Prayer Targets: Wesley Duewel; War on Christmas; Border Wall Funding; Supreme Court
December 12, 2018
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)
Dear Praying Friends,
Dr. Wesley L. Duewel (1916 - 2016), a Free Methodist, served in India for 25 years, was president and chairman of various Mission Societies, a trustee of Asbury College, and was dedicated to world missions for 75 years. His writings and poems on the Holy Spirit, revival, and soul winning call God's people back to prayer, the source of all power for ministry. His 10 books (2.5 million published in 58 languages) are read worldwide (read more). He wrote of Christmas, the Bethlehem inn keeper, and us:
We are all innkeepers, and the inns of our hearts are full of many things. Life is always full. Our family obligation, our daily occupation, our Christian service -- all keep us busy. We are not to be blamed for this. God has no use for a lazy Christian. Our hearts should always be full of care and love for others. Our lives should always be full of kind and helpful deeds. This Christmas, however, there is one question that should search our hearts, and it has searched the hearts of millions over the centuries: Am I giving Jesus His rightful place in my heart? in my life?
Let us give more room to Jesus Himself. Jesus is a personal Savior, Friend, Guide, Helper, and beloved One. He emptied Himself of His glory, position, heavenly associates, comfort -- all to make possible His personal relation with us as the Son of Man.
Why is it that for so few Christians know Jesus is their closest personal friend? Why is it that if people have the choice of talking with a neighbor or a friend, they will usually choose that instead of time in prayer talking with Jesus? Why is it that a woman can talk for two hours with another woman and after fifteen minutes knows nothing further to talk about in prayer with Jesus? Does it not prove that she is not a close friend of Jesus? Why is it that a man will read the newspaper whether he is busy or not, but will often spend less time in actual prayer than with the newspaper? Is it not proof to God that he thinks more of the newspaper than of Christ?
If our lives are so full with work that we lack time to pray, we are too busy. If we enjoy reading books more than the Bible, it proves that we are more hungry for other things than for God. If there is one human being outside our home and not a fellow worker in our daily occupation with whom we spend more time per week in conversation than we spend time in prayer, it suggests that we love them more than Christ, that we are more anxious to please them than Jesus, that we enjoy their presence more than the presence of Jesus.
Our lives are too full. Our hearts are too full. Our time is too full. Our days are too full. We are like the innkeeper with no room for Jesus. Bethlehem's innkeeper was probably a good man; he may have been a true servant of God. He cannot be blamed that his inn was full. Perhaps he can be blamed for not living close enough to God to recognize when his great opportunity came, to recognize when Christ was near.
Simeon and Anna recognized the babe to be the Christ. They were living close enough to God in prayer and devotion for God to whisper the secret to them.
How many spiritual opportunities have you missed because you were not spiritually prepared? How many times have you failed to sense God's presence and will because your heart and life were too full? How many times has Christ been near but your eyes were too blind to see? How many times have angel voices had a message for you, but you were too spiritually deaf or asleep to hear? Are you and I missing God's best this Christmas, like the Bethlehem innkeeper of old?
The Christmas call is a call to you to empty yourself. Your life is too full. Make room for Jesus. It may require complete and humble self-examination on your part. It may require a drastic cutting out of some good things so that you may give Jesus His rightful place. Empty yourself of some of your second-best reading, that you may spend more time reading His Word. Empty yourself of some of your casual but comparatively meaningless social conversation so that you may have closer personal fellowship with Jesus Himself.
More than He wants your praise, more than He wants your gifts, more than He wants your service -- more than all of these put together, Jesus wants you yourself. He wants your love to be a personal love. He wants to hear your voice, He wants to walk and talk with you. He wants you to share with Him your joys and your hopes, your problems and your tears. He wants you to sit at His feet. You are careful and troubled about many things. Jesus wants your personal love, your companionship -- He wants you!
Empty yourself of everything that robs Jesus of His rightful place. Empty your house, empty your plans of second-best things, empty your time, empty your heart. Empty yourself that you may give more place, more love, and more time to Jesus Himself.
