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"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."  -- 1 Timothy 2:1-4

For the past couple of years, I've been posting prayer requests from the Presidential Prayer Team, and I will continue that in this new discussion for 2018.  

One of the most commonly quoted passages used to encourage us to pray for our leaders is 1 Timothy 2:1-2.  We understand that God calls us to pray for our leaders; elsewhere we're told that when kings rule in righteousness, the people are happy.

But there's more to it than that.  We need to pray for our leaders in such a way that their leadership results in open doors for the Gospel and for people to come to know Christ.  This is the goal of verse 4 - "all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth".  We are to pray with this end in mind.

So it's not just about praying that a bill will (or won't) pass.  It's about praying that the result of the bill will be to bring honor to God and open doors for the Gospel.  We often pray for the types of results that we can immediately see - that a candidate will or won't be elected, that a bill will pass or be repealed, etc.  But God calls us to pray with far more than that in mind.  Humility requires us to admit that we don't know what God knows about what might be best for our country, best for the people, etc.  

So I encourage you, as you pray for our leaders, to pray with God's purposes in mind - not conservative purposes or liberal purposes but the purposes of the one to whom all history points.

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President Announces World Economic Forum Delegation

He selected team to represent the U.S.

The Presidential Delegation that will attend the World Economic Forum has been determined and announced by President Trump. The Forum will occur in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, from January 22 to January 25, 2019.

Lead by Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, the delegation will include:

  • Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State
  • Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce
  • Alex Acosta, Secretary of Labor
  • Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation
  • Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative
  • Linda McMahon, Administrator of the Small Business Administration
  • Ivanka Trump, Assistant to the President and Advisor to the President
  • Jared Kushner, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to the President
  • Chris Liddell, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination
Sources: The White House
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For each delegation member by name today. Pray for their wisdom, knowledge, discernment, kindness, and safety in their time at the Forum.
  • That this team will be a good and upright representation of the United States of America during their time at the World Economic Forum.

“Abandon Border Wall,” Senator Schumer Says

Or government will stay closed down

On the Senate floor on Saturday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said President Trump and lawmakers need to “abandon” border wall funding if they want the government to reopen.

The senator, who has expressed his strong opposition to funding the U.S.-Mexico border wall, said, “President Trump, if you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall, plain and simple.”

He said that his party are “open to discussing any proposal as long as they do not include anything for the wall.”

Lawmakers on both sides will now have to figure out an agreement, present it to a vote on the Senate floor, negotiate final results with the House, and send the bill to the president to sign in order to end the partial government shutdown. Members of the House, and also of the Senate, are on a 24-hour standby to reconvene if an agreement can be reached between Senator Schumer, Representative Pelosi, and President Trump. Many lawmakers from both parties and both chambers have departed Washington for their Christmas family holiday.

Sources: New York Times, CNN
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • About the intransigence of the people on both sides of the border wall issue.
  • For the 25 percent of non-essential government workers who are temporarily furloughed while the partial shutdown continues.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

President Donald Trump remains at the White House. Although no official schedule postings are being made due to the government shutdown, the president is expected to meet with members of the Senate as they drift back into Washington for a Thursday gavel-in. The inclusion of funding for the border barrier, whether wall or fence, within the spending bill, remains the point of contention between the president and senators.

He may also be conferring with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over the status of the American stock markets and issues involving the Federal Reserve.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For President Trump and any negotiations he and members of his administration will be having with senators and others regarding the ongoing government shutdown.
  • For Secretary Mnuchin, working to soothe the fears of many Wall Street executives.
  • For Senator Majority Leader McConnell preparing for his chamber to return to legislative business on Thursday.

Secretary Mnuchin Tries to Soothe Markets

Confers with bank CEOs, Wall Street executives

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reported that America’s largest banks have ample funds to meet the credit needs of businesses and consumers.

The heads of JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and others told Mnuchin in individual conversations that they have not experienced any issues completing transactions. That indicates buyers are still available for financial instruments owners who are seeking to sell, a large difference from what occurred during the financial crisis of 2008.

The secretary gave his report to executives on Wall Street in an effort to soothe the flailing markets. He is also set to meet with the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission during the government shutdown.

