Prayer Targets: Revival Prayer; First Liberty; Perkins; Hogan; Judges; Elections; Title X
May 16, 2018
Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Dear Praying Friends,
The works of E.M. Bounds (1835-1913) are essential reading for true prayer warriors. Bounds wrote for many audiences but especially fellow pastors, for whom he was deeply burdened. He saw the pastors’ secret prayers and praying example as the key to praying churches. From his Purpose in Prayer:
All revivals are dependent upon God, but... what is the duty we, as co-workers with God, must undertake? First and most important - we must give ourselves to prayer. “Revivals,” Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman reminds us, “are born in prayer. When Wesley prayed England was revived; when Knox prayed, Scotland was refreshed; when the Sunday School teachers of Tannybrook prayed, 11,000 young people were added to the Church in a year. Whole nights of prayer have always been succeeded by whole days of soul-winning.”
The God of revivals is willing to hear and to answer the faithful, believing prayers of His people today. Wherever God’s conditions are met there the revival is sure to fall. Professor Thos. Nicholson, of Cornell College, told this story. “There had not been a revival on his circuit in years, and things were hopeful. During more than four weeks the pastor had preached faithfully, visited from house to house, in stores, shops, and out-of-the-way places, and had done everything he could. On the fifth Monday night many of the men could be found in the lodges, but only a few at the church.
“The pastor went home, cast down, but not in despair. Though the meetings had been the subject of hours of earnest prayer, locking the door, he took Bible and hymn book and began to inquire more diligently of the Lord. Only God knows the anxiety and faithful, prayerful study of that night. Near dawn great peace and a full assurance came that God would surely bless his plan and the chosen text was of the Lord. The pastor slept about two hours, but all day his assurance increased.
“Toward night a pouring rain set in... we reached home, wet, supper-less, a little late, only to find no fire in the church, no lights, and no signs of a service. The janitor presumed the rain would prevent it. We changed the order, rang the bell, and prepared for war. Just three young men were the congregation, but in ‘full assurance’ the pastor delivered the message he had prayed out the preceding night, as earnestly and fully as if the house had been crowded. Then he made a personal appeal to each young man in turn. Two yielded, and testified to faith before the meeting closed.
“The tired pastor enjoyed sweet sleep. Rising a little later than usual, he learned that one of the young men was going from store to store throughout the town telling of his wonderful deliverance, and exhorting the people to salvation. Night after night conversions occurred. Two weeks later, 144 people testified to saving faith in a 45-minute period. All three churches in that circuit saw revival, family after family joined the church and the membership more than tripled [several persons saved went on to become ministers]. Probably none of the members ever knew of the pastor’s night of prayer, but he is persuaded that God does for those who thus pray what He does not for those who do not pray – that “more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”
All true revivals are born in prayer. When God’s people become so concerned about the state of the faith that they lie on their faces day and night in earnest supplication, the blessing will surely come. It is the same all down the ages. Every revival of which we have any record was bathed in prayer.
Richard Baxter, it is said, “stained his study walls with praying breath; and becoming thus anointed with the unction of the Holy Ghost he sent a river of living water over Kidderminster.” Whitfield prayed, “O Lord, give me souls or take my soul.” After much closet pleading, “he once went to the Devil’s fair and took more than a thousand souls out of the paw of the lion in a single day.”
Are we concerned about the coldness of the Church? Do we grieve over the lack of conversions? Does our soul go out to God in midnight cries for the outpouring of His Spirit? If not, blame lies at our door. If we do our part, God will do His. Around us is a world lost in sin, above us is a God willing and able to save; it is ours to build the bridge that links heaven and earth, and prayer is the mighty instrument that does it. The old cry comes to us with insistent voice, “Pray, brethren, pray.” (E. M. Bounds, Purpose in Prayer, Ch. 12)
America is Championing Religious Liberty Again – President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, the people they have appointed to serve in the Executive Branch, and a variety of Advisory Committees are producing radical and welcome changes across the board in America. But the administration’s attention to religious liberty at home and abroad can be characterized as nothing less than extraordinary. Less than three months from the time he took office, on May 4, 2017, the National Day of Prayer, the president signed his first religious liberty executive order (read “One Year Later: The Impact of President Trump’s Executive Order Protecting Religious Liberty”). Last week, on his second National Day of Prayer, May 3, 2018, President Trump issued yet another religious liberty executive order, this time repealing some Obama orders that were not very helpful to religious liberty and replacing them with true religious liberty measures. He changed the name and focus of President Obama’s “White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives” to “White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative” (read Executive Order on the Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative). Under President Obama, the related President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships appointed LGBT activists to serve as “faith-based” advisors.
