Prayer Targets: Born Alive Protection; Abortion States; Free Speech Fairness Act; Israel & Iran
February 06, 2019
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live... (Dt 30:19)
Dear Praying Friends,
Last week, we featured a 2009 article by FRC President Tony Perkins about the necessity for Christians to take up the pro-life cause with prayer and action. This week, we highlight a new article in which Tony focuses on the importance of fasting. Here are excerpts:
The spiritual discipline of fasting was ushered into the spotlight recently by one of the most unlikely places -- Hollywood.
Actor Chris Pratt, a Christian, posted on Instagram that he was on a 21-day Daniel Fast. The Guardians of the Galaxy star, who recently got engaged to Arnold Schwarzenegger's daughter Katherine, created a lot of interest in "taking his health regimen to biblical proportions." No doubt this had some curious folks turning to the infomercial channels looking for details on this latest fad in dieting. While I won't rule out that some creative marketer will capitalize upon the attention created over Pratt's post, the Daniel Fast is not new, and it's so much more than a diet.
The Daniel Fast, named for the Old Testament prophet Daniel and his meal plan described in the first chapter of Daniel, is a deliberate and disciplined effort to place a higher priority on our spiritual well-being and growth rather than our physical wants and needs. The goal is to set aside the momentary pleasures of rich food to simplify life, allowing time and mental energy to focus on what's really important. While fasting does have tangible benefits, the focus of fasting is spiritual; it's about setting ourselves apart for spiritual focus and nourishment (see Chris Pratt following 21-day fast based on the Bible).
About Daniel and his three friends who joined him in this pursuit, we read: "To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds."
Disciplining the body led to a disciplined mind and soul.
This idea of our spiritual needs preempting our physical needs is illustrated in the words of Jesus in Matthew 4:4 after He had been fasting for 40 days. Satan himself tempted Jesus by suggesting He use His power to turn the stones into bread.
Jesus responded, "...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." The Daniel Fast, like other forms of fasting, is not about exercising self-denial for its own sake, it is about yielding ourselves to God for something greater...
I first embarked upon fasting while in college after having read's Paul's description of fasting in Acts 9 where he went without food and water. With only that to go on, I followed Paul's example ... I later found out that Paul's fast is what is called a total fast and is to be used with caution. I also found out -- the hard way -- that a Domino's pizza is not the best way to break your fast.
Like anything worthwhile, fasting is a discipline... you should ease into... following guidelines that can help you be successful in denying yourself some short-term pleasure in food for the long-term gain of a closer walk with God himself.
Consider the life-long impact of fasting and self-discipline on Daniel. He was carried away as a child captive to Babylon where he was groomed for royal service as a youth and ended up serving at the very top of the administrations of several kings... But in those early days of slavery, he embraced fasting as a tool to establish a pattern that he would put God first. His reputation for excellence and integrity became far-reaching ... (Daniel 6:4).
Daniel's spiritual devotion as developed through fasting became a hallmark of his life, enabling him to learn lessons, face lions, and defeat liars who didn't understand how his character, forged in connection to God, allowed him to succeed.
In The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: "Jesus takes it for granted that His disciples will observe the pious custom of fasting. Strict exercise of self-control is an essential feature of the Christian's life. Such customs have only one purpose -- to make the disciples more ready and cheerful to accomplish those things which God would have done."
The point of fasting is not giving up food, but rather setting aside the stuff of earth to reach for God himself in our daily life. (Read the entire article at FoxNews.com)
FRC President Tony Perkins is now leading FRC's nearly 100-member staff in a 10-week spiritual emphasis and prayer vigil (with some fasting). We are seeking God's wisdom, guidance, and provision for 2019 and for each staff member to grow in his/her relationship with the Lord. Also, Tony has recently been invited to become a FoxNews.com contributor on matters of faith and family. Please pray for God's guidance for Tony, that his bi-weekly columns will have a powerful impact upon FoxNews.com readers. Please pray with us that the FRC staff we will grow in the Lord and accomplish His will in 2019.
Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act Blocked by a Single Democrat -- One would think, given the negative publicity and outrage toward pro-abortion efforts in New York, Virginia, and other states that at least one Democrat would have stood up for the lives of abortion survivors and support a bill that both criminalizes infanticide and guarantees that children who survive abortion will receive the care that all other newborn babies receive. But no. On Monday night, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) was the only Democrat to show up for the vote and, obviously acting on behalf of all her liberal colleagues, objected to passage of the bill by unanimous consent. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) first introduced the Born Alive bill in 2015 under a veto threat by President Obama (it passed the House that year and again in 2018) but not the U.S. Senate. Clearly, no true pro-life legislation is likely to pass Congress during the next two years. Too many pro-life conservatives stayed home on Election Day 2018, and elections have consequences. Despite polls that show a strong majority reject late term abortion, that majority is not presently reflected in the U.S. Congress. Pro-lifers ought not think they have nothing to do for the next two years. We've come a long way. Rather, we must double our commitment to speak out in favor of life and champion pro-life legislation in Washington and in the states. (Since 2011, despite a pro-abortion president for most of that time, 427 pro-life bills have been enacted into law.) Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he still intends to bring the bill to the Senate floor for an up or down vote. (Killer Party: Dems Stand Alone on Infanticide;'Choice' Words for Infanticide; Liberals Block Bill Prohibiting Infanticide; Enforcement Mechanisms)
- May America soon embrace the conviction that human life is sacred, and every baby conceived deserves to live the life God intended for him or her. May God deal with the politicians who have embraced a pro-abortion stand. May those who continue to push the envelope to post birth infanticide be used of the Lord to magnify and expose the evil of all abortion at every stage. May Roe v. Wade be overturned soon, and in the meantime, may the will of the American people be demonstrated by more and more state laws that reduce and prevent the shedding of innocent blood. (Gen 4:10; 9:6; Ps 139:13 -18; Mt 18:6, 10; Mt 25:40; Rom 13:9-10; 1 Tim 1:8-10)
Some States Rushing to Pass NY-like Pro-Infanticide Laws -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam both support abortion up until the moment of birth (and possibly beyond). Scripture teaches plainly that human beings are made in the image of God and science proves that preborn babies at every stage are human with the DNA blueprint for his or her life fully formed within hours of conception. Thus, Bible-believing Christians reject abortion at every stage of gestation. That is why the debate against abortion will never end until life prevails. Human life is sacred. Nevertheless, Roe v. Wade unleashed the slaughter of innocent preborn American children (over 60 million since Roe v. Wade) more than the number of women and children murdered by the Nazis, Stalin, or Mao. By God's grace, the abortion rate has been declining in the U.S. in recent years due to public opinion and new laws in the conservative states, yet Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature shocked the country by passing one of the most radical pro-abortion laws in American history in an effort to preempt any future pro-life ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. In the wake of the macabre public celebration of the New York abortion law by legislators who supported it, the shocking public statements by the Virginia legislator who proposed a similar law, and scandalous statements by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (who declared support for parents choosing infanticide after the birth of their baby), the Virginia General Assembly defeated the bill. However, Vermont and Rhode Island Democrats have proposed similar laws, rightly called "infanticide bills" by their opponents, which declare unborn babies "non-persons." Like the failed Virginia bill, they would allow women the freedom to choose abortion even once they have begun the birthing process. They are righty called "infanticide" bills. The eight states that have no gestational limits on abortion are: Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Vermont, along with Washington, D.C. A recent Marist poll showed 75 percent of Americans want substantial restrictions on abortion, including 60 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of those who identify as "pro-choice." (Read Rhode Island and Vermont; Myths about Third Trimester Abortion; Now 8 States Allow Abortion until Birth; see Top 10 Myths About Abortion videos.)
- Lord, thank you for the growing respect for the sanctity of life in America as reflected in the pro-life bills passed during the last eight years and the growing number of pro-life Americans who now identify as such according to the polls. May every pastor in America proclaim the sanctity of life and teach his people how to be champions for life in our culture. May the initiatives to expand and enshrine abortion in these and other states fail, just as the Virginia bill did. And may political advocates of abortion be warned by what happened in Virginia! (Ex 21:22-25; Dt 21:9; Ps 33:12; Jer 7:5-7; Lk 12:6-7; 1 Cor 6:19-20 a>)
Free Speech Fairness Act Reintroduced -- On Monday, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Congressmen Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Congressman Mike Johnson (R-La.), and Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) reintroduced the Free Speech Fairness Act, intended to overturn the 1954 Johnson Amendment which for 65 years has threatened pastors, churches, and other non-profit leaders with loss of their tax exempt status for speaking out on political matters or endorsing political candidates. The Johnson Amendment clearly violates the Constitution, and it also inhibits pastors from fulfilling their role as shepherds of God's people by plainly speaking out on moral and spiritual matters that are debated in the political and public policy sphere. The president has made passage of this Act a priority. Regardless of the makeup of Congress, Christians must champion the rights of their pastors and other church leaders to speak the whole truth without intimidation or threat from the IRS or politicians eager to silence God's people (see Bill to repeal Johnson Amendment Reintroduced; FRC: Figures of Free Speech).
- May the president and the leaders in Congress experience the blessing of God as they defend free speech required for the faithful proclamation of the gospel and faithful adherence to the Constitution. May the Johnson Amendment be overturned despite adversaries in Congress. (Acts 4:20; 5:28-29; 20:26-28; 1 Tim 2:1-2; 1 Pet 4:11)
Finally, please add these items to your prayer list: 1) Israel and Iran, according to some analysts, are on the brink of outright war. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! (See Dangerously Close); 2) Last night, President Trump delivered a very strong speech on the State of the Union, with a huge emphasis on the sanctity of human life.
As always, there is so much more to pray for, but here are a few important targets. Thanks for praying!