Prayer Targets: Persecuted Pastor Lin; Unplanned Prevails; Mayor Pete Pontificates
April 10, 2019
"And call on me in the day of trouble and you will glorify me." (Psalm 50:15)
Dear Praying Friends,
On Saturday, April 15, 1775, John Hancock presided over the Second Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, meeting at the church in Concord. The assembly adopted a recommendation declaring a "Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer," which included the following:
"Whereas, it hath pleased the Righteous Sovereign of the universe, in just indignation against the sins of a people long blessed with inestimable privileges, civil and religious, to suffer the plots of wicked men... that we see the New England colonies reduced to the ungrateful alternative of a tame submission... to the will of a despotic minister, or of preparing themselves speedily to defend, at the hazard of life, the unalienable rights of themselves and posterity against the avowed hostilities of their parent state, who openly threaten to wrest them from their hands, by fire and sword;
"In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as men and Christians, to reflect, that whilst every prudent measure should be taken to ward off the impending judgments, or prepare to act a proper part under them when they come; at the same time, all confidence must be withheld from the means we use, and reposed only on that God, who rules in the armies of heaven [Psalm 84:12], and without whose blessing, the best human councils are but foolishness [1 Cor. 3:19], and all created power vanity [Isa. 40:17].
"It is the happiness of his church, that when the powers of earth and hell combine against it [Matt. 16:18], and those who should be nursing fathers become its persecutors, then the throne of grace [Heb. 4:16] is of the easiest access, and its appeal thither is graciously invited by that Father of mercies [2 Cor. 1;3], who has assured it that when his children ask bread he will not give them a stone [Luke 11:11]:
"Therefore, in compliance with the laudable practice of the people of God in all ages, with the humble regard to the steps of Divine Providence towards this oppressed, threatened, and endangered people, and especially in obedience to the command of Heaven, that bids us to call on him in the day of trouble [Psalm 50:15],
"Resolved, That it be, and hereby is, recommended to the good people of this colony, of all denominations, that Thursday, the eleventh day of May next, be set apart as a day of public humiliation, fasting, and prayer..." (William Lincoln, ed., The Journals of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, 1774-1775 (Boston: Dutton & Wentworth, 1838), 144-45.)
This Scripture-based proclamation for a "Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer" was adopted a mere four days before armed conflict broke out at dawn on the green in Lexington, and then later that morning in Concord (April 19), launching America and Great Britain into the War for Independence. So the American Patriots who took up arms had been admonished days earlier to cry out to God for his assistance against government leaders they viewed as "persecutors."
Persecuted Pastor David Lin -- Pastor David Lin, a U.S. citizen, was placed under house arrest and prevented from leaving China while in the process of seeking government approval for his Christian ministry back in 2006. By 2009, Pastor Lin was tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison on false charges of contract fraud. Through it all, Pastor Lin has seen it as his calling to share his faith with inmates from over 30 nations in that prison, telling his family: "Don't worry. God knows what he's doing. It is God's wish that I am here. There are many people inside who need to hear God's word, please don't worry but only pray for me. I will be back in the U.S. soon." Soon never came and late last year Pastor Lin sent his personal Bible back to his family in the U.S. along with all their cards and letters, his source of strength and help for over a decade. Two months later, Pastor Lin urgently asked his family to help get him released. Family members suspect that the 64-year-old Lin is being mistreated, that his life is in grave danger and they are appealing to the U.S. and Chinese governments for help to bring him home.
Before his imprisonment, Pastor Lin was active in Beijing's unsanctioned house church movement. When found out, leaders are subjected to intimidation, harassment, arrest, and harsh sentences from Chinese authorities. Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has intensified its crackdown against independent religious groups and closed down several prominent house churches. FRC President Tony Perkins, also a Commissioner serving on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), alongside fellow Commissioner Kristina Arriaga, just named Pastor David Lin a "Religious Prisoner of Conscience" to give more visibility to his plight.
Until he's free, the most important thing any of us can do is pray. "Pray for his safety," his daughter Alice told Tony's listeners in an exclusive interview on Washington Watch. "Pray that the Lord continues to keep him under His mighty wings. Pray that he can come home soon." Please click on the link and pledge to pray for Pastor Lin and for his family. (Listen to Tony's Washington Watch interview with Pastor Lin's daughter Alice; Pledge to Pray for Pastor Lin; USCIRF Commissioners Adopt American Pastor)
- Father, may we "Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since [we] also are in the body." Lift up Pastor Lin's head and give him hope. Give his family here comfort and peace that you see, hear, and are at work. May U.S. leaders use their influence to demand Pastor Lin's freedom and China's leaders end this injustice and set this captive free, if it be your will. (Eph. 6:18-20; Heb. 13:3; 1 Tim. 2:1-4)
Unplanned Movie Prevails -- Stunning Hollywood by charting at number five at the box office, doubling projections in ticket sales, and earning an A+ CinemaScore, the pro-life movie Unplanned prevailed against a media blackout, an R-rating, and even a suspended Twitter account. The movie follows the true story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who became pro-life after seeing a baby aborted while she performed the ultrasound for the abortionist. Now in its second week, it was still in the top ten and continues to have momentum.
