Tag archives: Prayer

Be Not Wise in Your Own Eyes

by Molly Carman

June 26, 2020

Like many other Christians around the world, I am realizing more and more that we are in strange and trying times, and it can be difficult to consider how to react to various situations. Whether it is the coronavirus, unrest about race relations, or recent Supreme Court decisions, there are so many issues that demand our attention and require us to think deeply about how Christians should respond.

In every season of violence, disease, death, and civil unrest, one passage of Scripture remains particularly relevant. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” Throughout history, believers have faced the violence of war, the scourge of disease, and civil and political unrest. We are not the first and we will not be the last.

In order to respond appropriately to the various situations we find ourselves in, we must seek wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge that is rightly applied to daily life. Wisdom is essential to honoring God with our lives and teaches us how to respond during the ever-changing times. The apostle Paul (the author of 1 Corinthians) gives us this encouragement: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” But how do we discern what is wise? How do we evaluate our lives to identify where wisdom is needed?

Because wisdom is so essential to our daily lives and growth as Christians, there are several means by which we may grow in wisdom. First, God has given us His Word to teach us and guide us in the ways we should go. Second, we can ask the Father for wisdom directly through prayer. Third, we grow in wisdom by cultivating a humble spirit and learning to discern God’s voice.

Scripture

When it comes to growing in wisdom, God’s Word is our greatest resource. Through it we learn about God’s character, attributes, and works. We also learn about ourselves, our sinful nature that separates us from a holy God, and how we can be reconciled to Him. In particular, the book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings that can help us order our lives. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” A primary way that we show a healthy fear of the Lord is by reading and applying His Word to our lives. This year, Family Research Council began a two-year Bible reading plan called Stand on the Word. This is an opportunity to be held accountable to being in the word daily. It is easy to think that we can read one verse of Scripture a day and be spiritually full; however, wisdom calls us to spend time in God’s Word through meditation and memorization. Reading Scripture takes time because learning wisdom takes time and cannot be rushed.

Prayer

God in His grace desires to have a personal relationship with all His children, and He invites us into this relationship through prayer. Prayer is a personal conversation with God that all believers are called to. We are called to praise God with thanksgiving in our hearts (Psalm 109:30), to confess and repent of our sins (I John 1:9), and to go to God with our needs and desires (Matthew 21:22). As we spend more time in God’s Word, we will also grow in our prayer life. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given.” The prime example of this promise being fulfilled is in the life of King Solomon. Solomon prayed for wisdom and he was deemed the wisest man in his day (see I Kings 3).

Listen and Learn

While anyone can read the wisdom of the Bible, or pray to God for wisdom, the challenge comes in having a teachable spirit that not only seeks wisdom but applies it to their lives. Therefore, wisdom is applied knowledge. It can be easy to learn things, but we are called to listen carefully to God’s Word, be faithful in prayer, and courageously live out the knowledge that we have learned. In order to apply the work of wisdom in our lives, we must humble ourselves. This means being quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19). When we are students of the Word and faithful servants in prayer, we are better prepared to apply God’s wisdom during the trials and opposition that we face.

One practical way to actively grow in wisdom by incorporating all three of these principles is to join and become active in a local church. Unfortunately, many believers think they can grow spiritually by themselves; however, the Christian life is not meant to be walked alone. We need each other. The Apostle Paul teaches this throughout his writings, particularly in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. Thus, we should seek to live in community with other believers who are also seeking to grow in wisdom.

Therefore, when we are faced with the difficult decisions or situations before us—like COVID-19, protests, and a bitter election season—and we do not know what to say, what to choose, or how to act, we must seek wisdom. Proverbs 4:7 says, “The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.” Rather than spending our days worrying about all of the problems in the world that are beyond our control, let us seek Christ, who is wisdom incarnate, and allow Him to guide our steps. 

Molly Carman is a Policy & Government Affairs intern at Family Research Council.

The Rich History of American Prayer in Times of Calamity

by Zachary Rogers

April 2, 2020

O God, merciful and compassionate, who art ever ready to hear the prayers of those who put their trust in thee; Graciously hearken to us who call upon thee, and grant us thy help in this our need; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” - A Prayer in Time of Calamity

The United States faces a rapidly developing coronavirus crisis that is testing our form of government, the social and health infrastructure we have built, and the solidarity of individuals at the local level. It is in times such as these that the true mettle and spirit of a people is revealed. It is a time for prayer. Thankfully, the United States has a long history of appealing to Heaven in times of crisis, calamity, and now COVID-19.

