Prayer Targets: Watchmen Pastors, Intercessors; Forced Anti-Life Speech; Prayer Rhythm for 2018; More
March 21, 2018
I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected. (Habakkuk 2:1)
Dear Praying Friends,
Dr. Henry Blackaby (bio) has helped God-thirsty pastors, churches, and believers around the world. His flagship book, Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (1990), was translated into 45 languages, and has sold over seven million copies. This excerpt is from Experiencing God Day by Day, a devotional written by Henry and his son, Richard Blackaby:
Stand Your Watch! -- The watchman's job was vital. An approaching army left residents of an ancient city precious little time to flee or to prepare for battle. Everyone's life depended on the alert watchman as he peered into the horizon for the earliest glimpse of an approaching threat. It was critical that the people be alerted as soon as possible to what was coming.
As a Christian, God places you as a watchman for yourself your friends, your family, and your church family. It is essential that you be attentive to what God is saying. It may be that a friend is in crisis and needs God's Word... It may be that as your children face difficult challenges, God will speak to you as you pray and reveal how you can help them. If you are spiritually alert, you may receive a warning from God that addresses specific dangers that those around you are facing... If you are oblivious to God's message, those around you may miss the encouraging promise from God that He wanted to share through you. God holds His watchmen accountable for their diligence (Ezek. 33:6). Strive to be attentive to every word that comes to you from God. Your diligence will benefit you and those around you as you heed God's warnings and follow His commands. (Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby, Experiencing God Day by Day)
Speaking on the National Day of Prayer in 2004, Blackaby said:
When God sets watchmen on the walls of a nation, God knows there's impending danger. The enemy is coming. [T]he watchman was assigned to watch carefully, night and day. And whatever they saw they were to announce, so that God's people would know how to respond... God says [in] Isaiah Chapter 62... "I have set watchmen on your walls... O Jerusalem." ... Do you know how to identify the spiritual watchmen that have been set on the walls of America? ...
Do you not already hear the warnings of God? Do you not already hear that the enemy is coming in like a flood? God is trying to raise up a standard against it, and you and I are the standard...
Jerusalem and Judah never heard... and God destroyed them... God said, "I'll send My Son. Surely they will hear Him." ... The Son of God preached to God's people? "Repent..." If the Lord Jesus stood...here tonight... His first word would be to you and to me? "Repent!" ...
He's setting in the midst of our nation spiritual watchmen (pastors, intercessors and other) ... He assigns them. He never asks for volunteers... I believe God is saying to America: "I set before you today life and blessing, death and cursing. If you obey Me ... if you return to Me ... if you take Me seriously ... then you will live. But if you don't, you will die. I believe that God makes no exceptions, plays no favorites. And if you have any sensitivity to what's happening in America today, you would tremble, because God has never allowed a nation who had so much of the blessing of God and turned aside from it so thoroughly - ever to survive... I believe that we're standing on the edge [and] that God's people hold the key to the future... (Blackaby, Lancaster, Pa., May 6, 2004, SermonIndex.net)
God's people hold the key to the future. We are Christ's "salt" and "light." We must constantly re-consecrate our lives, our churches, and our nation to the Lord, and rededicate ourselves in wholehearted submission and obedience to Him. He warns the halfhearted church: "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Rev 3:16). May we rush to repent, press in to God, and plead with him to bring the Revival and Awakening our nation so desperately needs, beginning with ourselves!
Christian Ministries Forced to Promote Abortion -- Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra. Court watchers say that the Court seemed to lean in favor of the pregnancy resource centers (PRCs). The nine Justices will now deliberate and announce their decision in June. The 2015 California law in question requires Christian pro-life PRCs to post signs at the entrance of their facilities, in their waiting rooms, and in all their media and print advertising that promotes free or low-cost abortions from the State of California for all who qualify. The Court must decide whether the government can compel Christian organizations to exercise speech with which they deeply disagree, in this case, to promote abortion as prescribed by the state. The penalty for failing to comply? A $1,000 penalty per day. Can the State of California force the 100 + pro-life PRCs NIFLA represents in California to violate their conscience and disobey God and their deeply held beliefs and religious faith? Can government compel these ministries to sacrifice their constitutional rights to free speech and deny the very purpose for which their ministries were constituted, to help women in crisis and protect innocent human life? Is this still the United States of America?
