago, Anders Ericsson and his colleagues at Berlin's elite Academy of Music did a study with musicians. ... All of them started playing at roughly the same age and practiced about the same amount of time until the age of eight. That is when their practice habits diverged. The researchers found that by the age of twenty, the average players had logged about four thousand hours of practice time; the good violinists totaled about eight thousand hours; the elite performers set the standard with ten thousand hours. While there is no denying that innate ability dictates some of your upside potential, your potential is only tapped via persistent effort. Persistence is the magic bullet... Neurologist Daniel Levitin notes: The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert -- in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals... this number comes up again and again ... It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery. Is prayer any different? It is a habit to be cultivated. It is a discipline to be developed. It is a skill to be practiced... [If] you want to achieve mastery, it might take ten thousand hours. This I know for sure: the bigger the dream the harder you will have to pray...
Let's be honest: many, if not most, of our prayers are selfish in nature. We pray as if God's chief objective is our personal comfort. It's not. God's chief objective is His glory. And sometimes His gain involves a little pain... Praying hard is asking God to make your life harder. The harder you pray, the harder you will have to work. And that is a blessing from God. Praying hard is hard because you can't just pray like it depends on God; you also have to work like it depends on you... And this is where many of us get stuck spiritually. We're willing to pray right up to the point of discomfort, but no further... to the point of inconvenience, but no further. Praying hard is uncomfortable and inconvenient, but that is when you know you're getting close to a miracle! The reason God doesn't answer our prayers isn't that we aren't praying hard enough; the reason, often, is that we aren't willing to work hard enough. Praying hard is synonymous with working hard. Think of praying hard and working hard as concentric circles. It's the way we double-circle our dreams and His promises. There comes a moment, after you have prayed through, when you have to start doing something about it. You have to take a step of faith, and that first step is always the hardest. (Dr. Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker: Persistence Quotient; Afflict the Comfortable, 2011)
Revival historian and teacher Dr. J. Edwin Orr once quoted Dr. A. T. Pierson "There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country... that did not begin in united prayer." Leading light in the Great Awakening, Rev. Jonathan Edwards, wrote: "A Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of all God's People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ's Kingdom on Earth, pursuant to Scripture Promises and Prophecies..." Just what we need. May we unite, pray hard, work hard, and may God graciously send "Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ's Kingdom" in our day, in our land, and throughout the earth!
Watchmen on the Wall Pastors' Briefing (May 24-26) -- FRC's 14th annual 2 ½ day Pastors' Briefing in Washington, D.C. will commence next Wednesday evening with a guided spiritual history tour of the U.S. Capitol. The fruit of this powerful conference has been the strengthening, encouragement, equipping, and mobilizing of pastors and their churches by the tens of thousands over the last 14 years (together with our regional briefings). Moreover, their effective efforts to advance and defend Christian faith and culture in their communities and states have been extraordinary. I truly believe their labors, mixed with focused intercession for American government at every level, have aligned with the purposes of God to mercifully grant America a reprieve. God has pulled us back from the brink, away from further descent into government imposed and enforced immorality and persecution of American Christians who are living their faith. This war is not over. What we do with this reprieve via hard prayer and hard work may determine the destiny of our nation. Can "we the people" "under God," with God's help turn the tide during this window of grace? There is still time for your pastor to come! (For more information and to register, visit Pastors' Briefing.)
- Pray that the pastors who come to Washington will be transformed as they gather with likeminded pastors from across America unto the Lord. From diverse geographical regions and various denominations and traditions, may their hearts burn within them from the Holy Spirit's presence, the power of God's word, and the testimonies and example of Christian leaders who are accomplishing extraordinary things in our nation. May they return home with hope for America, a fresh determination to seek God's face, and a battle plan. May they take holy fire back to their churches and attain extraordinary spiritual vigor and vision that will transform their churches to be salt and light and also transform their families and communities. May they produce a ripple effect that contributes to revival in many other churches and ultimately an awakening across America! (Neh 4:14; Ps 133; Is 2:3; Mic 4:2; Hag 1:8; Heb 3:13; Mt 5:13-16; Mk 4:32-33; Lk 24:32; Gal 1:15-2:2)
Expanded Mexico City Policy -- In January, President Trump reinstated the "Mexico City Policy" (MCP) first ordered by President Ronald Reagan, rescinded by President Clinton, reinstated by President Bush and rescinded again by President Obama. The policy has prohibited the State Department and the USAID from distributing U.S. taxpayer dollars (about $600 million annually) to organizations that operate in other countries that counsel, refer for, and/or perform abortions, or that lobby foreign governments in support of abortion. But on Monday, President Trump signed a new rule. Called "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance," the rule expands the MCP's coverage to other federal agencies that have been distributing cash to pro-abortion organizations overseas (about $8.8 billion annually). A Marist poll conducted in January showed that 83 percent of Americans oppose federal funding of abortions abroad. Most Americans do not realize that their tax dollars have been used to abort perhaps millions of babies overseas (see No More U.S. Tax-Funded Abortions Overseas; Trump Hits Abortion Abroadside; FRC Praises World-sweeping Mexico City Policy; Drastic, Positive Change; Alveda King: Black Lives Impact; Mexico City Policy Explained; Perez: Commitment to Abortion Required).
- Praise God for the pro-life commitments President Trump has made and kept. Thank God for bringing this dark practice of worldwide infanticide with American dollars to an end. May Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate support each of the pro-life measures in the Obamacare Replacement bill now before them, including the defunding of Planned Parenthood! May God's people persist in prayer until this terrible burden is lifted and precious pre-born lives are saved! (Dt 28:8-9; 1 Kg 21:1-16; 2 Kg 21:7-16; 24:1-4; 2 Chr 33:9-19; Pr 24:10-12; Lk 17:11-19)
Finally, please pray over these matters: 1) A new Barna Group Poll shows that a majority of U.S. Christians are drinking at cultural fountains that render them biblically dysfunctional or misguided. 2) Gary Bauer writes that the recent media accusations that the president disclosed U.S. secrets to the Russians is more "fake news" and he offers real news that requires further investigation. 3) North Carolina has faced threats from national businesses for passing HB2 and was warned by opponents that the bill would bankrupt the state; this proved to be false. In fact, a new study shows that North Carolina, after tying with Texas last year, is now ranked the top growing state economy in the nation. 4) Shannon Royce, FRC's Chief of Staff for the past two years, has moved to HHS where she will serve as Director of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. HHS had previously tapped two former FRC experts, Charmaine Yoest and Teresa Manning. 5) FRC Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance, Ken Blackwell, who is also a former Ohio Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and who has already served as Trump Domestic Transition Team leader, has been pegged for the newly created Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. These experienced leaders are uniquely qualified for their new roles, but will also bring keen spiritual insight to their jobs. Please keep them in your prayers. And thank you for praying!