Prayer Targets: Importunity; Marriage Cases, Boy Scouts, Obamacare shock, Good News
March 27, 2013
"Men ought always to pray and not to faint..." Luke 18:1
Dear Praying Friends,
Rev. E.M. Bounds (1835-1913) expounded upon importunity in prayer - the kind we need between now and June when the Supreme Court publishes its ruling on marriage:
OUR Lord Jesus declared that "men ought always to pray and not to faint"... Importunate prayer...is a stirring of the deepest forces of the soul, toward the throne of heavenly grace...the ability to hold on, press on, and wait.
Restless desire, restful patience, and strength of grasp... a passion of soul... wrestling... inwrought force... the intercession of the Spirit of God, in us...is, moreover, "the effectual, fervent prayer, which availeth much." The Divine Spirit informing every element within us, with the energy of His own striving, is the essence of the importunity which urges our praying at the mercy-seat, to continue until the fire falls and the blessing descends...
Importunity is pressing of our desires upon God with urgency and perseverance; praying with tenacity and tension which neither relaxes nor ceases until its plea is heard, and its cause is won ...
The repeated intercessions of Abraham...present an early example of the necessity for,and benefit deriving from importunate praying. Jacob, wrestling all night with the angel, gives emphasis to the power of a dogged perseverance in praying, and shows how, in things spiritual, importunity succeeds... Moses prayed forty days and forty nights, seeking to stay the wrath of God against Israel, and his example and success are a stimulus to present-day faith in its darkest hour. Elijah repeated and urged his prayer...ere the raincloud appeared above the horizon... Daniel though faint and weak, pressed his case three weeks, ere the answer and the blessing came. Many nights during His earthly life did the blessed Saviour spend in prayer. In Gethsemane He presented the same petition, three times, with unabated, urgent, yet submissive importunity, which involved every element of His soul, and issued in tears and bloody sweat. His life crises were distinctly marked, his life victories all won, in hours of importunate prayer. The servant is not greater than his Lord. ... Our Lord sets forth...the serious difficulties which stand in the way of prayer... He teaches, moreover, that an answer to prayer is conditional upon the amount of faith that goes to the petition. To test this, He delays the answer. The superficial pray-er subsides into silence, when the answer is delayed. But the man of prayer hangs on, and on. The Lord recognizes and honors his faith, and gives him a rich and abundant answer to his faith-evidencing, importunate prayer (Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer, Ch. 6).
The oft-quoted "heal our land" in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a conditional promise. It is not a formula for a day of prayer, but for a humble repentant people who seek the face of God with importunity. In a 50 hour long prayer vigil, just ended, with participants from all 50 states, I was moved by the sincerity and depth of the cries from believers across America. We must now persevere with faith and see the fruit of our importunate prayers!
Marriage and the Supremes -Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard the arguments in the case, Hollingsworth v. Perry. The Justices must now decide whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the people of the State of California from defining marriage in their own state as the union of a man and a woman. The Court will also decide whether those who brought the lawsuit have standing to do so. The Governor and Attorney General of California declined to defend the people's decision, even though they have the responsibility to do so under California law. The Court could rule: 1) the Ninth Circuit Court ruling was wrong and the California Marriage Amendment is constitutional, 2) the ruling was correct and the voter approved amendment is unconstitutional as it pertains to the State of California, 3) the Ninth Circuit Court ruling was correct, and same-sex "marriage" cannot be prohibited in the states where the Ninth Circuit Court has jurisdiction (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington State), or 4) the Ninth Circuit ruling was correct, the California Marriage Amendment is unconstitutional, and therefore, laws and amendments in all 50 states that prohibit same-sex "marriage" are also unconstitutional. The Justices grilled both sides thoroughly. Their questions and statements suggested that they are skeptical about issuing a sweeping ruling.
Ken Klukowski, Director of FRC's Center for Religious Liberty, says the Justices did not make clear their leaning, but believes they will not hold same-sex marriage to be a constitutional right based on this case. He says it is also unclear whether they will even consider the merits of the case. Rather, they may split 5-4 on the legal standing of the pro-traditional marriage plaintiffs, with Chief Justice John Roberts being the swing vote. "Roberts," Klukowski says, "didn't tip his hand one way or the other, so it's not clear whether there are enough votes to move forward to decide the merits of the case."
Today's hearing on United States v. Windsor was vastly different. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. DOMA defines marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife" and spouse as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." The question is whether this language violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their state. At issue is whether the federal government can deny federal marriage benefits to homosexuals married legally in a state where same sex marriage is legal. Pundits from both sides who heard the Justices ask questions, seemed to think they leaned strongly toward striking down DOMA. The Justices will deliberate, take a preliminary vote, and then return in May to reaffirm their vote before announcing it in July. FRC President, Tony Perkins, believes that the Boy Scout National Council vote in May regarding the admittance of homosexual scouts and Scoutmasters, will impact the swing vote on the U.S. Supreme Court. (see Klukowski, Conflicted, Benefits, Assault on Marriage, Children? Or Adult Desires?, Pope Francis: Marriage is Unique, Will Court Enforce Social Experiment?, Hear the Cases on CSpan, Latest on Scouts)
- May God's people be importunate in prayer! May God intervene to defend and preserve the institution He created to reflect the love, purity, holiness and commitment of the covenant relationship between His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Bride, the blood-bought Church of Jesus Christ (Lk 18:1-8; Eph 5:22-33).
- May the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America vote not to change their plain, historic moral standards, held for over 100 years. May this ruling be the Waterloo for same-sex marriage! (Mt 18:3-6; 19:14)
- May the Supreme Court refuse to overturn the historic, biblical, and legal definition of Marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman (2 Sam 23:3; Mt 19:4-6; Jn 7:24).
Other issues that need prayer: Sebelius Admits, Insurance Premium will rise under Obamacare, Under Obamacare, LGBT Community will get Special Focus, 52 Lawsuits against Contraceptive Mandate Underway, Good News North Dakota, More, Kansas to become Pro-Life Stem Cell Center. Thank you for your "importunate" prayer!