Prayer Targets: John Eldredge; Parental Rights; Pastors Stand; Bold Advance; Score Card; Billy Graham
February 21, 2018
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love... fervent in spirit; serving the Lord... continuing instant in prayer... (Romans 12:10-12)
Dear Praying Friends,
John Eldredge, Christian counselor and lecturer, authored the best-selling Wild at Heart and other books. He studied theater, graduated from California Polytechnic University, earned an MA in biblical counseling at Colorado Christian University under Drs. Larry Crabb and Dan Allender, served five years on staff at a local church, and in 1988, he joined Focus on the Family as Senior Fellow for Christian Worldview. In 2000, he launched Ransomed Heart Ministries in Colorado Springs. This brief excerpt is from his book, Moving Mountains:
PRAY NOW! I've come to the place where I have had to stop telling people, "I'll pray for you."
I simply know that despite my good intentions -- and these promises are almost always spoken with good intent -- I know that nine times out of ten I just don't remember to follow through. Not until maybe a week or two later, and then I feel guilty that I forgot. I don't like promising something I probably won't live up to. You know how these stories go: Someone you care about tells you of their pain, need, or struggle, and you respond with, "Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that; I'll pray for you." But then, most of the time, we never do. If all the prayers that were promised were prayed, this would be a different world by now.
So instead of promising future prayer, what I try to do nowadays is stop, right there in the moment, and pray. Right then and there. It's funny how many Christians this throws off guard. "You mean, right now?" "Yes -- absolutely. Let's pray." In the restaurant, in the car, on the plane, wherever. If it's a text or e-mail request, I'll start praying as I type my response, typing out a prayer for them right then and there. Not only does it help me follow through, but it helps them to agree right along with what I have prayed, and agreement is mighty powerful, as we know.
I'm thinking of St. Patrick, how he would pray through the course of the day as he worked: "Tending flocks was my daily work, and I would pray constantly through the daylight hours. The love of God and the fear of him surrounded me more and more -- and faith grew and the spirit was roused, so that in one day I would say as many as a hundred prayers and after dark nearly as many again."
He simply did it right there, in the moment. For the truth is, there is no "later." Now is the time to pray, for now is all we really have.
"Jesus, come into this -- we invite you into this" is a great place to start. Whatever the need -- guidance, direction, encouragement, healing, protection; the cancelled flight, the report from the doctor, the tension in relationship -- this is the place to start. Invite Jesus right into the heart of it all, right there, in the moment. "Jesus, come into this -- we invite you into this."
We do this often in our meetings at Ransomed Heart. Someone will say, "I think we ought to pray about such-and-such," and I'll reply, "Go for it. Lead us. Right now," and we'll stop what we are doing and pray. Because if we don't, we rarely get back around to it. I don't know how many Christian meetings I've been in -- board meetings, elder meetings -- when all the time is used talking about what needs prayer, and we find we have barely a few minutes left at the end for one quick, little, rushed prayer. It's a brilliant ploy of the enemy -- keep God's people talking about it, debating, conjecturing, worrying over it, speculating, so they never really get around to praying.
By all means, pray when you have time and space to devote yourself to it, time to truly seek God. But pray now too -- because you don't know that you will get to it later. (John Eldredge, Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority, pp. 122-124)
"Let your yes be yes and your no, no..." (Mt 5:37; Jas 5:12). Our prayers, not our promises to pray, are stored in vials, presented to the Lord, and bring "voices, thunderings, lightnings, and earthquakes" on earth in God's proper time (Rev 5:8; 8:3-5). Better not to promise than to promise and not deliver (Matt. 21:28-32). Promises kept and genuine prayer will turn the tide in our nation!
Parental Rights? Religious Liberty? Safety for Sexually Confused Children? -- The letter I sent you from a distraught mom whose daughter was taken from her and mutilated by authorities in two states while helping her "become a boy" made readers sick in soul. But such stories are multiplying and may soon be commonplace. Sylvia Hendon, a visiting Hamilton County, Ohio juvenile court judge, took a 17-year-old from her parents' care and gave permanent custody to her grandparents because, the prosecutor says, they "accept their grandson for who he is."
In 2016, the parents took their daughter to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center to obtain treatment for anxiety and depression. Instead, doctors diagnosed her with "gender dysphoria." After she told doctors that she was forced to listen to Bible verses and felt unsafe at home, the hospital refused to return her to her parents. Hamilton County Job and Family Services placed her in the temporary custody of her maternal grandparents.
Her parents had rejected the "gender dysphoria" diagnosis and opposed hormone therapy. But Judge Hendon ruled that she could receive male hormone therapy after an unaffiliated psychologist confirmed "consistency in the child's gender presentation and feelings of nonconformity." She said she was concerned that the director of the hospital's Transgender Health Clinic had said 100 percent of patients "who present for care are considered to be appropriate candidates for continued gender treatment."
