President to Pastors: Pray for Strength


President to Pastors: Pray for Strength

March 23, 2020

There's hardly a busier, more burdened man in America right now than President Trump. And yet on Friday, when he heard that Vice President Mike Pence was about to jump on an FRC conference call with 700 pastors, he asked if he could join. Hearing his voice was a surprise, even to me -- but hearing his earnest desire to stand with the faith leaders of America in crisis certainly wasn't.

"When I told the president I was going to be speaking to all of you," Mike explained, "[he was] in the midst of an extraordinarily busy day. [But] he looked at me and said, 'I have to find time. I need to find time.'" To the president, he went on, "the prayers of the people on this call mean [everything] to him..." So despite everything facing America, the two most important leaders of this nation stopped everything to pray with the people on the ground, who are ministering to their communities.

It's a "wild world," the president started. The virus, he said, "came upon us so suddenly. And we were doing better than we've ever done before as a country in terms of the economy -- and then, all of the sudden, we got hit with this. So we had to close it down," he said wistfully. "We're actually paying a big price to close it down. Never happened before." But, President Trump insisted, "I think we're going to come back stronger than ever before."

Turning to the pastors -- the hundreds on the call and the 15,000 who heard it later on -- the president said sincerely, "I want to thank you for praying for our country and for those who are sick. You do such an incredible job. You're very inspirational people. And I'm with you all the way. You know that you see what we've done for right to life and all of the things that we've been working so hard together. I've been working with many of the people on the call. Many, many of the people. We've had tremendous support. But we are going to get over this."

Before the president left the call, I asked him what he'd most like people to be praying for. "The health of the country," he replied, "the strength of our country. We were doing something amazing, and then one day, it just ended. So that would be it." And, he added, that Americans would "make the right choice on November 3rd..." After I finished praying over the president, he said, "You know, you mentioned the word 'stamina.' We do need stamina. So thank you very much."

When the vice president took over, he wanted everyone to know, "The president and I couldn't be more inspired by the way communities of faith have been stepping up." He talked about the congregations keeping their food banks going and finding creative ways to work within the CDC guidelines. He mentioned churches offering child care to the health care workers on the front lines, combatting the virus. But most of all, he talked about how grateful he was to be a part of an administration that values its partnership with the congregations of America.

"You know, the president has said many times that we are going to we're going to bring the full resources of our of our federal government to bear on this. But by all of you being here today, and by the energies and ministries that you have [used to response] to the coronavirus in your communities, you're really putting hands and feet on your faith. And you are demonstrating what the president today called 'the greatness of American character' ...And we want to urge you on. We want a full partnership with you in sharing best practices again."

Continue to pray, Mike urged, for the experts counseling this president from every branch of government. Remember state and local officials, too, and people who are struggling and experiencing loss. We are so fortunate, Secretary Ben Carson echoed on that same call, that this happened during a time of economic growth and blessing. "God is merciful," Dr. Carson reminded us. "And we will get through this." Maybe, he said, this is an opportunity for the Lord to show His power in a way that will "help us return to Him." In the meantime, he assured, "God still has His hand on this nation. And He has His hand on all of us."

For more ways your church can get involved, bookmark this link: FRC.org/church. We'll be updating it daily with resources, information, and other ideas for pastors engaged in this crisis!


Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Seeking God the World Over...

March 23, 2020

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) is used to conducting business from his office -- not Sunday devotions. But over the past weekend, he decided -- America could use a little more of both.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed," the governor read from 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. The prayer service, which Reeves announced on his Facebook page, was his way of connecting to an anxious community. "We all need some fellowship and God's grace in this time," he urged.

During his impromptu Bible study, Governor Reeves encouraged people to help their neighbors as much as they can and then led the state in prayer for Mississippi and President Trump's leadership team "as they deal with this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic across the globe." Before closing, he shared John 3:16 and reminded everyone, "You'll notice it doesn't speak to Baptists or Methodists or Pentecostals or Catholics or any other denomination," he said. "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

In other places across the country, Sunday usual ministry was replaced by something a lot more personal. Pastor Hernan Castaño, one of the "Houston Five" and founder of Iglesias Rios De Aceite, spent seven hours praying for carloads of families in his church parking lot -- one right after another. He prayed with them, laid hands on their windshields, and tried to be an encouragement.

