Prayer Targets: Persecution & Response; Pole Prayer; Daleiden Trial; Prayerful Defiance; Story Hour
September 18, 2019
Dr. Erwin Lutzer is Pastor Emeritus of Chicago’s Moody Church where he was the senior pastor for 36 years. He is the featured speaker on three radio programs heard on more than a thousand stations in the U.S. and around the world. Author of over 30 books, these excerpts are from an article condensed from Dr. Lutzer’s When a Nation Forgets God.
“When God calls a man, He bids him come and die,” wrote Dietrich Bonhoeffer during the dark days when the church in Germany was being Nazified. And at the age of thirty-nine, he practiced what he preached; he was hanged on the gallows and died.…Bonhoeffer was not just an ordinary hero, but an extraordinary one, both in his stature as a Christian leader, and as a Christian intellectual. But thousands of lesser-known people were inspired by his example and became a credit to the Christ they served. Thanks to his courageous witness, hundreds of pastors ended up in concentration camps willing to suffer and die for their faith. If every pastor would have been a Bonhoeffer or a Niemöller, Hitler could not have accomplished his agenda. The pastors and their congregations would have simply said, “No” to the Nazi doctrine of the superiority of the Aryan race and its frightful implications. Today in America we need an army of ordinary heroes to stand against the gathering darkness in our land. We need people who will stand for truth courageously, consistently, and with humility and grace. We need millions of believers who will represent Christ in the various vocations of America. We need to enlist people who know what they believe, why they believe it, and how to live out their convictions in diverse situations. We need those who are willing to pay the price of discipleship and obedience and to do so with joy.
A tall order, but possible... I am not saying that we in America are being called upon to suffer in the same way as the Christians in Germany did. Someday that might be our lot, but as of now we are confronted with a growing hostility toward the Christian faith both in the popular culture and in our legal system that seems intent on creating laws that limit our freedoms. We need to individually draw a line in the sand, making up our minds that we will not compromise our principles, even at great personal cost... the spiritual climate of America will never be changed unless we have a revival of what we call “the layman.” That is, we need ordinary people living authentically for Christ in their vocations, among their neighbors, and positions of influence. We cannot look to a man or even a movement as much as to the common person who is committed to Christ and living for Him. Sometimes the Gospel has to be communicated with more than words...
The Call to Suffer - Bonhoeffer said accurately, “Suffering is not an interruption, but our calling.” Paul wrote that we are to share in the sufferings of Christ... In our suffering we conform to the likeness of Christ... He calls us to suffer. As our culture drifts into paganism... Christians fear the suffering that might come our way... suffering for Christ in our culture is largely unknown to us. But other countries have not been exempt; in fact, there are more people dying for their faith in... hostile cultures and political regimes than at any time in history. Perhaps our time will come.…We need to remember that we are to respond in unexpected ways to the trials that come our way... as representatives of Christ... The church was birthed in the crucible of suffering and opposition. Paul wrote, “To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things” (1 Cor. 4:11-13). Americans can no longer take for granted that we live in a country where we can expect the government and the courts to be favorable to us. We accept this as our calling; but we choose to stand for truth with love and grace.
Winning While We Lose – Even if we are faithful, we might not always “win” in our ideological battle with a hostile culture bent on using the courts to scrub the public square clean of any reference to God. But we are neither discouraged nor daunted, for we know that God rules and, in the end, He will demonstrate His power and righteousness.
Peter Marshall was right, “It is better to fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed, than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail.” Better to fail while serving God than to win while serving oneself. Better to die sharing the Gospel than to live denying the Christ who purchased us. Let us not let compromise eclipse courage. God’s word to us is clear: “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” (Phil. 2:14-16). Let us pray that God will give us people who shine as lights in a dark world; they are ordinary heroes but they are extraordinary to God! And they make a difference! (“Stand Firm Against The Gathering Darkness,” Herald of His Coming, 2015, Condensed from When A Nation Forgets God by Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer).
The persecution about which Dr. Lutzer wrote is now well underway in America. Christians are not called to passively endure. Lutzer’s assertion bears repeating: “If every pastor would have been a Bonhoeffer or a Niemöller, Hitler could not have accomplished his agenda.” But, “We need to individually draw a line in the sand, making up our minds that we will not compromise our principles, even at great personal cost... The spiritual climate of America will never be changed unless we have a revival of what we call ‘the layman.’”
