Family Research Council

Prayer Targets: Thanksgiving, Nuclear Senate, HHS Mandate, Texas Law, Pastors Housing, Iran Deal


November 27, 2013

By him [Jesus] let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13:15

Dear Praying Friends,

We often read of activist "educators" who have banned or perverted the celebration of Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, or even Christmas in their classrooms. Instead of teaching and inspiring their students with powerful stories about America's historic heroes, they indoctrinate children with negative, twisted accounts from rewritten American history. Distorted views about our nation's spiritual heritage serve to erode our children's faith in God and love for America.

In 2011, Dr. Kenyn Cureton, FRC's V.P. for Church Ministries responded to one such school principal, who had written, "For many of us and our students, celebrating [Christopher Columbus] is an insult and a slight to the people he annihilated. On the same lines, we need to be careful around the Thanksgiving Day time as well." Dr. Cureton wrote:

This argument ignores what the first Thanksgiving was ... and still is - about. Thanksgiving was a time to give thanks to God for his bountiful blessings.

Among the first American settlers, the pilgrims were faithful in giving God thanks. Pilgrim Edward Winslow expressed their gratitude in the fall of 1621: "God be praised, we had a good increase of corn ... by the goodness of God, we are far from want... Our governor sent four men [turkey hunting], so that we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors." ... The pilgrims invited Chief Massasoit and his tribe for three days of feasting, games and celebration. The good relations the pilgrims (and Puritans) enjoyed with the natives lasted some 50 years.

That tradition of Thanksgiving grew in colonial New England, and eventually spread. In fact, the Continental Congress issued a number of thanksgiving proclamations... A day after the first Federal Congress approved the Bill of Rights, which some claim includes the doctrine of "separation between Church and State" in the First Amendment, they voted to ask President George Washington to proclaim a "National Day of Prayer" to thank God for the establishment of our government and for His blessings. On Oct. 3, 1789, Washington issued the following: "Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the People of these United States ... That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks ... for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed..." (see Dr. Cureton's The Founders and Thanksgiving, with notes and footnotes).

Those close to George Washington attested that he was a true man of prayer. He gave thanks to God at every opportunity, even when he, his men and America were in great peril. When he learned in July 1776, that our Founding Fathers, trusting in God, had pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to sign the Declaration of Independence, he commanded his men to attend divine services and give God appropriate thanks. During years of fighting with few successes, low on supplies, and his troops haggard, Washington prayed. Eyewitness reports have resulted in iconic images of Washington praying on bended knee.

In the fall of 1781, our French allies finally sent their army and navy to aid the American cause. For the first time, British General Cornwallis who had been crushing American troops across the south was cornered at Yorktown by Washington, French General Rochambeau and the French Fleet under Admiral De Grasse. With no way out, Cornwallis tried to flee but was prevented by a God-sent wind. He surrendered, not just the battle, but the war. That was October 20, 1781. The next day being Sunday, Washington ordered that "Divine service is to be performed tomorrow in the several brigades and divisions. The commander-in-chief recommends that the troops not on duty should universally attend with that seriousness of deportment and gratitude of heart which the recognition of such reiterated and astonishing interpositions of Providence demand of us" (see Davis, The Religion of George Washington; Christianity.com; A Gracious Gift).

Senate Invokes "Nuclear Option" - Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used a parliamentary trick to overturn 225 years of U.S. Senate tradition and strip the minority party of its only power to stop the most egregious of President Obama's nominees to the federal courts and top executive branch appointees -- the filibuster. Now, instead of 60 votes being required to end debate, only 51 votes, a simple majority, is needed. With 53 Senate Democrats, one liberal Independent, and one Socialist, a 55 vote block, and just 45 Republicans, the Democrats have total control over the confirmation process. President Obama now has three years to stack the courts with liberals -- judicial activists with life-long tenure -- who will strike down pro-life, pro-family and pro-religious liberty laws, even if conservatives win back the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016. Only prevailing prayer and God's mercy can preserve us (see Bomb Voyage, Nuclear Option Triggered, No More Deliberation).

  • Just as a wind from heaven prevailed against Cornwallis 232 years ago, may our God-fearing Senators be given winds of wisdom to navigate their way amid this new, even more hostile environment. May God protect us from judges who oppose what God calls right! (Ex 15:9-13; Dt 16:19; 25:12 Chr 20:6; Ps 51:16-23; Is 33:22; Jn 7:24 )

High Court to Rule on HHS Mandate - This week the Supreme Court announced it will hear the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood challenges to the "HHS Mandate," (see (PL 111-148, PL 111-152) which requires employers to provide their employees insurance that covers free contraceptives, sterilization and abortifacient drugs even if doing so violates their conscience (see Court Will Rule; ADF Archive; FRC Resources; New Poll; Text).

  • Thank you for hearing our many prayers over this matter! Move Oh Lord, upon each member of the Supreme Court. May they rule this mandate an unconstitutional infringement of religious liberty and conscience against these Christian businesses and their owners (Is 5:20; 10:1; Lk 18:1-8; 1 Tim 1:5; 3:9; 2 Tim 1:3; Tit 1:5; Heb 10:22).

Supreme Court Won't Block Texas Abortion Decision - Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court, 5-4, denied Planned Parenthood's motion to block a ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Key parts of the Texas abortion law will stay in effect until the Supreme Court has heard the case and issued a ruling. Texas' law, which requires sanitary standards and doctors with medical privileges with a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic, is a model for other states until Roe v. Wade can be overturned (see Supreme Court 5-4 Fox News; Washington Post).

  • Thanks be to God that the Court will hear and rule on this law! May they rule favorably; may other states pass similar laws and may Roe v. Wade soon be overturned (Ex 20:3; Lev 20:1-5; Dt 21:8-9; 30:19; John 10:10).

Pastor's Housing Allowance - While pastors, churches and families prepare for Thanksgiving, Wisconsin Federal District Judge Barbara Crabb, who ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional in 2010, has now ruled that the tax-exempt housing allowance most pastors receive when a church-owned parsonage is not provided them, is unconstitutional. Secularists have long disliked the allowance, insisting that it is a state subsidy to religion (see Supreme Arrogance; Pastors and Ministry Leaders' Petition - Please urge your pastor to sign).

  • May God protect His churches and ministers. May He preserve their independence from government control, taxation and entanglement. May the Obama administration lawyers who must defend the long-honored pastors housing exemption, do their job with excellence and may the Courts rule in favor of the pastors and churches! (see 1 Chr 16:22; Neh 13:9-13; Ps 105:15; Hag 2:6-9; Mal 3:8; Heb 7:4-8)

Finally, Bible-believing Christians know that the Obama-Kerry deal with Iran is a disaster, especially for our friends in Israel. They know Scripture warns that our betrayal of Israel will mean serious repercussions for America (see Gen 12:1-3; Keep Calm & Kerry On?; May Mean War, Obamabomb, Betrayal). Even as Gen. Washington prayed over the urgencies of his day AND simultaneously thanked God for all His many blessings, may we be both vigilant in prayer and thankful this Thanksgiving Day. Thank you for praying!

P.S. Dr. Kenyn Cureton has created several free Thanksgiving tools for churches that your pastor may wish to use for Thanksgiving services. You can also use them at home. They focus on the history of Thanksgiving. Click here for Sermon Material, a PowerPoint and Bulletin Insert). Click here for David Barton's history of Thanksgiving in America. They'll prepare you for family discussion around your Thanksgiving table! Happy Thanksgiving!