Others, like Danville, Kentucky's Bryan Montgomery, was one of the pastors inspired by FRC's conference call with the president, vice president, and Secretary Ben Carson to start thinking creatively about what his congregation could do to reach out to the local community. "Our country is at its best when we are serving others," he told a local reporter. "The church is going to have to adapt," he agreed, but as much struggle as it may be, all of that hard work will eventually pay off. Pastors are going to thrive as they serve their cities during this crisis," he insisted.

And it's not just American leaders calling their nation to prayer. Leaders around the world have watched the United States' response -- and our president's open calls for prayer -- and urged their own people to turn to God. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, seeing Trump's proclamation on March 15, followed up with one of his own a week later. "Dear fellow citizens, I invite you to make this day a fast, a day of prayer. Let us unite regardless of our creed this Saturday before Sunday, the day of God. Let us unite Guatemalans in fasting and prayer and make our requests that God bless Guatemala."

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele admitted that not everyone in his cabinet may believe but asked the rest to bow their heads and join him in prayer. Governor of Mis, Mario Abdo Benítez of Paraguay, and former Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales made similar pleas. Costa Rico's Alvarado pointed to the other presidents asking for God's wisdom and insisted that his country should never be "ashamed to say our trust is in God."

In the darkness of crisis, people are looking for the light. It's our great privilege to be a part of a nation -- and under an administration -- shining it for the whole world to see.


Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Libs Fight to Shelter Abortion in Places

March 23, 2020

As hard as it is to find things to be positive about right now, there is one thing Americans can celebrate: fewer abortions. In states like Texas, where all "non-essential medical procedures" have been postponed, unborn babies may be the safest population in the country. At least for now.

Of course, not everyone in the abortion business is giving up those profits willfully. In Ohio, two Planned Parenthood clinics -- one in Cincinnati and another in Dayton -- have outright defied the state's order to put elective abortions on hold. "It's an essential health service," the National Abortion Federation argued on the two locations' behalf. But Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost couldn't disagree more.

In a stern letter to the Women's Medical Center in Dayton and the Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, Yost left little doubt where he and Governor Mike DeWine (R) stand on the matter, ordering them to halt their procedures now. "You and your facility are ordered to immediately stop performing non-essential and elective surgical abortions. Non-essential surgical abortions are those that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient." If they do not comply, he warned, "the Department of Health will take all appropriate measures."

Of the six clinics in Ohio that perform abortions, five -- according to Breitbart -- have pushed back, arguing that they are "essential businesses" who should be allowed to stay open. But it's not "staying open" that Yost has a problem with. Groups like Planned Parenthood are welcome to provide other services, like health screenings, the attorney general pointed out. But, as most of us know from looking at the organization's annual report, Planned Parenthood isn't interested in real health care. They're only interested in making money -- which they do, almost exclusively, through abortion.

Bethany McCorkle, a spokesperson for Yost, said the order applied to every clinic -- not just abortion providers. Just this weekend, the attorney general wrote a similar letter to a urology practice in Cincinnati, asking them to stop violating the order and jeopardizing the health of Ohioans by potentially diverting critical resources.

Unfortunately, this is just one of the many examples of hard-core liberals trying to exploit the coronavirus to advance abortion. Americans watched House Democrats do it when they tried to slip taxpayer-funded abortion into the relief bill. They saw extremists lobby the FDA to lift the requirements for chemical abortion -- and researchers argue for fetal tissue to develop a vaccine. Now, they want the country to keep their killing centers open as "essential businesses" so their bottom line doesn't suffer.

At this point, Americans should be focused on saving lives -- not taking them. We applaud Governor DeWine, Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas), and other leaders fighting to keep the coronavirus from claiming more victims -- born and unborn.


Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.



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