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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, February 26, 2019

Today, President Donald Trump is in Hanoi, Vietnam, preparing for the two-day summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. This will be their second meeting in less than a year and the primary focus for the president will be to gain assurances that North Korea is committed to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. While they signed an accord during the last meeting, the original document’s primary purpose was to prompt further negotiations. During this summit, the president and his team are planning to push for a concrete time table for denuclearization as well as verifiable evidence that it is being done.

While President Trump is in Vietnam, administration officials are still actively working to negotiate a new trade deal with China. The president decided to delay increasing tariffs on Chinese goods from the initial March 2nd deadline in order to give negotiators more time to come to an agreement. He also added that he is willing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the coming days to help solve some of the more difficult problems.

Vice President Mike Pence is back in Washington, D.C. today, having returned from his brief trip to Colombia.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For wisdom for the president and his team as they prepare for the summit with North Korea.
  • For guidance for the many trade negotiators working to reach an agreement with China.
  • For safety for the president as he is abroad

President Trump Postpones New China Tariffs

Cites progress on trade talks

President Trump said he would delay an increase in the tariffs the U.S. was going to impose on Chinese goods beginning March 1. He credited “productive” trade talks that had continued over the weekend.

In the clearest sign that China and the United States are closing in on a deal that would end months of talks that has slowed global growth and disrupted markets, President Trump said he would be inviting Chinese President Xi Jinping to join him at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, “very soon.” The two have met at Mar-a-Lago before.

In a tweet, the president said progress had been made in divisive areas including intellectual property protection, technology transfers, agriculture, services, and currency.

In a meeting with governors at the White House, President Trump said, “I told you how well we did with our trade talks in China. It looks like they will be coming back quickly again and we will have another summit. We are going to have a signing summit, which is even better. So, hopefully, we get that completed, but we are getting very, very close. “

Sources: Reuters, United News
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and others among the president’s team of negotiators as they continue trade talks with China.
  • For the plans for another meeting between President Trump and President Xi and the good relationship the two men seem to have.

House to Vote Quickly to Revoke Emergency Declaration

Plans to depart from “regular order” time-frame

Members of the House Judiciary Committee announced they will hold a hearing on Thursday regarding President Trump’s emergency declaration. This will be two days after the House is scheduled to vote on a resolution aimed at blocking the president.

A vote coming before a hearing on the issue is a departure from the “regular order” of business in the House.

Lawmakers suggest the vote is happening quickly and without a hearing because President Trump declared redirecting federal funds as an “emergency.” The Senate will have 15 days after the House votes to take the resolution to the floor for a vote.

Sources: Washington Examiner, The Hill
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For members of both the House and Senate to weigh carefully their vote on the resolution that would block President Trump from following through on his emergency declaration.
  • About the need for border security and whether that includes a physical barrier on the southern border.

Friday, March 01, 2019

President Donald Trump has no public events scheduled for Friday. He returned from Hanoi, Vietnam, late last evening, so will likely be recuperating from the time change. On his way back to Washington, D.C., the president made a stop at an Alaska military base where he met with service members. He showered praise on the troops and touted the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Air Force One was refueled, and the president traveled back to the capital.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to the Philippines after leaving the summit. He met with President Duterte at the Villamor Airbase. Details of their meeting were not immediately released, but Palace officials said there was a possibility that the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty might be discussed. He also updated the president on developments in the nuclear summit between President Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For President Trump to be able to rest and recover from jetlag.
  • For Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his diplomatic efforts, particularly as he keeps a close watch on the boiling-over tensions between India and Pakistan.
  • For the team of negotiators who met with their North Korean counterparts as they evaluate the current status of engagement between the U.S. and North Korea.

Secretary DeVos Proposes School Choice Tax Credit

White House pushing for $5 billion per year for private school donations

On Thursday, the Trump administration announced its plan to offer tax credits amounting to $5 billion per year towards charitable donations made to groups offering scholarships for private schools, apprenticeships, and other educational programs. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has long pushed for greater school choice for Americans and has released this plan as a way to give students more choices without diverting funds from public schools.

In a statement, Secretary DeVos said, “What’s missing in education today is at the core of what makes America truly great: freedom. Kids should be free to learn where and how it works for them.” The plan called the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act, would also allow states to set their own rules for the credits.

Sources: AP, NPR, Washington Examiner
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For the Department of Education to put forth the best policies to improve American education.
  • For Secretary DeVos to have wisdom on the best way to lead her department.
  • For Congress to carefully consider upcoming education funding bills for the good of the whole education system.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

President Donald Trump will travel to Oxon Hill, Maryland, where he will deliver remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) around 11:30 in the morning. He has no other scheduled public events. Vice President Mike Pence addressed the group on Friday and urged conservatives to return to their core values. Among other things, he declared, “America is back and we’re just getting started.”

Elsewhere in the White House, the counsel’s office will be gathering information in response to the request of the House Oversight Committee. They will be compiling documents concerning security clearances for many of President Trump’s closest aides, including senior adviser Jared Kushner.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For President Trump and his speech to the CPAC members in Maryland.
  • For the work that lies ahead in the office of the White House counsel.

The President's Schedule

  • 11:30AM EST The President delivers remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference

Military Exercises with South Korea Halted

Large-scale exercises too expensive, president says

The United States military has called a halt to its annual large-scale joint exercises with South Korea. Smaller exercises focused on training U.S. and allied partners will continue, however.

