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This discussion will continue the posts from the Presidential Prayer Team website.

It's tempting when praying for our country to focus our prayers more on politics and people than on God and His purposes.  Whether we're praying for a reversal of the moral decline at all levels of our society, or for wisdom and integrity for our leaders, or for America's place in the world, there are spiritual realities that underlie all that we see (and pray for) on the surface.

If we really believe that God answers prayer, then praying for our country and for our leaders has far more impact than lobbying for bills, boycotting organizations, or campaigning for candidates.  God will call some of us to activities like that.  But he calls us all to pray.  Who knows but that God might be in a similar place with America that he was with Israel in Ezekiel's day:

"I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one." -- Ezekiel 22:30

We pray to a God who longs to bring healing to our wounds and unity to our division.  Many believe this promise made to Israel still applies today (though America is not "my people" to God in the same way that Israel was):

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." -- 2 Chronicles 7:14

It is up to the Church today to take the lead in opening the door for God's healing through prayer.  Please join in!  Feel free to post responses or simply to pray along the lines of the PPT's prayer items.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2019

President Donald Trump included a “Happy New Year” message from the White House. He continues to remain in Washington D.C. while the partial government shutdown goes on. He and First Lady Melania Trump have spent most of the holiday season at the White House and are expected to remain there until the partial government shutdown is ended.

In a New Year’s Eve interview, President Trump said he is “ready, willing and able” to negotiate an end to the shutdown that is now stretching into its 11th day.

In a separate New Year’s Eve interview, the president said he remains concerned about the approximately 800,000 federal workers who are affected by furloughs and understaffing. “I spent Christmas in the White House. I spent New Year’s Eve now in the White House,” he said. “And, you know, I’m here. I’m ready to go. It’s very important. A lot of people are looking to get their paycheck, so I’m ready to go whenever they want.”

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For the president and the first lady as they are away from family during the New Year’s holiday.
  • For the president to humbly seek guidance from the Lord for 2019.
  • For the negotiating team, including President Trump, seeking to find the right way to reopen the government.

House Members Have Plan to End Shutdown

Two spending bills with no wall funding

When the House resumes activities on January 3, after the new Congress is sworn in, they are planning a vote on a funding package that would end the partial government shutdown.

The two-part package will include a bill that keeps funding for the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through February 3, with $1.3 billion for border security, as well as separate legislative measures to keep other agencies going through the end of the current fiscal year, September 30.

The incoming chairman of the House Rules Committee, Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, said, “We want…the government open. One of the first things we’ll do will be to move to pass legislation to reopen the government. And the president can decide whether he wants to sign it or not.” He said he would like for it to occur before January 3, if possible.

Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina called the plan a “non-starter” and only likely to extend the partial government shutdown, saying it will “not be a legitimate answer to this impasse.”

Sources: Politico, Wall Street Journal, The Hill
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For the incoming leaders of the House of Representatives to work wisely with their new level of power.
  • For guidance for the Senate and for President Trump when they receive the House spending package.

Secretary Mattis Delivers Farewell Message

“Keep the faith in our country,” he says

Secretary of Defense James Mattis delivered his farewell message to members of the U.S. Armed Forces on Monday.

“Our Department’s leadership, civilian and military, remains in the best possible hands,” he said.

He added, “I am confident that each of you remains undistracted from our sworn mission to support and defend the Constitution while protecting our way of life. Our Department has proven to be at its best when the times are difficult. So keep the faith in our country and hold fast, alongside our allies, aligned against our foes.”

Mattis concluded, “It has been my high honor to serve at your side. May God hold you safe in the air, on land, and at sea.’

Sources: Reuters, New York Post
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For outgoing Defense Secretary James Mattis as he embarks on the next part of his life.
  • For Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who will assume the acting authority over the Defense Department at midnight.

Andrew--the posts you have presented need prayer coverage.  I personally am concerned about the divide in our country.  It is a divide that may possibly only be healed when we take time to seek the Lord on our knees for our country--and I mean ion humility which includes kneeling.  Perhaps we should take time somewhere to challenge people to humble themselves and make appoint to actually pray on our knees for our Nation and its leaders.  Also, we should encourage the leaders also to be on their knees seeking the Lord.  -- This is just a thought--but on that I believe is based on humbling ourselves before the Lord. II Chronicles 7:14.  

Thursday, January 03, 2019

President Donald Trump is at the White House in Washington D.C. today. He is continuing to meet with leaders in order to resolve the partial government shutdown. Progress stalled yesterday, as the president and Congress were unable to reach a solution. They are expected to continue working on a resolution later today following the Congressional swearing-in ceremonies.

Today marks the beginning of the 116th Congress of the United States. Newly elected senators, or those who are beginning a new term, will take the oath of office and be sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence. All members of the House of Representatives participate in a swearing-in ceremony led by the Speaker of the House. Prior to the ceremony, the House will elect the speaker to hold the position for the next two years.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For God to guide the president and Congress as they negotiate a budget agreement to reopen the government.
  • For wisdom for the newly elected officials as they take their new roles as public servants.
  • For unity for Congress and that, over the next two years, they would act in a way that honors God and accomplishes His will.

Acting Defense Secretary Focuses on China

First day on the job for Pat Shanahan

Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan began his new position on Monday at the Pentagon. The former executive from Boeing brought together high-ranking civilian officials at the Pentagon together to announce his strategy for the Defense Department moving forward. During his presentation, he made it clear that relations with China would be his highest priority telling officials to always remember, “China, China, China.”