Sources: CNN, MSNBC, Washington Examiner
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For Secretary Mnuchin and his efforts to calm the gyrating stock market.
  • For a sense of stability among Wall Street executives and high-level investors.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Today, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania return to the White House in Washington D.C. after making a surprise visit to the troops in Iraq and a stop at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. There are no public events on the president's schedule at this time and many items are not being posted during the pendency of the partial government shutdown.

It is expected that, with the Senate returning to town today, the president and his aides and advisers will be meeting with key senators in hopes of reaching a compromise on border wall funding.

President Trump is said to be preparing to announce additional nominations to fill open staffing and administration positions. He is also expected to review the situation with migrants becoming ill and the two children who died at the U.S.-Mexico border.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • That President Trump will be re-energized as a result of his visit with U.S. military men and women in Iraq and Germany.
  • For negotiations that will continue regarding funding for the border wall.
  • For the president, Department of Homeland Security, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Customs and Border Patrol as they investigate the causes of the illnesses among migrant groups.

CDC to Investigate Sick Migrants

Dozens taken to hospitals each day

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has requested that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigate the cause of the growing number of sick migrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We’re doing dozens of hospital trips every single day with children that have fevers or manifest other medical conditions,” Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAlenan said Wednesday.

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is also requesting Mexican authorities investigate the living conditions of migrant holding camps to see if that is the source of illness.

Two children have died in the past weeks while in border patrol custody.

Sources: New York Times, NBC News
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For officials with the Border Patrol who are often over-extended watching for and assisting illegal migrants.
  • For the CDC officials to determine the reasons for the illnesses among migrants.

Election Agency to Tackle Foreign Influence

Figure out way to combat outside interference

The Election Assistance Commission, created in 2002 in response to the 2000 presidential election, is going to try to determine the best way to combat election interference from foreign sources.

The agency had been unable to tackle major policy matters since March when the term of one of its commissioners expired.  But two agency nominees have been making their way through the Senate and their expected confirmation, either this year or next, which will then fully staff the four-member commission and enable them begin helping states administer and secure their elections.

Current sitting commissioners have acknowledged that nations like China, Russia and Iran continue to try to assert an influence over elections in America. They’re working to assure voters from being discouraged over potential hacking or other interference, they said.

Sources: The Hill, Politico
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • That the Senate will act swiftly to confirm the nominees to the Election Assistance Commission.
  • That the agency will be able to mitigate vulnerabilities in the nation’s election systems, allowing people to cast their ballots without fear.

Monday, December 31, 2018

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are remaining in Washington D.C. during the partial government shutdown. Following a luncheon that he had with Senator Lindsey Graham and Joint Chief Chairman General Joseph Dunford, the president is revisiting his decision to withdraw troops from Syria. He is establishing a pause to assess the effects of the conditions on the ground.

Today is also the last day on the job for General James Mattis, the Secretary of Defense.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leaves today for Brazil to attend the inauguration of their incoming president, Jair Bolsonaro. He is eager to increase Brazil-U.S. ties and will also be discussing ways to counter the activities of the Venezuelan government and the expanding influence of China in Latin America.

The House and Senate will have only pro-forma sessions on Monday, the last legislative day of the year. Short of any unexpected deal reached today, there is not anticipated to be any action to reopen the government until after the new Congress is sworn in on January 3.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For President Trump and his advisers meeting over the timing of the withdrawal of troops from Syria.
  • For Defense Secretary Mattis as he begins a new part of his life.
  • For the celebrations and discussions that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be engaged in while in Brazil.

Progress Being Made on China Trade

President Trump has “good call” with President Xi

President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China both said on Saturday that “progress” is being made on a number of trade issues.

“Just had a long and very good call with President Xi of China,” President Trump tweeted Saturday morning. “Deal is moving along very well. If made, it will be very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas, and points of dispute. Progress being made!”

The state-run news in China also reported that both presidents “hope to push for stable progress of China-U.S. relations.” They also reported that President Xi expressed his support for further U.S. talks with North Korea.

Sources: Washington Examiner, Twitter
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For President Trump and his negotiating team who are working on securing an agreement with China on trade and other issues.
  • For the ongoing good feelings that the two leaders have in relation to one another.

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.

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