President Trump recognized this and the necessity of our times. Therefore, on March 13th he tweeted:

It is my great honor to declare Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of Prayer. We are a Country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these…

This action is not an aberration in U.S. history but a reflection of the blessings of God upon America, which many previous presidents have done. The prominent influence of prayer is clear throughout U.S. history.

On 16 March, 1776, the Continental Congress issued a fast proclamation. Mr. William Livingston brought forward a resolution for a fast, asserting that in times of impending calamity men must recognize the sovereignty of God, confess their sins, and request His blessing. Colonials were called to a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer.” Congress agreed to this resolution.

George Washington also recognized the role of Providence in the birth of the nation, as well as the important role of religion and morality in American life. During the American War of Independence, when he served as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, he concurred with the call of Congress for another day of prayer and fasting. To encourage and allow his men to do so, he forbade all unnecessary labor and recreation.

This understanding of God and the universe can clearly be seen in the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation when Washington in his duties as president recognized Thursday, November 26, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. His proclamation in part reads:

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord.

Here, we see a call to all Americans, commissioning them to eagerly ask the Lord to enable everyone, civil servant or citizen, to perform our duties to each other, to our states, and to the nation. We can do no more. We should do no less.

One of the best examples of a national day of prayer in the history of the nation came from President Lincoln, who signed “A Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day” on March 30, 1863. This proclamation recognized the sovereignty of God, the necessity of repentance, and the need to ask for forgiveness.

In 1952 President Harry S. Truman signed into law a joint resolution of Congress establishing an annual day of prayer for the “people to turn to God in prayer and meditation.”

We should remember that God governs in the affairs of men, from the time of the Israelites, when He answered many prayers for the tribes of Israel, to the American Revolution when our Forefathers fought the mightiest empire known to man and, despite losing many battles, won the war. When we thank God, we should also thank Him for a free country in which we can have a day of prayer. It is important to remember the constitutional point that a National Day of Prayer neither establishes a state religion nor impedes religious practice.

America has a strong Judeo-Christian heritage, and this is reflected in our history of appealing to God in times of strife and calamity. Let us do so now while not neglecting to do all the good we can. The time is now and it is our duty to do so. Here is “A Prayer for Congress”:

Most gracious God, we humbly beseech thee, as for the people of these United States in general, so especially for their Senate and Representatives in Congress assembled; that thou wouldest be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations, to the advancement of thy glory, the good of thy Church, the safety, honour, and welfare of they people; that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavours, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations. These and all other necessaries, for them, for us, and thy whole Church, we humbly beg in the Name and mediation of Jesus Christ, our most blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Zachary Rogers is a graduate of Hillsdale College and is a former intern of FRC, the Kirby Center, and the Claremont Institute. He is currently working in education in Northern Virginia.

Social Conservative Review - February 15, 2019

by Daniel Hart

February 15, 2019

Dear Friends,

In recent weeks, as the Democratic Party further entrenches itself in the support of late-term abortion to the point of infanticide, I have often found myself feeling angry and disgusted toward these elected officials who seem so lacking in basic human decency. (If these politicians were standing in the room where a late-term abortion was taking place or where a baby was literally born alive after a failed abortion, would they still hold the same view? One has to wonder…)

During such highly-charged emotional times in public life that we are currently in, I’ve found it very easy to demonize and dehumanize these pro-abortion elected officials in my own mind. We human beings have a tendency to condemn without a second thought, and condemnation can quickly become personal. You’ve probably heard it many times before, but it bears repeating: we must condemn actions, not people. But there’s something else we must do as pro-life Christians that goes beyond condemnation of actions, and it’s more important: prayer. Our Savior Himself commanded it: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45).

Are we praying every day for Andrew Cuomo, for Ralph Northam, for Nancy Pelosi, for Chuck Schumer, for all other elected officials who publicly support abortion, that they will have a change of heart? As Christians, prayer must be our very first impulse whenever we face any kind of challenge, or before we do anything at all, for that matter (1 Thessalonians 5:17). When we feel powerless to affect change for good, prayer gives us peace of mind to know that we are doing something. For we know that God listens to and answers our prayers (1 Peter 3:12).

