Prayer Targets: Easter Sunday Massacre; Birth Day Abortions; National Day of Prayer
April 24, 2019
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32)
Dear Praying Friends,
Dr. Henry Blackaby, President Emeritus of Blackaby Ministries International, has led many believers into a deeper experience with God through his Spirit-anointed speaking and writing. In fact, the FRC leadership team uses Henry and son Richard's Experiencing God Day-By-Day for a daily devotion before beginning our strategy meetings. This is from April 5:
If you ever feel that you are so insignificant that God does not care about you or that He does not want to listen to your prayers, you will be encouraged by Romans 8:32. There, you are assured that your heavenly Father loves you unconditionally. There was nothing so precious to Him that He would not give it up in order to provide for your salvation. When the Father gave His precious Son to save you, He proved once for all that His love is boundless.
The apostle Paul concluded that if God would not spare His own Son in order to provide for our salvation, how would He not willingly give anything else at His disposal in order to care for us? He sacrificed so much to give us eternal life that we can rest secure in the knowledge that He also wants to give us abundant life (John 10:10).
In light of what God did for us at the cross, should we not approach the throne of grace with confidence? God's response to our prayers is not based upon our worthiness but upon His love and grace. Our confidence in prayer comes not from who we are but from who He is. Nothing we could ask of Him could ever compare with the price He paid for us at the cross.
How wonderful to know that God loves us so much! We can live with confidence and anticipation knowing that almighty God is willing not only to give us eternal life, but also to help us experience it fully! (From Experiencing God Day-By-Day)
As we reflect on the the cross and the celebration of the resurrection last week, let us remember just how much God loves us -- not only to give his Son to take our place and our punishment for our sins, but also with him to "freely give us all things." But to receive them, we must ask, seek, and knock in prayer. We must come humbly and yet boldly in prayer. We must tune our hearts to his heart in prayer. We must lose our will in his will in prayer. We must pursue him early and late and through the night watches in prayer. And know this: He longs to answer!
Easter Sunday Massacre -- Islamist terrorist suicide bombers entered churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 320 and wounding another 500. Of the six initial blasts, three occurred during worship services at St. Anthony's Church in Kochcikade, Colombo, at St. Sebestian's Church in Negombo, and at Zion Church in Batticaloa. A couple of the hotels bombed were serving Easter-themed breakfasts as well. Mimicking an Al Qaeda mission in multiple locations simultaneously to stretch first responders, the attacks were said to be in retaliation for the March 15 killings at the mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, which were carried out by a white supremacist. According to Open Doors USA, the Sri Lanka massacre was the worst attack on Christians in Asia in recent memory.
Fr. Thiru Kumaran, a pastor at Zion Church who survived the attack, told the media that he encountered the suicide bomber carrying a bag at the steps of the church already filled with worshipers. "I asked him who he was and his name. He said he was a Muslim and wanted to visit the church," Kumaran said. But he was ushered away from the encounter by other priests because it was time for Mass. While walking to the podium, Kumaran heard the explosion, turned around, and the floor was littered with dead and wounded and the walls splattered with the blood of his congregants, including that of 14 children from a Sunday School Class. Another survivor, Caroline Mahendran, a Sunday School teacher at the church, said "Today was an Easter Sunday school at the church and we asked the children how many of you willing to die for Christ? Everyone raised their hands." She continued: "Minutes later, they came down to the main service and the blast happened. Half of the children died on the spot."
