Prayer Targets: Pro-Life Training; Born-Alive Shadow Hearing; Patriot Day; More
September 11, 2019
I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live... hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life... (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
Dear Praying Friends,
Scott Klusendorf is President of Life Training Institute which trains Christians and pro-life advocates to persuasively defend their views by clearly presenting the pro-life position. Author of The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture, Scott has lectured or debated in over 80 colleges and universities, and annually trains thousands of Christian high school and college students, in addition to leading training programs for young people at Summit Ministries and Focus on the Family Institute. These are excerpts from a piece he wrote in January 2019:
ABSTRACT: The pro-life movement in America seemed in dire straits in 2016, with losses on almost every front. Donald Trump's surprising win appears to have stalled the abortion juggernaut. An escape, however, is not a triumph. Dunkirk was not Normandy. Abortion is here to stay as long as millions of young Christians are uninformed, unequipped, and unconcerned.
The pro-life movement faced a gathering storm in 2016. In California, pro-life pregnancy centers were forced to advertise abortion services or pay crippling fines. In New York, Catholic nuns were told to fund abortion in their health-care plans or dissolve. Nationally, pro-life doctors were pressured to refer patients for abortion or risk their medical credentials. Politically, the outlook was grim. Abortion activists were one appointment away from commanding the Supreme Court. A conservative justice was dead. The Republican presidential candidate... and his pro-life commitment was unproven. And the candidate sworn to uphold abortion at any stage of pregnancy appeared to be running away with the election.
Then, in God's strange providence, Donald Trump's win stalled the abortion juggernaut. Given a choice between a flawed presidential candidate who might limit abortion and one who affirmed it wholesale, a majority of pro-life advocates voted to limit the evil and promote the good insofar as possible. Political ambition did not drive them to the polls. Survival instinct did. They feared a Clinton presidency would irrevocably crush their efforts to save children.
Pro-lifers received some immediate relief from the new president. He cut off overseas funding for abortion. He created a special office to protect the conscience rights of health-care professionals. Most importantly, he began overhauling the federal courts. Last summer, the Supreme Court tossed the California law that forced pregnancy centers to promote abortion. The decision was 5-to-4. Without Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch, that ruling goes the other way.
All this is good news for the pro-life movement, but an escape is not a triumph. Abortion is here to stay as long as millions of Christians are uninformed and unequipped, as long as those predisposed to accept our view and contend for it never actually experience pro-life teaching. Whatever gains have been made in Washington, we are failing in our churches and Christian schools. And the political cost of that failure is steep. Sustained political victory happens when large coalitions of pro-life voters command the electoral landscape to the extent that we can protect candidates who support us and penalize ones who don't. Christian students are especially vital to building that coalition, but they're not hearing from us. The problem is not messaging. It's access. For many Christian leaders, the thought of pro-life teaching is dead on arrival.
Only Two Percent - Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez presides over a political party dedicated to the proposition that an entire class of human beings can be set aside to be killed. For Perez, the right to abortion is absolute. "Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman's right to make her own choices about her body and her health... That is not negotiable." Perez blames churches for hamstringing his party's messaging on abortion. The Sunday morning pulpit elevates abortion above everything else "and people buy it. Because that's their only source," the DNC chairman laments.
[But] Anyone who thinks Perez is right should visit [the Summit ministries summer conferences where I teach the abortion sessions] to prepare Christian students for the intellectual challenges they will face once they leave the safety of their local churches and step on to the university campus... I ask... "How many of you, prior to coming to Summit, heard a pro-life apologetics presentation in your church aimed at equipping you to defend the pro-life view?" ... Out of an average 1,800 students each summer, an average of 45 had prior exposure to a pro-life apologetics presentation in their local churches... 2.5%.
Klusendorf goes on to document how deeply resistant America's evangelical churches have been to equip their people, especially young people, with the whole truth about abortion, suggesting that many are "functionally pro-choice." He further points out that many churches water down or distort the biblical pro-life message such that it is neutralized. Their disciples are left unable to effectively carry the pro-life message to the world. For the full article, see Scott Klusendorf, "All We Did Was Survive: The State of the Pro-Life Movement under President Trump," DesiringGod.org, 1/20/2019.
Young Adults Dropping out of Church -- The number of young adults dropping out of church has been of concern to church leaders for many years. New Barna.com research shows that the trend is continuing. In "Faith for Exiles," Barna Group President David Kinnamanand coauthor Mark Matlock say the church dropout rate for young adults has increased from 59 percent in 2011 to 64 percent in 2019. But there is light in their findings: one in ten church young people, whom they call "resilient disciples," have made a serious commitment to Jesus Christ. These young people are running counter to the current dropout trend. Both groups need our prayers.