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Media

Issue Brief: Rebels Without a Clause: When Senators Run Roughshod Over the “No Religious Test” Clause of the U.S. Constitution – Alexandra McPhee

Issue Analysis: Department of Defense on Why Those with “Gender Dysphoria” Are Disqualified from Military Service – Peter Sprigg

A Christian War Memorial in No Way Violates the Establishment Clause – Alexandra McPhee

When Free Exercise Comes at a Price – Alexandra McPhee

What a Title IX Proposal Means for Religious Liberty – Alexandra McPhee

Democratic Congresswoman Condemns Religious Bigotry, Standing up to Her Party in a Rare Act of Courage – David Closson

Chris Pratt’s Bible-inspired diet highlights a discipline from a spiritual dimension – Tony Perkins

New York and Planned Parenthood, a eugenic match made in Heaven – Patrina Mosley

The Conscience of A Nation: Defeating Democrat Extremism – Ken Blackwell

Targeting of Karen Pence is wake-up call to all Christians – Travis Weber

FRC Speaker Series: Religious Freedom, Trade Talks, and China

FRC Speaker Series: Should We Pull Our Kids Out of Public School?

FRC Speaker Series: The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives – Jennifer Roback Morse

Party of “Tolerance” is Intolerant to American’s Views on Late-Term Abortion – Patrina Mosley

3 Things to Remember About the Importance of Marriage This Valentine’s Day – Hugh Phillips

Will Women’s Restrooms Be Ruled Obsolete? – Peter Sprigg

Contributors to Sexual Exploitation are Called Out – Patrina Mosley

Return to the Constitution: Judicial Activism or Originalism? – Zachary Rogers

The Cost of Sending Your Kids to Public School Just Might Be Their Souls – Cathy Ruse

10 Nominees Have Faced Unconstitutional Religious Tests in Less Than 2 Years – Alexandra McPhee

Marriage Gives Love a Canvas to Paint On – Dan Hart

President Trump’s Pro-Life Proclamation – David Closson

The Pro-Infanticide Party – David Closson

Hotel Trans: Check In Any Time, But Never Leave – Cathy Ruse

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

The Ever-Present Totalitarian Temptation – George Weigel, First Things

Vermont discriminates against students of religious high schools, lawsuit claims – Jess Aloe, Burlington Free Press

Jewish Therapist Sues New York City Over Law Banning Faith-Based LGBT Counseling – Joshua Nelson, The Daily Signal

Judge says Tampa ban on conversion therapy may violate therapists’ free speech rights – Avery Anapol, The Hill

International Religious Freedom

Pakistan’s Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to Asia Bibi Blasphemy Acquittal – Hannah Brockhaus, National Catholic Register

Asia Bibi stuck in Pakistan, frustrated and afraid amid threats – Brandon Showalter, The Christian Post

Philippine Church Bombing Kills 20 After Vote for Muslim Governance – Kate Shellnutt, Christianity Today

N. Korean Christians keep faith underground amid crackdowns – Hyung-Jin Kim, AP

Military Religious Freedom

Americans Tell Atheists: Keep Your Hands Off Our War Memorials – ToddStarnes.com

 

Life

Abortion

OB/GYNs, Nurses Speak Out Against NY Abortion Law: It Is Never Necessary to Kill Baby for Health, Life of Mother – Heather Clark, Christian News

Planned Parenthood Made $245 Million Last Year Killing Babies in Abortions – Lauretta Brown, LifeNews

Vermont Abortion Bill Goes Further than Virginia and New York’s – Wesley J. Smith, National Review

New York, Abortion, and a Short Route to Chaos – Bishop Robert Barron, Word on Fire

Bookstore Owner Makes Viral Statement About New York Abortion Law – Mary Margaret Olohan, The Daily Caller

Infanticide Becomes Justifiable – Wesley J. Smith, First Things

Abortion’s Devastating Impact Upon Black Americans – Arthur Goldberg, Public Discourse

Adoption

Mothers Are Killing Babies Who Could Fill The Empty Arms Of Millions Of Loving Couples – Adam Mill, The Federalist

 

Family

Marriage

How Can Marriage Be Good for Mental Health? – David Levine, U.S. News & World Report

Giving Up Good Things for the Best Things in Marriage – Selena Frederick, Focus on the Family

Resources for Building a Marriage that Lasts – Alysse ElHage, Family Studies

How We Saved Our Marriage in the Final HourHer View From Home

A Finance Guide for Married Couples – Phillip Holmes, The Gospel Coalition

Don’t Put Your Hope in Date Night – Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler, The Gospel Coalition

