Family Research Council

Prayer Targets: Bonhoeffer; Attack on FRC; Cry Out America; Day of Repentance, August Prayer Grist


August 15, 2013

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 4:17

Dear Praying Friends,

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian during the rise of Adolf Hitler. His book, The Cost of Discipleship, is a classic today. Former Presbyterian pastor, journalist Mark Galli wrote of Bonhoeffer:

[As] Hitler's anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions intensified [so] did his opposition, which included the likes of theologian Karl Barth, Pastor Martin Niemoller, and the young Bonhoeffer. Together with other pastors and theologians, they organized the Confessing Church, which [declared] "We repudiate the false teaching that the church can and must recognize yet other happenings and powers, personalities and truths as divine revelation alongside this one Word of God...."

Bonhoeffer's... The Cost of Discipleship (1937), [was] a call to more faithful and radical obedience to Christ and a severe rebuke of comfortable Christianity: "Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."

During this time, Bonhoeffer was teaching pastors in an underground seminary, Finkenwalde (the government had banned him from teaching openly). But after the seminary was discovered and closed, the Confessing Church became increasingly reluctant to speak out against Hitler, and moral opposition proved increasingly ineffective, so Bonhoeffer began to change his strategy...

[H]e had been a pacifist, and he had tried to oppose the Nazis through religious action and moral persuasion. Now he signed up with the German secret service (to serve as a double agent-while traveling to church conferences over Europe, he was supposed to be collecting information... but he was, instead, trying to help Jews escape Nazi oppression). Bonhoeffer also became a part of a plot to overthrow, and later to assassinate, Hitler.

As his tactics were changing, he had gone to America to become a guest lecturer. But he couldn't shake a feeling of responsibility for his country... He wrote theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, "I have made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period in our national history with the Christian people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people." Bonhoeffer, though privy to various plots on Hitler's life, was never at the center of the plans. Eventually his resistance efforts (mainly his role in rescuing Jews) were discovered (Mark Galli, 131 Christians Everyone Should Know; MARTYRS: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, GERMAN THEOLOGIAN AND RESISTER, 2000).

Bonhoeffer was arrested and imprisoned in 1943. Moved frequently, he was ultimately taken to concentration camps at Buchenwald, then Flossenburg. In April, 1945, he was tried, convicted, sentenced to death by hanging, and executed just three weeks before Germany surrendered.

America was birthed in resistance to tyranny. Our Founders pledged, "With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence," their "Lives," "Fortunes" and "sacred Honor," to preserve American liberty. What Congress does when it returns in September will have a huge impact on American liberty. May we take more time for prayer and lead our families to pray for our nation!

Anniversary of FRC Shooting - Today is the anniversary of the assault on FRC by a pro-homosexual activist, who learned about FRC from the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Hate Map." He was prevented from committing a planned mass murder by the sheer grace of God and the quick, valiant action of FRC's Building Manager, Leo Johnson. The gunman fired three times, just missing Leo's head, but shattered both bones in Leo's lower arm. Not retreating, Leo managed to disarm the gunman and subdue him until Police arrived. The gunman, Floyd Corkins, admitted to police that he intended to use his handgun and nearly 50 rounds of ammunition to kill as many FRC staffers then stuff their mouths with the Chick-fil-A sandwiches he was carrying in his backpack. (see Guilty, Shooting, SPLC, Media Double Standard; SPLC Denial).

  • Pray this and every act of injustice and/or violence against Christians only serve to accentuate the extremism of those who inspire them, and draw people to Christ! May Americans reject growing anti-Christian media bias and every instance of dishonesty associated with it. May pastors and Christians who speak publicly be role-models of civility and self-control, even as they courageously and boldly debate important matters and denounce evil in our society (Mt 5:10-16; 28:19-20; Rom 13:11-12; Eph 5:14 ff; Phil 1:7; 2 Tim 4:1-4; 1 Pet 3:15; Rev 12:11).

Cry out America; National Day of Repentance - The Awakening America Alliance, a nationwide consortium of evangelical Christian organizations, are sponsors of the Annual Cry Out America day of prayer on September 11th. The terrorist attack on our homeland awakened many Americans to the fact that God's hand of protection had lifted, allowing the 9/11 wake-up call - not just to motivate us to strengthen our military defenses, but to get our spiritual houses in order. Many saw then and see now a desperate need to repent of all known sin as believers, to put our trust squarely in the God of the Bible, and to deal with our corporate national sins as well. Cry Out America has been established as a memorial, not just to remember 9/11, but to pray, and cry out to God each September 11th, calling upon the God of mercy to change us such that He can be our Defender and Protector as he has been throughout our nation's history. Intercessors for America (IFA) is partnering with Cry Out America, and we are joining with them, to make 9/11 a National Day of Repentance (they have reserved NationalDayofRepentance.org for their website - still in the works) and are calling for believers to follow 9/11 with three weeks of prayer and fasting. Call2Fall will soon reset its counter to sign up for June 29, 2014, but our emphasis will expand to encourage believers to observe Call2Fall every day, and to support every national, regional and local prayer initiative they can.

  • God, Repentance, Revival and Awakening are America's only hope. May our influence help people pray and to multiply heartfelt prayer across America. As Americans turn back to God, Lord, grant that they will quickly learn to stand up for You in every place, and to impact our culture for righteousness, including politics and Washington, DC (2 Chr 7:14; Ps 33:12; Mal 3:1-6; Mt 4:17; 17:21; 18:18-19; Lk 18:1-8).

Finally, the Prayer Targets will go on hiatus until Labor Day Week. Pray that believers will visit and call their Congressmen at their home state offices to insist they vote to defund Obamacare. Please use the Prayer Targets and Washington Update archives and the vast library available on the FRC website to provide prayer grist for your August prayer times. God bless you, and thank you for praying!