Judge Hendon said it was unfortunate the case had to be resolved in the courts. Further, she argued that "The family would have been best served if this could have been settled within the family after all parties had ample exposure to the reality of the fact that the child truly may be gender nonconforming and has a legitimate right to pursue life with a different gender identity than the one assigned at birth." She also called upon state lawmakers to craft legislation that would give the juvenile courts a framework to evaluate a juvenile's right to consent to gender therapy. She went on to say that a case like this one will come up again and that "legislation would give a voice and a pathway to youth similarly situated ... without attributing fault to the parents and involving them in protracted litigation which can and does destroy the family unit."
Judge Hendon is right -- taking children who are confused about their sexuality because they are introduced to this confusion in school and elsewhere and stripping parents of their God-given parental rights and authority will destroy families -- whether done under the pretense of medical treatment, psychology, or by the raw authority of educators, county agents, or judges. Yet she is wrong to say that the re-education of parents is the answer. More and more children will become confused as they learn about transgenderism in school as young as kindergarten, and as more and more schools, municipalities, and businesses adopt bathroom, locker-room, and shower facilities to accommodate individuals who identify as transgender. More and more moms and dads will find themselves in deep distress, family units will be destroyed, and children who find a way to get transition surgery will be increasingly likely to suffer from severe psychiatric issues. (Court: Accept Your Child's New Gender or Lose Custody; Ryan T. Anderson: What You Need to Know; Hear Tony Perkins with Aaron Baer, President of Citizens for Community Values -- begin at minute 27:27)
- Lord, may your pastors and people humble themselves and pray. May they arise, take a stand, and speak out publicly. May they use every right, procedure, and legal tool they as citizens under the Constitution and laws of our Republic can use to safeguard our children's and grandchildren's spiritual, moral, and physical lives and to preserve our parental rights to do so. Help, O Lord! May your people awaken, cry aloud, and stir fellow citizens from slumber to action, while there is still time! (Gen 18:19; Ex 23:29-30; Dt 6:6-7; Josh 1:5-9; Is 58:1; 61: all; Jer 23:3-4; Eze 3:17; 33:6-7; Jn 10:11; Eph 6:10-20; Heb 4:16; Jude 7)
Pastors Are Taking a Stand in Michigan -- Thousands of LGBT activists assaulted Pastor Jeremy Schossau and his Metro City Church in Riverview, Michigan (near Detroit), using social media, onsite protests, and even death threats to frighten him. Why? He simply offered biblical help to parents and their teenaged girls struggling with same-sex attractions or gender confusion. Parents and church leaders had received reports from youngsters that they faced confusion due to pressures in school from misguided peers and adult authorities. FRC National Field Director Randy Wilson rushed to Detroit to facilitate a press conference and to muster pastors to stand with Pastor Schossau, show their support, and address the press. Together they appealed to state legislators to rethink their call for an investigation into the church or to introduce any kind legislation that would violate the church's religious liberties and constitutional protections from government intrusion into their teaching and ministry. Police did arrest one of the persons who issued a death threat to the church. (Man Charged for Death Threat; see Schossau, Fellow-Pastors and FRC Address the Press; Bill Would Dictate Church Teaching; View Video & Sign Petition)
- May God call pastors to their vital role in preventing the personal damage, cultural decay, and societal destruction that the godless are plotting, propagandizing, and warring to produce. May churches emerge from the sidelines to win the lost, to resist the sexual anarchy and confusion, to speak truth to those in power who are aiding and abetting, and to unite in calling upon God to pull America from the brink or moral and spiritual annihilation. (Neh 8:1-3; Ps 37:11-13; Is 6:8;
66:7-9; Eze 3:17; Acts 2:40-47; 4:18-20)
FRC's Bold Advance -- Key leaders from Family Research Council (FRC) and FRC Action, including Tony Perkins, former Ambassador Ken Blackwell, Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (USA, Ret.), former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and others are on a blitz tour through five states for strategic meetings with influential pastors, Christian businesspeople, and community leaders to win their support for efforts by FRC, FRC Action, and FRC's Church Ministries division, Watchmen on the Wall, to impact our nation for righteousness this election year.
- Father, may the Bold Advance radically bolster FRC's ministry to churches. May FRC be enabled to support more pastors as they stand in the public square, providing spiritual leadership and a moral voice only they can provide. Grant the resources we will need to stand with pastors as they face extraordinary challenges amid in an increasingly hostile culture. Help us to connect, engage, and enroll tens of thousands more Watchmen Pastors this year, and may many launch local Culture Impact Teams that will multiply their churches and minister the Gospel in such a way as to help turn our culture back to Christ! (Eze 3; 33; 1 Chr 12:22-23; Pr 28:1; Mt 5:13-17; 7:7-8; 2 Tim 2:20-26;3:1-4:4)
Finally, 1) Take time to watch a brief video recap of FRC Action's True Blue Awards, and pray over these courageous men and women in the U.S. House and Senate who scored 100% on FRC Action's Congressional Scorecard; 2) Pray over the sad news that evangelist Billy Graham passed away this morning at his home. May God guide our nation as we mourn the passing of this great man who led millions to Christ in America and around the world and impacted all our lives. Look for a Special Edition of the Prayer Targets focusing on Billy Graham's life and legacy. Thank you for praying!