Mike Farris, President of Alliance Defending Freedom, argued the case based on the Constitution's guarantee of free speech (see 3/16/18 Prayer Alert). Nearly all PRCs are Christian-based and are among the most compassionate, tender, loving ministries on the earth. They care about mothers and their babies. They give, and give, and give. They are one reason more and more people are becoming pro-life despite the efforts of Planned Parenthood, the abortion industry, and radical abortion activists, who have failed to persuade them otherwise.
This is one of two cases this year that deal with the free speech rights of Christians. In the other, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, heard in December, the Court will likely render its decision in June. In that case, custom cake baker Jack Phillips, a devout Christian, declined to create a custom cake for a same-sex wedding, asserting that his cake-making was an expression of his creative faith. (Hear Tony Perkins at yesterday's SCOTUS Rally (transcript); FRC: Give Free Speech Life; How the Hearing Went; Free Speech Strategy; the Stakes; Compelled!; What Government-Compelled Speech Looks like)
- God, hear our cries! How far our nation has departed from you that God-fearing men and women would be forced to promote the murder of unborn babies?! How long, Oh Lord! Intervene we pray! Protect your servants and generations yet unborn. Charge your watchmen to warn our lawless governors and legislators! May they boldly preach and teach respect for human life in their churches and communities. May they never be silent in the face of tyranny. Move upon the consciences of our High Court Justices to uphold the Constitution in both these free speech cases! (Ex 3:9; Ps 6: all; 11:13; 13: all; 80: all; 94:3-15; Ecc 4:1; Is 58:6; Jer 22:3; Hab 1:2-5)
National Day of Prayer, Call2Fall, and 31 Days of Prayer for our Nation -- Dr. Blackaby's message reminds us why days like the National Day of Prayer, Call2Fall, and other public expressions organized to stir us to prayer and repentance are so vitally important. It is up to each of us to do our part to make these efforts become the spiritually vital, sacred assemblies they are intended to be -- events that move people to search their hearts, pray, and nudge our nation back to God. This year, FRC is partnering with the National Day of Prayer and the Awakening America Alliance to help create a "rhythm of prayer," beginning with the National Day of Prayer on May 3rd, Call2Fall on Sunday July 1st, and continuing daily through the month of July with "31 Days of Prayer for Our Nation." Pastors, churches, prayer groups, ministries, individuals, and families are all invited to help create a "Rhythm of Prayer" throughout the year. The NDP Theme for 2018 is "Unity." America has not been so divided, spiritually, morally, racially, and politically than at any time during our lifetimes. Can God unite our nation again?
- Lord, may multiplied thousands of pastors and churches lead their communities to observe the National Day of Prayer, Call2Fall, and 31 Days of Prayer this July. May they seek you wholeheartedly for the unity that can come only through you. Grant us unity in our families, our churches, and our nation. May we become "One Nation Under God" again! (Ps 133; Is 55:5-7; Joel 1:14; 2:12-18; Mt 12:25; Jn 17:23; Acts 17:24-31; Eph 4:1-4, 11-14)
Finally, please add some of these items to your prayer list: 1) Philadelphia has required Christian adoption agencies to place children with LGBT couples, Catholic Social Services declined (more). 2) The ACLU is suing Michigan to stop them from working wit h Christian adoption agencies even though there is a serious foster/adoption shortage, while the Georgia Senate has passed a bill to widen opportunities to adopt foster children. 3) The sports industry's foray into politics is not appreciated by the American people. 4) Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) vows to stop Mike Pompeo's confirmation as Secretary of State. Pompeo would be an advocate for religious liberty. 5) Newly installed Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback is fighting to stop the State Department from sending religious refugees, including Christians, back to Iran, where they will suffer punishment and persecution. Christian refugees from Iran are being barred from the U.S. 6) A new study shows that political views expressed in the pulpit are not negatively impacting church membership. Barna reports that "The Politically Disengaged are Destroying America!" 7) Why did Donald Trump reappoint Chai Feldblum? Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has asked him to withdraw his appointment. 8) Free speech is endangered if Twitter, Facebook and Google continue their censorship. 9) President Trump is calling for a second round of tax cuts. 10) Pray for FRC's Watchmen Pastors Briefings in San Antonio, Texas this Friday and near Charlotte, N.C. on April 11th. Thank you for praying!