The Christmas message is that Jesus emptied Himself for you. He emptied Himself of heaven's fellowship. Cannot you empty yourself of some rather meaningless human fellowship for Him? He emptied Himself of heaven's comfort for you. Can you not empty yourself of some of your leisure for time with Him? Look at Bethlehem's full inn this Christmas. Look at your own full life. Whatever He says to you, do it! (Wesley L. Duewel, Christmas Is for You . . . and the World, 2010)
Duewel summarized the purpose of Christ's coming: to reconcile man unto God. This is our nation's greatest need: for our churches, pastors, and laymen to know Him and to draw close to Him in unbroken prayer and communion. As we prepare for Christmas, may we not only welcome Christ for a season, but rededicate ourselves, our time, and our priorities to Him. He is the answer to our every need as individuals, families, and a nation.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:6-7)
The Prayer Targets will be on hiatus for two weeks, resuming on January 3, the day the new 116th Congress is sworn in. Here are issues to pray over during these final days of the lame duck session and as we look ahead to the New Year.
- War on Christmas Losing Big -- The residents of Kitchener, a German-American community in Ontario, Canada, got a shock during the opening ceremonies of their annual German Christkindl ("Christ Child") Market when, after a choir sang traditional carols and a hymns, a woman stepped forward to read the Christmas story from the German translation from Luke's Gospel and was interrupted when her microphone was cut off and elevator music drowned out her voice. When local Pastor Jacob Reaume began to tell festival-goers about the Christ Child and why He came into the world, his microphone was also cut off. City staff said there could be no Scripture reading during the festival. But a new study by Yougov.com shows that Americans prefer (by a wide margin) to shop in stores that use "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." (See video of Jerry Falwell & Jesse Waters). But atheists have not given up (pray for them). Remember, the war on Christmas is really a war against the Christ of Christmas and religious freedom.
- Border Wall; Partial Government Shutdown -- Yesterday, President Trump, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer met to discuss the Government Funding bill. Part of the discussion was open to reporters, and cameras captured a contentious exchange between the three; reports say the tone continued through the private discussions. President Trump expressed his determination to veto the bill if it does not meet his requested $5 billion to fund the building of the border wall (see Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows on "doing what we said we would do").
- President Trump will choose from between 10 and 12 candidates to replace Gen. John Kelly who has resigned as Chief of Staff.
- Why did the Supreme Court take a pass on hearing the Planned Parenthood funding case? Many believers want to know. The Court will have more chances to vote on substance and not process.
- Reports show South Asian nations are deploying tactics to thwart conversions to Christianity and other minority faiths. Tony Perkins believes that now is our opportunity within a narrow window to free believers around the world to share the gospel (see Snatched Overnight).
- The last contested Congressional race -- North Carolina District 9 -- may require a new election between the same candidates. Pastor Mark Meadows, who defeated the incumbent by 950 votes, has said he would agree to a repeat election.
- Google's CEO was grilled by a Congressional Committee over discrimination against conservative organizations in its prioritization of search results. He was rebuked for using the SPLC as a "Trusted Flagger" (see FRC commentary on the issue). YouTube is also coming under fire.
- FRC previews President Trump's nomination of Heather Nauert as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
- The Ohio Senate committee approved the pro-life "Heartbeat Bill" after activists from both sides energetically lobbied over it. It will go to the full Senate for a vote on Wednesday. The Ohio House has already approved the bill. Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) vetoed the bill in 2016. Advocates hope this time to muster a veto-proof majority in both chambers. Both sides believe that the bill could ultimately pass next Wednesday. Both sides also believe that the bill, which prohibits abortion after a baby's heartbeat can be detected, will eventually go to the Supreme Court.
- A Colorado U.S. District judge ruled that Christian employers cannot be required to pay for health insurance that covers all forms of contraception without a co-pay.
- Petition Urging Government to Uphold 'Scientific Definition of Sex' Gets Support Across Political Spectrum. Read FRC's view.
- Read the FRC blog post on a Virginia teacher who was fired for refusing to call a female student a male. See also 200 parents protest a Colorado school district's sex-ed program that prescribes politically correct views of homosexuality and transgenderism.
- Lord, You know the kind of spiritual warfare that we will face in 2019. Thank You for Dr. Duewel's Christmas prescription. We know that it is the only thing that will enable us to be the spiritual warriors in the coming year. Grant each of those who read and use these Prayer Targets a time of wonderful worship and spiritual rest with their fam ilies during the Christmas-New Year holiday. Oh God, grant us the kind of spiritual renewal and closeness to You that Dr. Duewel speaks of. Bless, Lord, each of these who pray with us from week to week! In Jesus' Name, Amen! (Ps 95:all; 127:2; Is 28:12; Mt 11:28; Eph 6:10-20; Col 1:28-29; Jude 1:3)
And to each of you and your families and churches, thank you for praying!