Grateful for the movie's success, Ashley Bratcher, the actress who plays Abby Johnson acknowledged: "The most rewarding thing about this... is the flood of messages I've received from people experiencing healing and a change of heart." The real-life Abby Johnson is also elated: "Some walked in pro-choice and walked out pro-life. Others are finding healing from past abortions. And many are finally seeing for the first time that this is what abortion looks like. I am so encouraged by the success of the film and that people are bringing their friends and family, especially those who are on the fence about abortion. It's my hope that Unplanned will be the catalyst to make abortion unthinkable, not only in this nation, but the entire world."
Little wonder social media giant Twitter mysteriously suspended the Unplanned account. Investor Mike Lindell, founder of My Pillow and who has a cameo in the movie, agreed: "They don't want you to see this movie!" Yet this is one of those rare moments, like New York's celebration of abortion with a standing ovation, like the Virginia Governor's shocking statement about allowing a born baby to die, when the pro-life movement has an excellent opportunity to break through to the hearts and minds of millions of Americans.
Pray for the continued success of Unplanned and go see it. If your local theater isn't showing it, call and ask them to and have your friends do the same. Meanwhile, don't forget to call your U.S. Representative 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. Click here to track the signatures on the discharge petition to see if your Representative has signed. Also, we are planning a special pro-life emphasis on Sunday, April 28. Here are a number of resources to help pastors and leaders (Unplanned; Stays in the Top Ten; Actress Ashley Bratcher's Emotional Testimony; EndBirthDayAbortion.com; EBDA Church Resources for April 28).
- Loving Father, we thank you for this movie that affirms the value and worth of human life as well as the horrors of abortion. Continue to bless the efforts to expand the reach of Unplanned. Open minds to the reality that every life is precious and should be welcomed, not terminated. Heal hearts that have participated in abortion. Add more U.S. Representatives to the growing call to end birth day abortions. Lord, we pray for breakthroughs! (Psalm 139:13-14; Jer. 1:6; Exod. 20:13; Prov. 24:11-12)
Mayor Pete Pontificates -- Pete Buttigeig, the self-identifying "gay" mayor of South Bend, has been making quite a name for himself by attacking the President and his evangelical supporters. On Sunday's edition of "Meet the Press," Buttigieg took a swing at evangelicals who helped propel President Trump to victory in 2016, fuming: "It's something that frustrates me because the hypocrisy is unbelievable..." What Mayor Pete and his tribe don't get is that most evangelicals who support President Trump don't rationalize or excuse his personal failings; rather they endorse the policies of his administration that reflect biblical truth on everything from protecting pre-borns and defending religious liberty to reversing Obama's transgender military policy and nominating conservative judges to the courts. This isn't blind allegiance or phony opportunism. This is reasoned support for a leader who has made and kept his promises -- promises that line up with our values.
But Mayor Pete, an Episcopalian, wasn't done Sunday. At the LGBTQ Victory Fund Brunch in D.C., he called out Vice President Pence as well. "My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man and yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God," he declared. "I can tell you, that if me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade," he added to loud cheers from the audience. "And that's the thing I wish the Mike Pence's of the world could understand, that if you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator."
In an interview with Todd Starnes, Tony Perkins responded that Mayor Pete really didn't have an "issue with the words of Mike Pence... he has an issue with the words of Scripture." Leaving aside the breathtaking biblical blindness the Mayor displayed, the real reason he is unhappy with evangelicals is not because we're "haters" or "hypocrites." It's because we stand in the way of implementing his radical ideology in public policy, like installing the sweeping LGBTQ expansion of the civil rights code through the Equality Act and rolling back President Trump's military transgender policy. Mayor Pete's ultimate goal, like the goal of so many liberals, is to try to embarrass evangelicals into disengaging from politics so that those radical policies can be pursued without our active opposition. But if there's anything evangelicals have learned over the last 10 years, it's that elections have consequences and religious persecution at the hands of the "tolerant" is always just one vote away. (Buttigieg takes a swing at Evangelicals; Meet the Press Interview; LGBT Victory Fund Brunch Remarks; Tony on Todd Starnes)
- Holy God, we pray for this misguided soul who unashamedly calls good "evil" and evil "good." Protect those who hear this "blind guide" from following him into the ditch spiritually and politically. Reveal yourself to him in an unmistakable way to the end that he can no longer worship the god of his imagination but worship you in Spirit and in truth. (Lev. 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:8-10; Isa. 5:20-23; Matt. 15:14; John 4:24)
Finally, continue to pray for Pierre Bynum, who faithfully produces the Prayer Targets and who remains out on medical leave. Thank you for joining us in praying for America!
Kneeling for Faith, Family and Freedom,
Dr. Kenyn M. Cureton
Vice President for Church Ministries
Family Research Council