The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. Psalm 147:11
Dear Praying Friends,
At his Inauguration on January 20, 1981, President Ronald Reagan expressed hope that America would yet again be “the exemplar of freedom and a beacon of hope for those who do not now have freedom.” In his December 23rd Christmas greeting to the nation, Reagan sent a stern warning to the Communist regime in Poland regarding its harsh suppression of the freedom movement there. He said:
At this special time of year, we all renew our sense of wonder in recalling the story of the first Christmas in Bethlehem, nearly 2,000 years ago. Some celebrate Christmas as the birthday of a great and good philosopher and teacher. Others of us believe in the Divinity of the child born in Bethlehem; that he was and is the promised Prince of Peace… Tonight, in millions of American homes, the glow of the Christmas tree is a reflection of the love Jesus taught us. Like the shepherds and wise men of that first Christmas, we Americans have always tried to follow a higher light, a star… At lonely campfire vigils along the frontier, in the darkest days of the Great Depression, through war and peace, the twin beacons of faith and freedom have brightened the American sky. At times our footsteps may have faltered, but trusting in God’s help, we’ve never lost our way… Like the National Christmas Tree, our country is a living, growing thing planted in rich American soil. Only our devoted care can bring it to full flower. So, let this holiday season be for us a time of rededication.
As we rejoice… let us remember that for some Americans, this will not be as happy a Christmas … I know a little of what they feel… one Christmas Eve during the Great Depression, my father opened what he thought was a Christmas greeting. It was a notice that he no longer had a job…
John Kennedy tried to sum up the temper of the times with a quote from an author closely tied to Christmas, Charles Dickens. We were living, he said, “in the best of times and the worst of times.” Well, in some ways that’s even more true today. The world is full of peril, as well as promise. Too many of its people, even now, live in the shadow of want and tyranny.
For a thousand years, Christmas has been celebrated in Poland, a land of deep religious faith, but this Christmas brings little joy to the courageous Polish people. They have been betrayed by their own government. The men who rule them and their totalitarian allies… have answered the stirrings of liberty with brute force, killings, mass arrests, and the setting up of concentration camps. Lech Walesa and other Solidarity leaders are imprisoned, their fate unknown… I want emphatically to state tonight that if the outrages in Poland do not cease, we cannot and will not conduct “business as usual” with the perpetrators and those who aid and abet them… I do not make this statement lightly or without serious reflection… We have not acted in haste, and the steps I will outline tonight and others we may take in the days ahead are firm, just, and reasonable [Reagan then announced specific and immediate suspension of the Polish government’s U.S. diplomatic privileges and new U.S. economic and trade sanctions. He blamed Soviet pressures for the developments in Poland and warned that political and economic measures would be taken against the Soviet Union if they continued]…
Christmas means so much because of one special child. But Christmas also reminds us that all children are special, that they are gifts from God… beyond price; that mean more than any presents money can buy. In their love and laughter, in our hopes for their future lies the true meaning of Christmas… As Charles Dickens… said so well in “A Christmas Carol,” “God bless us, every one” (The American Presidency Project Text, Video).
This Christmas, may we pray that America will wholeheartedly honor Christ, and be “the exemplar of freedom and a beacon of hope for those who do not now have freedom!”
The enemies of liberty do not rest at Christmas time. While we enjoy all the blessings of worship, family, friends, and hopefully some rest, may we keep vigil over our nation. As Reagan reminded us, “Only our devoted care can bring it to full flower… let this holiday season be for us a time of rededication.”
This will be the last issue of the Prayer Team Targets for 2013. We will resume in January 2014! Thank you for praying with us! Here is some grist for prayer over the holidays:
Israel, Iran, & the U.S. – May God superimpose His will upon the Obama/Kerry negotiations with Iran and other world powers. May God’s will prevail and U.S. policy returned to true fidelity to our closest ally in the Middle East: Israel (See Hard Truth, Wishful Thinking, Perkins: Who will Direct Compliance?, Holy Stand in the Holy Land).
Obamacare Catastrophe - May God guide the elected Representatives of a growing majority of Americans who oppose Obamacare to stop this epochal disaster (see Junk Stats; Employer Rate Hikes; Backdated Blunders; Insurers Ordered to Ease Rules; Cost of your Child’s Braces).
Religious Liberty in the Military – The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has passed the House and faces a vote in the Senate tomorrow or Friday. Both versions contain language highlighting the rights of servicemen to practice their faith. This will help correct acts by leaders in the DOD and Military to restrain Christian expression, and even declare Christians a threat to National Security (see Clear & Present Danger, Troops, Treasure, Trouble).
Polygamy Ban “Unconstitutional” - May the Dec. 13th Federal District Judge’s ruling to strike down Utah’s ban on polygamy be overturned. Scalia, Santorum, and FRC warned that this was next (see Overturned, I now pronounce you man and wives; More Consequences: ND AG says Man in Same-Sex Marriage may Marry Woman, too; Perkins on CNN).
Mt. Soledad Cross – May the Dec. 12th U.S. District Court order to remove the Cross at the Veterans Memorial in San Diego, under legal assault for 24 years, be reversed on appeal. If not, may the case be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court (see Christian Cross to be Purged).
HHS Mandate – May the legal doctrine in the successful NY Archdiocese ruling against the Mandate be applied to all religious employer cases. May the U.S. Supreme Court decide in favor of liberty for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood (see NY Win, Info. Central, ADF, At Risk).
Family Research Council in 2014 - FRC President Tony Perkins has challenged FRC’s staff to “double our impact” in 2014. FRC and our hardworking staff have had an incredible impact during the past few years. Yet the challenges have grown even more dramatically. Much more effort than ever before will be required of us amid these challenges. Please pray for our staff and for the financial resources required for us to achieve Tony’s vision. Pray that our supporters will give generously and be richly rewarded for their faith and sacrifice (see FRC History, 2013 Impact Report, FRC Leadership & Staff, Year-End Finances).
End of ENDA – While the Democratic-controlled Senate passed the bill, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said the House will not take it up. Pray for the activist agenda to end here and for future Congresses to turn back the clock on the legalization and celebration of what the Bible declares to be sinful and destructive to society (see ENDA: Threat to Religious Liberty, Fight ENDA).
Watchmen on the Wall and Call2Fall 2014 – Pray for these important FRC projects. Connect your pastor with FRC’s Watchmen on the Wall network, and your church with Call2Fall (visit the website and “like” us on Facebook). Urge friends to sign up for the Prayer Targets. Our hopes for godly government and public policy (see Dt 28: all; Ps 32:12; Pr 14:34) all rest upon our greater hope for God-sent revival as we respond to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Only repentant, obedient, biblical, Spirit and faith-filled prayer will bring the kind of change our nation needs.
- Heavenly Father, thank you for raising up men and women, boys and girls all across our land who love you and America. Thank you for those who join with us to pray. Make us like the sons of Issachar and Zebulun (1 Chr 12:32-33). May each be blessed this Christmas and in the New Year! Build us, Lord, into a powerful prayer team in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14; Nehemiah 4:1-21 and 8:4-13 that You can use to help rebuild our nation. Fill us with your love; bless the work of our hands; pour out your grace and mercy upon our countrymen and make America a Shining City on a Hill yet again, in Jesus Name, Amen (Ex 19:6; Ps 133: all; Joel 2:12-21; Mt 18:18-20; Lk 18:1-8; 1 Tim 2:1-8; Heb 5:4; Rev 1:5-6; 7:15).