See You at the Pole – On Wednesday, September 25th students across America will meet at 7:00 a.m. (in their own time zone) at their school flag pole to pray for their friends, families, teachers, school, and nation. See You at the Pole is a student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led event. In 1990, the Global Day of Student Prayer began as a grassroots movement with ten students praying at their school. Now thirty years later, millions of students gather to pray on their campuses every fourth Wednesday in September. The See You at the Pole Global Week of Student Prayer extends from September 22nd - Sept 28th. Public, private, and home school students pray in unique ways, places and times throughout the week. Some will launch on-campus Bible clubs. The student-initiated prayer gathering has been affirmed as constitutional in various court cases (See you at the Pole Website).
- Lord, you said a little child will lead them; Without the faith of a little child, no one would enter into the kingdom of heaven. Thank you that amid the turmoil and hostility among adults and nations, children of all ages have organized - on their own – to gather to pray this year in this way. We pray that you will bless this movement, multiply its growth and fill America and the nations with praying young people. May their prayers make a difference among their friends, families, schools, and our nation. May they become powerful prayer warriors as adults! (Is 11:6; Mt 11:25; 18:1-7, 10; 19:14; Lk 10:21; 18:17).
David Daleiden on Trial – In 2015, Daleiden Founder of the Center for Medical Progress, and associate Sandra Merritt worked together to expose Planned Parenthood’s aborted baby parts trafficking racket and produced an extensive series of videos, obtained via undercover methods. They released the undercover videos, one video at a time over a period of months, exposing the criminal activities of the world’s largest abortion provider to the general public. The videos evoked the rage of Planned Parenthood, the abortion industry, and the pro abortion political community including government officials. Now Daleiden and Merritt, charged with 14 felony counts of recording confidential information without consent in connection with the videos, are facing up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The preliminary hearing to determine if any of the felony counts can proceed to a trial is taking place in San Francisco's Superior Court with Judge Christopher Hite presiding.
Although New York, Illinois and Vermont are competing, California is probably the most officially pro-abortion state in the nation. On Monday, Daleiden took the witness stand to detail the Center’s 30-month-long sting operation. He said he had reason to believe violent crimes were committed in the harvesting of fetal organs, among them partial-birth abortion, babies born alive and left to die, and “born-alive infant homicide,” where babies are “killed through organ harvesting,” He earlier testified that a 19-year-old TV documentary motivated him to become an undercover investigator. In the film a paid “baby parts procurer” told of having been offered live, beating hearts from infants born alive after a failed abortion. But the vast American media industry never picked up on the story. LifeSiteNews.com has been covering the trial daily (see Tony Perkins: A Harvest of Horror; I broke no law!; Beating Hearts for Sale).
- Father, your word instructs us to “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Eph 5:11-12). Thank you that Daleiden and Merritt were doing what you said to do. Be now their Defender! Thank you that you are already using the court appearance as an opportunity to give testimony to the truth. Vindicate them and use their labors and the acts of retribution against them, ultimately to stop abortion and close down the gruesome trade in aborted baby parts. In Jesus name. Amen (Ps 35:24; 43:1; Pr 23:10-11; Is 19:20)
Finally, please pray over these matters as you are led by the Lord! 1) The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) threatened the authorities at Opelika High School in Alabama with legal action if they refused to discontinue the tradition of an opening invocation a student football games. The administration caved in and gave the students a moment of silence instead. That is the kind of response institutional authorities typically give Atheist activists. Yet at the first football game, the fans refused to be bullied, praying the Lord’s Prayer loudly and in unison. Americans must never give up their religious liberty! 2) 2,246 aborted babies’ bodies were found in a retired Indiana abortionist’s Illinois home by family members after he passed away. An investigation is underway. 3) Executive Pastor Amado Huizar and members of his congregation in South Bay Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California appealed to the mayor when the local public library scheduled a Drag Queen Story Hour. He requested that the event be moved to a private location and launched a community petition. Rebuffed, the bizarre LGBTQ event went off as planned. But at approximately 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, vandals spray-painted on all four corners of the church with satanic symbols, hat eful words and phrases, and other graffiti. Though police are investigating, it appears clear that this was retribution for the church’s opposition to the Drag Queen event (See and hear more).
As always, there is so much more. Please pray over the points that Pastor Lutzer made in the article above. Thank you for praying!