One of the purposes of the offices in the administration’s executive agencies and departments will be to make sure that faith-based organizations are able to compete for federal funds with non-faith based agencies without discrimination and in keeping with their faith tenets and standards. It also provides for constant feedback from the faith community directly to the White House and each of the executive agencies, and much more.
The president recently appointed and the Senate confirmed Governor Sam Brownback to serve as Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom at the State Department, reporting directly to the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and strengthening his office to function as it was intended prior to its degeneration under the Obama administration. The president’s actions and appointments have revived America as the foremost advocate for religious freedom in the world again. Advocates agree that the absence of U.S. influence in promoting religious liberty led to significant deterioration of religious freedom abroad. Under President Obama, religious liberty was not a priority and the State Department actually advocated against religious liberty, pushing instead LGBT rights, abortion rights, and liberal political correctness through its State Department policies and through our embassies – actually insulting Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Our embassies actually celebrated “Gay Pride Month” in June, and flew the rainbow flag to display their support.
Another sign that religious liberty is in the front seat in American foreign policy again was the announcement yesterday that Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has been appointed to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) (more good appointments are coming). The selection of Tony Perkins as its newest member for a two-year term promises a more active and robust USCIRF in the days ahead. The USCIRF was created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Commissioners are appointed by the president and the leaders of both political parties in both Houses. USCIRF's principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the president, the Secretary of State, and the Congress. Tony will continue as President of FRC and needs your prayers now more than ever with this additional, vital role.
- God, please help the president and Congress keep religious liberty, our first liberty, a top priority in U.S. domestic and international policy. With true religious liberty, people will be free to seek you, openly proclaim you, and testify openly to your love and great power. Men, women, boys, and girls will be able to convert from other faiths or no faith to genuine faith – without coercion or restraint by government or from others. May America be a force for religious liberty around the world more than any time yet in American history. Lord, we intercede for Tony Perkins that you will enable him to adjudicate cases and guide our leaders to rule with righteousness and justice, keenly understanding the importance of religious freedom and liberty of conscience. May he do it well, without diminishing the effectiveness of his outstanding leadership of FRC. (Gen 2:16; 41:32-46; Lev 25:10; Ezr 2:68; Ps 54:6; Is 61:1; Dan 5:11-14; Mt 10:8; Rom 1:16; Gal 5:1; 1 Tim 1:5; Rev 21:6)
Finally, For Your Prayer List: (1) Yesterday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed into law Senate Bill 1028 (Youth Mental Health Protection Act), which essentially abandons parents and children to their own resources by prohibiting licensed counselors, therapists, and other health care professionals from providing guidance to minors regarding same-sex attractions or gender confusion except to support their pro-homosexual or pro-transgender feelings. (2) While liberals are fighting tooth-and-nail against the confirmation of Trump federal judicial appointees, the president is breaking records in the number and speed of his successful judicial confirmations by the U.S. Senate, especially appeals court judges – those from which future U.S. Supreme Court Judges will likely to be chosen. All have been purportedly judicial conservatives who will interpret the Constitution as intended by the Founders and not according to the interpretation of liberal activists of the 21st century who write law from the bench. (3) The judiciary shift, which may be the president’s greatest legacy, could be upended unless Americans elect more conservatives to the U.S. Senate in November. (4) President Trump’s HHS is expected to issue regulations soon like those introduced but never fully implemented by the Reagan adminis tration. Title X family planning funds recipients would be required to be wholly separate, physically and financially, from any abortion services. This would prevent most Planned Parenthood locations from receiving Title X funds. As in Reagan’s day, abortion advocates are preparing to fight.
As always, thank you for praying!