Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand…
to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron… this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD. Ps 149:6-8
Dear Praying Friends,
Dr. Henry Blackaby showed us the importance of corporate unity as a precondition for powerfully answered prayer. Derek Prince affirmed this, especially regarding spiritual warfare. Rev. E.M. Bounds adds yet another dimension by tying united prayer to church discipline:
“Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:18-20). This represents the Church in prayer to enforce discipline in order that its members who have been overtaken by faults, may yield readily to the disciplinary process. In addition, it is the Church called together in a concert of prayer in order to repair the waste and friction ensuing upon the cutting off of a Church offender. This last direction as to a concert of prayer is that the whole matter may be referred to Almighty God for His approval and ratification.
All this means that the main, the concluding and the all powerful agency in the Church is prayer, whether it be, as we have seen in Matthew 9, to thrust out laborers into God’s earthly harvest fields, or to exclude from the Church a violator of unity, law and order, who will neither listen to his brethren nor repent and confess his fault. It means that Church discipline, now a lost art in the modern Church, must go hand in hand with prayer, and that the Church which has no disposition to separate wrong doers from the Church, and which has no excommunication spirit for incorrigible offenders against law and order, will have no communication with God. Church purity must precede the Church’s prayers. The unity of discipline in the Church precedes the unity of prayers by the Church. Let it be noted with emphasis that a Church which is careless of discipline will be careless in praying. A Church which tolerates evil doers in its communion, will cease to pray, will cease to pray with agreement, and will cease to be a Church gathered together in prayer in Christ’s name (E.M. Bounds, The Essentials of Prayer, Ch.11, “Concerted Prayer”).
Elders must practice humble, wise, diligent, and loving care in exercising church discipline. We cannot allow people who persist in unrepentant sin to run freely among God’s people like wolves among sheep. Otherwise, their unrelenting immoralities and abuses will infect or otherwise harm the whole body. Similarly, Christian citizens ought to pray for our civil leaders and not recklessly judge them. Those who govern faithfully we should support and give thanks to God for them. While we pray for the salvation of the unfaithful, cruel, wicked, dishonest, we should also hold them to account through the law and seek God for His correction and justice in their lives (Mt 7:15-20; 1 Cor 6:2-3). In our free land, we ought always to work and pray for godly men to be elected and appointed to positions of trust (Ex 18:21).
Samantha Power Confirmation Vote - The U.S. Senate is expected to vote sometime today on the confirmation of Samantha Power, the President’s nominee for Ambassador to the United Nations. Power is a radical ideologue who believes the U.S and Israel are both guilty of war crimes and human rights abuse. In 2002, she advocated giving billions to the Palestinians to build a “mammoth” military force to shield it from Israel. She has been critical of American Jewish supporters of Israel. Some fear that, once confirmed, Power may not properly defend Israel nor work aggressively to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons that threaten both Israel and America. They expect she will pursue her apology strategy even more, rather than defend the U.S. Moreover, Power, some believe, advocates increased U.N. Power and diminished U.S. autonomy. The Hill wrote: “In order to gain the support of the [Senate Foreign Relations] committee… [Power] disavowed her previous criticism of U.S. foreign policy, ignored President Obama’s own disastrous human rights record and, in the process, undermined her credibility on issues of human rights” (see The Hill; Too Radical, Rubberstamp).
- May God intervene to prevent Samantha Power from being confirmed to this important office! If not, may He raise up intercessors who will be used of the Lord to restrain her from acting and voting as her past behavior predicts she will. May Congress stand up to support Israel in actions like this, where they count! (Gen 12:1-3; 17:8; 48:4; Eze 17:21; Joel 3:2; Zech 2:8; 12:3).
Anti-Christian Discrimination Likely to Accelerate after Pro-Gay Ruling – The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the purpose of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was to “disparage and to injure” homosexuals in the states where same-sex “marriage” has not been legalized. It remains to be seen how the court’s animus toward the authors of DOMA will play out in the law and culture. With this marker set by the Supreme Court, it seems Bible-believing Christians who hold to a biblical view of marriage and human sexuality – unless God intervenes – have been set up for an endless stream of discrimination charges by liberal leaning groups and government jurisdictions. Tony Perkins told CBN News, “There’s absolutely a growing threat under this administration and under this court… I think what Justice Kennedy did in his opinion was basically assign a false motive to those who are opposed to the redefinition of natural marriage, acting as if they were a threat to people, therefore declaring open season… And I think you will see open hostility, increasing open hostility,” he predicted. “I mean, we’ve seen very recent gay pride events where there were Christians beaten because they took a stand for biblical morality (see CBN News video and feature: OPEN SEASON ON CHRISTIANS, DOMA Decision, Preachers Beaten).
- Pray God will use the increasing assaults upon Christians’ liberties to wake up the Church, motivate pastors to speak out, and to train their people to be prayer warriors and culture changers on a scale as never before. May God give His people courage and boldness to stand against every unconstitutional violation of their liberties! (Mt 5:10-16; 28:19-20; Rom 13:11-12; Eph 5:14 ff; Phil 1:7; 2 Tim 4:1-4; 1 Pet 3:15; Rev 12:11).
American Pastor Still in Iranian Prison – Franklin Graham reports that Saeed Abedini’s wife feels abandoned by the U.S. government one year after her husband, an American citizen, was incarcerated in Iran for sharing his faith in Christ (see Graham, Story).
- May God stir American believers to pray and to press our own government to act on Pastor Abedini’s behalf before it is too late! And may Iran’s judicial system free Abedini and deliver him home safe and sound. May God move our President and State Department to respond to the plight of other persecuted Christians around the world (Mt 4:11; 25:34-36; Mk 1:13; Heb 10:34; 11:36; 13:3; Rev 2:10).
Finally, we need to continue to pray over the Obama administration. I don’t believe anybody believes these are “phony” scandals (Benghazi, IRS, Justice Department, NSA). If America allows these matters that involve the fundamental integrity and veracity of our government to be swept under the rug, “We The People” have already lost our liberties. Please pray, too, for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; already passed by the House. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has promised to introduce it in the Senate. Pray that more co-sponsors will come forward. Thank you for praying!