Investigators and security analysts have said that the terrorist plan carefully targeted Christians in church or who were staying in hotels for the holiday. In fact, Sri Lankan officials had been warned for weeks about the possibility. There were 39 tourists killed in the attack, including at least four American nationals, who among them was a fifth-grade student at a Washington, D.C. private school. Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government is blaming a little known, home-grown Islamic militant group named National Thowfeek Jamaath (NTJ). However, the scope and sophistication of the attack has led some experts to believe there was assistance from an international terrorist group. Not surprisingly, ISIS is taking credit, but that has not been confirmed. What is known is that Mohammed Zahran or Zahran Hashmi, NTJ's purported leader, has been posting videos online dating back for three years that call for all non-Muslims to be "eliminated." Consequently, the whole country is on alert for further attacks and observers are cautioning that churches and synagogues all over the world should take this opportunity to review and implement security measures to protect worshippers. (Sunday School Class; Sri Lankan Govt Blames NTJ; ISIS Claims Responsibility)
- Father, may we "Remember those who are...mistreated, since [we] also are in the body." God, hear the cries of the suffering, especially those who are persecuted for Jesus' sake. Give the families who lost loved ones the comfort and peace that you see, hear, and are working to accomplish. May U.S. leaders help the Sri Lankan authorities to find all the co-conspirators and bring them to justice. As Jesus taught us, we pray even for our enemies who persecute us that your Spirit would convict them of their sin, point them to Christ and his righteousness, and warn them that Judgment Day is coming. (Heb. 13:3; Exod. 3:7-8; Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Tim. 2:1-4; Matt. 5:43-45; John 16:8-11)
End Birth Day Abortion Sunday -- Regular Prayer Target readers know that April 28, is "End Birth Day Abortion" Sunday. In case you missed it, the End Birth Day Abortion campaign is about encouraging Congress to pass legislation, already introduced in the Senate but not yet on the floor of the House, that would protect a baby born alive after a botched abortion and penalize those who refuse to care for the baby or, worse still, terminate the baby. We are encouraging people to call their U.S. Representatives through the Capitol Hill Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Simply request that your representative sign on to the discharge petition for HR 962: Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. We need about 20-25 Democrats to join the Republicans who are already signed on, which would allow a vote on this life-saving bill. Click here to track the signatures on the discharge petition to see if your Representative has signed.
Conservative states are pressing forward with their own legislation. Recently, two state legislatures -- Montana and North Carolina -- passed similar versions of what some call "infanticide" bills. However, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed the bill, calling it pointless legislation that would criminalize healthcare workers "for a practice that simply does not exist." Yet sadly, it does exist. The infamous Kermit Gosnell was convicted for killing babies after birth. In fact, "The killings became so routine," an employee admitted, "that no one could put an exact number on them. They were considered 'standard procedure.'" Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, believes the bill is "more about politicizing women's health than it is about public policy," according to a spokesperson. How could anyone not support legislation that would protect a baby who survived a botched abortion?
Want to send a message to Congress to end this moral insanity? Visit EndBirthDayAbortion.com/church. For a $9 donation, we will send a baby hat to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office and wage a campaign to insist that the killing of born-alive infants needs to stop. There are a number of FREE downloadable resources to help pastors and leaders:
- Undoing the Unthinkable: How to End Birth Day Abortion Bible Study
- Undoing the Unthinkable: How to End Birth Day Abortion Sermon Starter
- End Birth Day Abortion Sermon Starter PowerPoint
- End Birth Day Abortion Bulletin Insert (ESV)
- End Birth Day Abortion Bulletin Insert (KJV)
- End Birth Day Abortion Announcement Slide for use in worship services.
- Loving Father, we thank you for the precious gift of life, the first enumerated God-given right in our Declaration of Independence. Lord, like you opened the mouths of the mute and the ears of the deaf, open the minds of those who refuse to acknowledge the reality that every life is precious and should be welcomed, not callously allowed to die or, even worse, terminated. Add more U.S. Representatives to the growing call to end birth day abortions. Lord, we pray for the advance of a culture of life! (Psalm 139:13-14; 127:3-5; Exod. 20:13; Prov. 24:11-12)
National Day of Prayer Next Thursday! -- We are a week away from the National Day of Prayer (NDP) on Thursday, May 2nd. We trust you are planning on leading and participating in the observance in your community. Click here for an event near you. If there is no planned observance in your immediate area, approach your pastor about holding one at your church or at your county court house or city municipal building. Click here to volunteer for the effort.
NDP has a number of promotional materials on their website to get the word out, including a one-minute video, a PowerPoint announcement slide, a web graphic, etc. Dr. Ronnie Floyd, who also serves as our FRC Board Chairman and now President of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee, continues as President of the NDP Task Force in leading the effort. Again, the theme this year is "Love One Another" from John 13:34. If there was ever a time to lift our hearts and voices in united and public prayer for our nation, it is now. (NDP Event Finder; NDP Promotional Materials)
- Loving Father, we pray that we would become like Jesus and "Love one another as I have loved you." May a watching world see Jesus in your people as we obey this command. Father, we pray for all the preparations for the NDP, for new groups and observances to form, and for literally millions of Americans to join our hearts in seeking your face on behalf of this nation. Father, we also pray for Dr. Ronnie Floyd, for his Spirit-anointed leadership of NDP. May this year's observance be marked with your presence and power to shake America like never before! (John 13:34; Psalm 85:1-7; Joel 2:12-32; Acts 4:31)
Finally, we continue to praise God for the progress of Pierre Bynum, who faithfully produces the Prayer Targets but who is still out on medical leave. Please pray for a complete return of his strength and stamina. Thank you for joining us in praying for America!