Acting Secretary Shanahan has served in the federal government for a year and a half and has echoed many of the strategies of outgoing Secretary Mattis. He has made it clear that there is a growing great power competition with Russia and China. It is currently unclear if President Trump will appoint Shanahan to the permanent position or move forward with a different candidate.

Sources: AP, Washington Times
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For Acting Secretary Shanahan to have wisdom as he leads the Defense Department during his tenure. 
  • For President Trump to have wisdom on who best to appoint as Secretary of Defense. 
  • That the U.S. would grow in its relationship to other countries through the work of the State Department.

Senate Confirms Dozens of Stalled Nominees

In hours before close of 115th Congress

Dozens of individuals whose nominations had been stalled in the Senate were confirmed just hours before the close of the 115th Congress Wednesday night.

Based on a deal struck between Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the list did not include federal judges.

In total, the Senate cleared 77 nominees by voice vote. Among them were 23 ambassadors to countries like Australia, Armenia, Yemen, and Kenya. Eight U.S. attorneys and eight U.S. marshals, a member of the Federal Maritime Commission, and two members of the Federal Communications Commission were also confirmed.

Senator McConnell had hoped to confirm more than a dozen judges by year end, but Senator Schumer, pressured by his party’s progressive base, blocked a bipartisan deal. Those judges must now move through the Judiciary Committee and then to a vote on the Senate floor, where they will most likely pass.

Sources: The Hill, ABC News
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For each of the men and women who have been confirmed as they assume their new responsibilities.
  • For the Senate Judiciary Committee as it begins work on the numerous nominations for federal judges.

116th U.S. Congress Begins

Democratic Party will have a majority within the House of Representatives

On Thursday, the 116th Congress of the United States will officially begin. The swearing-in of new members of the House of Representatives will take place following the election of a new House Speaker. Representative Nancy Pelosi is expected to be the choice of the majority-democrat house.

House Democrats have also created several new offices and committees going into the new term of Congress including the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, and the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. The first task for the new Congress will be working with the White House to set a budget for the federal government, which has been closed since December.

Sources: AP, NPR
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For all members of Congress to pass laws that are God-honoring in this coming term.
  • For a cooperative environment that allows for bi-partisan progress.
  • For Congress and the White House to come to a speedy conclusion to the government shutdown.

Candidates Already Preparing for 2020 Election

Growing number of presidential candidates enter the race

Many candidates are already gearing up for the 2020 election. For the office of president, there are 444 candidates who have currently filed to run. Some prominent candidates include:

  • President Donald Trump filed to run for re-election.
  • Former Vice-President Joe Biden has publically considered running.
  • Elizabeth Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts is running.
  • Julian Castro, a former U.S. secretary of housing and urban development and San Antonio mayor is running and is slated to make an official announcement on January 12th.
  • Richard Ojeda, a state senator from West Virginia, has filed.
  • John Delaney, a U.S. representative from Maryland, has filed
Sources: BBC, Ballotpedia
As the Lord Leads, pray with us:
  • Over each candidate listed here, as well as the many others not listed. Take time today to pray for them as fellow children of God, and ask the Lord to protect them emotionally, physically, and spiritually throughout this season of their lives.
  • That the Lord's will would be accomplished in the 2020 election.

Pentagon Releases New Plan to Withdraw from Syria

30-day Plan Replaced by 120-day Plan

Earlier this week, officials at the Pentagon submitted a new plan for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. President Donald Trump’s original plan was to have the troops removed within 30 days. However, officials feared that this plan was impossible without significant risk to U.S. forces and submitted a new plan requiring 120 days.

This new timeline allows for the safe removal of U.S. troops, as well as all of the ordnance and ammunition the U.S. currently has in Syria. Senator Lindsey Graham offered a statement supporting the new plan, saying “I think we’re slowing things down in a smart way.”

Sources: CNN, Fox News
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For President Trump, as the Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces, as he oversees the status of our military both in Syria and other parts of the world
  • For those in the Pentagon charged with carrying out this new plan
  • For the continued safety of those serving in our armed forces

Sunday, January 06, 2019

President Donald Trump is traveling to Camp David today. He will be meeting with senior officials during the stay and lead planning sessions. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in an official statement, "Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney invited White House Senior Staff to Camp David for a staff retreat to lay out the administration's 2019 priorities. President Trump will join the team and lead meetings on Sunday."

Due to the ongoing shutdown, Vice President Mike Pence, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will remain in Washington D.C. in order to continue negotiations with congressional leaders.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For guidance for the president and staff as they lay out the goals of 2019.
  • For God to work through their efforts and meetings in order that His will would be accomplished.
  • For the vice president as he continues budget negotiations.

The President's Schedule

  • 1:00PM EST THE VICE PRESIDENT hosts a meeting with congressional leadership staff Vice President’s Ceremonial Office Closed Press

White House Working on Second Meeting with North Korea

Both Countries’ Leaders Open to Speaking Again

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump stated that the White House would soon be setting up a meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for the “not too distant future.” He also stated that he got a “great” letter from Kim, which he shared with those in the Cabinet. The two leaders met for their first summit in Singapore back in June of 2018. Since then, The president stated that he has been in no rush for progress with North Korea. He also stated that he was encouraged by the absence of rocket or missile tests in North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim stated that he would “endeavor towards a result that will be welcomed by the international community.”

Sources: CNN
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For wisdom for President Trump as he speaks with Kim Jong Un in the future
  • That God would grant continued peace between the U.S. and North Korea

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