- God, stir your people to take hold of you and to get serious about discipling our young people. Stir young people, too, to take hold of your word and make it their own! Bring back the prodigal and pour out grace and blessing upon the faithful!
Shadow Hearing: Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act -- The Democrat House leadership has refused to bring the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to the floor for debate and a vote over 80 times, seemingly determined to make denying mandatory medical care for children born alive after a botched abortion (which is essentially infanticide) the status quo. A discharge petition, filed by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) requires a majority of congressional signers to require a vote -- they are 18 short. Rep. Scalise live-streamed the event on his Republican Whip website and the video recording is now posted for viewing. Many other resources are posted on the page (see Perkins: a Hearing Problem; FRC Applauds Hearing).
- Grant ultimate victory to those who are pressing for life. May abortion be a major issue in the 2020 election and may the 70 percent who oppose birthday abortion get out and vote! (Ex 15:1;21; Rev 12:11)
The California AG is seeking a gag order against pro-life journalist David Daleiden in an unusual effort to prevent the press from reporting on a preliminary criminal hearing over what appear to be trumped-up charges in retribution for Daleiden's explosive expose of Planned Parenthood's aborted baby parts racket. California is radically pro-abortion. But how far they will go to suppress the truth about abortion and Planned Parenthood has yet to be seen (see LifeSiteNews.com). BREAKING: As the Targets were going to press, news came that the judge denied the California AG his request! Praise God!
- God, please deliver Daleiden from the jaws of those driven by the abortion agenda and industry! (Ex 34:7; Pr 24:10-12; Jer 22:3)
California Colleges Provide Free Abortion Pill -- The California Assembly is seeking to provide free abortion pills to all California college students at no cost, and to print the number to call on student ID cards. California Governor Gavin Newsome's financial officer is publicly opposing the idea, not because it is wrong, but because it will cost so much (see Finance Officer Opposes Bill; The Pill is Dangerous).
- May parents, donors, and taxpayers rise up to demand this measure be defeated, in Jesus name! (Ps 94:21; Is 51:4; Amos 5:24; Jn 14:13)
Another Government Shutdown? Democrats and Republicans shook hands two years ago, agreeing not to attach certain riders to the federal funding bills that would make passage almost impossible. Yet the Democrats have done just that with a measure rescinding the HHS rule against federal funding for abortion providers, nixing border wall funding, and more. According to experts, the Senate intends to hold the line and not to compromise pro-life appropriations measures (see Senate spending talks go off the rails as soon as they begin).
- May both sides embrace honor and keep their promise to one another. Help our Senators to stand strong! (Dt 7:9; 16:18; Pr 17:18)
Today is Patriot Day! Today is the anniversary of 9/11/2001, the day nearly 3,000 Americans were killed by radical Islamist terrorists in an air assault on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington just outside Washington, D.C. There was a marked increase in churchgoing for a brief time and an increase in patriotism, but both have waned over the last 18 years. The Awakening America Alliance organized Cry Out America, urging believers to repent and seek God's face. But too many young Americans seem to have forgotten what happened 18 years ago. President Trump proclaimed 9/11/2019 a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance to honor 9/11 victims. (See Strategically Confused; Tony Perkins: "Will our children be Patriots if we continue what we are doing now?")
- Lord, cleanse us of sin and unbelief that allows your hand of protection to be lifted and judgment to fall. Grant us a return to you which will bring your gracious care and oversight to every threat against us. May we honor the dead and especially those who died to protect us! (1 John 1:9)
Hurricane Dorian -- Americans are breathing a sigh of relief because their homes and communities were spared. But the Bahamas are devastated. The official count is 44 dead, but rescue crews and relief workers cannot get under the miles and miles of leveled homes and other debris to recover those alive and recover bodies of the dead. Experts say parts of the islands can never be rebuilt and the thousands of desperate Bahamians are seeking refuge in the U.S., even as our immigration resources are overloaded (see Fox News; Tony Perkins: War Zone).
- Grant that generous Americans will provide our dedicated relief agencies like Samaritans Purse and others with more than enough money and volunteers to wonderfully help. Help America to arise from our division and demonstrate the love needed to help the needy and to bring healing and restoration. (Ps 82:3; Is 41:17; 58:6-14)