More Tips to Promote a Strong Marriage – Jim Graves, National Catholic Register

My Husband Isn’t Romantic, But He’s Still Mr. Right – Jenny Albers, Her View From Home

Parenting

Dad—A Girl’s First and Most Influential Love – Timothy Rarick, Family Studies

Parental Involvement: How Much Is Too Much? – Child Trends

What It’s Like When the Kids Grow Up: A Conversation Between Two Moms – Carolyn Lankford and Anna Meade Harris, rooted

Webinar: The Unique Contributions Of Fathers To Their Children’s Development – Institute for Research on Poverty

Economics/Education

Despite Government Shutdown, Job Growth Soars in January – Timothy Doescher, The Daily Signal

The “Green New Deal” Would Only Crush People’s Spirit – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

Faith/Character/Culture

Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence – Alex Berenson, Imprimis

The Internet and Satan’s Game – Bishop Robert Barron, Word on Fire

You Don’t Have to Have a Well-Formed Opinion on Everything – Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition

Psychology as Indoctrination: Girls Rule, Boys Drool? – Leonard Sax, Family Studies

Are Smartphones and Social Media Hurting Our Kids? – Charles Fain Lehman, Family Studies

A Different Kind of Love – Nancy Flory, The Stream

Human Sexuality

The Left is Shunning Liberals With Concerns About Transgender Agenda – Ryan Anderson, The Stream

Pressure to conform – Jamie Dean, WORLD

True love waits: Suggestions for a more holistic purity culture – Alex Ward, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Cohabitation Doesn’t Compare: Marriage, Cohabitation, and Relationship Quality – W. Bradford Wilcox, Family Studies

6 ways pastors can care for victims of sexual abuse – Trillia Newbell, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Human Trafficking

How to Spot Sex Trafficking; Super Bowl Sunday and Beyond – Tiffany Powell, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Nevada Has the Highest Rates of an Illegal Sex Trade in the Nation – National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Pornography

What kids aren’t telling parents about porn on social media – Gail Dines, The Boston Globe

Seeing is (Not) Believing: How Viewing Pornography Shapes the Religious Lives of Young Americans – Samuel L. Perry and George M. Hayward, Social Forces

Want To Connect More Deeply With Other People? Consider Quitting Porn – Fight the New Drug

Theologians for Prayer (You Read that Right)

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 11, 2013

On January 7, the director of FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, Ken Klukowski, filed a compelling brief with the U.S. Supreme Court concerning efforts to prevent prayer at the beginning of government meetings (whether they be local, county, state, or federal). Signed by 49 Members of Congress, including the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the document makes a convincing argument that prayers before government meetings are constitutional and a matter of religious liberty for all Americans. A description of the brief, and the brief itself, are available here.

FRC President Tony Perkins, noting the importance of the case, said:

The Founders understood that religion is good for society, and defended “the free exercise thereof.” Family Research Council is honored that 49 Members of Congress, including the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, have chosen FRC to present their arguments to the nation’s highest Court. We hope the Supreme Court will reject the freedom-threatening Second Circuit opinion in this case, and reverse it.

Ours was not the only brief filed this week. A group of prominent theologians, Protestant and Catholic, filed their own brief with the Court, making a strong argument for legislative prayer. The conclude eloquently:

Ultimately, attempts to promote “civic religion” or “religious neutrality” must establish the judiciary as the arbiters of the “neutral”’ orthodoxy. This orthodoxy would necessarily favor some religions over others. The only way to avoid this establishment of religion and to remain truly neutral is to follow the guidance of Marsh v. Chambers: refusing to consider the content of any prayer and permitting each person to pray according to the dictates of conscience.

FRC’s friends at the Alliance Defending Freedom have compiled a list of all relevant briefs, including FRC’s and that of the theologians, here. As we go forward advancing your religious liberty in this effort, we ask for your prayers, both for wisdom for us and for a sound outcome from the nation’s senior jurists.

New Video: 62,000 Petitions Urging Mayor Bloomberg to Allow Clergy, Prayer, First Responders

by Carrie Russell

September 13, 2011

On September 8, 2011, Cathy Ruse, Senior Fellow for Legal Studies at the Family Research Council joined New York City Councilman Fernando Cabrera on the steps of City Hall to deliver over 62,000 petitions urging Mayor Michael Bloomberg to allow first responders and clergy to participate in the September 11th Memorial Service. Click here to read Cathy Ruse’s remarks at the press conference.

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