Since assuming office, President Trump has repeatedly complained about the large-scale exercises, saying they are too costly, and the U.S. bears too much of the financial burden.

With the advancement of technology, some training can be done virtually, no longer requiring thousands of troops participating at once.

U.S. officials said the decision is not related to the summit in Hanoi, but that it has been under consideration for some time. Nine military exercises with South Korea have been scaled back or canceled since the U.S.-North Korea summit last June in Singapore.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, NBC News
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For America’s military commanders in South Korea as they transition from large-scale exercises to smaller, more focused training operations.
  • For “war planners” in the Pentagon as they develop more technology and virtual-training capacities.

Senators Urge President to Back Down on Emergency

Find other ways to collect border wall funds

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee in a speech on the floor of the Senate urged President Trump to withdraw his national emergency declaration on the border. Otherwise, he could face a potential rebellion from members of his own party.

“He’s got sufficient funding without a national emergency; he can build a wall and avoid a dangerous precedent,” Senator Alexander told reporters afterward, referring to billions from a drug forfeiture fund and drug-smuggling money at the Defense Department. “That would change the voting situation if we were to agree to do that.”

Another senator, Rand Paul of Kentucky, said, “I don’t think emergencies are a good way to run the government. And the president needs permission from Congress to get money.”

The Senate has yet to vote on the resolution that would block President Trump from enforcing his emergency declaration.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, Politico
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For wisdom for President Trump should he deliberate on withdrawing his emergency funding declaration.
  • For members of the Senate yet to vote on the resolution that would block the presidential declaration.

No Deal With North Korea

President Trump walks away

The United States and North Korea were unable to reach an agreement in Vietnam as President Trump’s second summit with Chairman Kim was unexpectedly cut short.

The sticking point was North Korea’s hope for the lifting of all sanctions, which President Trump could not agree to. North Korea was willing to denuclearize a large portion of the areas that the U.S. wanted, but it wasn’t enough.

“At this time, we had some options, and we decided not to do any of the options. We’ll see where that goes,” President Trump told reporters in Hanoi. “But it was a very interesting two days. And I think actually it was a very productive two days. But sometimes you have to walk. And this was just one of those times.”

Chairman Kim did promise that Pyongyang would not resume missile and nuclear testing. On that, President Trump said, “I trust him. And I take him at his word. I hope that’s true, but in the meantime, we’ll be talking.” He indicated that his relationship with the North Korean dictator remains “very strong.”

President Trump also said, “I think no matter what happens, we’re going to ultimately have a deal that’s really good for Chairman Kim and his country and for us. That’s where it’s all heading. It doesn’t mean we’re doing it in one day or two days, but it’s all heading toward a very big success.”

Air Force One should return the president to Washington late Thursday evening.

Sources: CNN, Fox News
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For President Trump as he reviews with his Cabinet the events of the two-day summit in Hanoi.
  • For allies in the region, like Japan and South Korea, as they reflect on the summit’s outcome.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Danny Burch and his family. Burch, an oil worker, was kidnapped by armed men in Yemen last year and held hostage for 18 months. Late last month, President Trump announced that Burch had “been recovered and reunited with his wife and children.” The president credited the United Arab Emirates with helping to secure Burch’s release. 

Later, President Trump will meet with Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger. The representative has been critical of President Trump for praising North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. During the meeting, the president plans to discuss their differences as well as how to find common ground.

In the afternoon, President Trump will host a group of some 25 CEOs and industry leaders that constitute his new Workforce Policy Advisory Council. He will participate in their meetings at the White House, along with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and senior adviser Ivanka Trump.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • With thanksgiving for the release and return to America of former hostage Danny Burch.
  • For President Trump’s dialogue with Representative Adam Kinzinger.
  • For the White House Workforce Council as they address developing a strategy to ensure that America’s workforce is equipped and able to compete in the global economy.

The President's Schedule

  • 2:00PM EST The President greets former United States hostage in Yemen, Danny Burch and family
  • 2:45PM EST The President meets with Representative Adam Kinzinger
  • 4:00PM EST The President participates in an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meeting

Apprehensions at Border Continue to Increase

February number highest in five years

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents apprehended more than 70,000 people in February, the majority unaccompanied children or families. The figure is the highest monthly total at any point in at least the past five years. There is no figure for the number of migrants who cross illegally and are not apprehended.

CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said, “We are currently facing a humanitarian and national security crisis along our southwest border. The vast increases in families and children coming across our border, in larger groups and in more remote areas, presents a unique challenge to our operations and facilities, and those of our partners, including the NGOs who work to assist these individuals and families throughout their immigration proceedings.”

Apprehensions in February included 6,000 unaccompanied minors. These young people pose a problem for the Department of Homeland Security, which continues to litigate over the length of time it is permitted to detain apprehended children before releasing them into the interior.

Many of the migrants have health issues, and others have suffered violence on their trek north to the United States. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that young female migrants are raped with such regularity along the way that Immigration and Customs Enforcement gives every girl age 10 and above a pregnancy test after arriving. She said the numbers of migrants crossing illegally into the U.S. are too great for her agency to contain.

Sources: Washington Free Beacon, Daily Mail
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For federal, state and local law enforcement agencies serving at the U.S.-Mexico border and the challenges they face daily.
  • About the humanitarian and security crisis at the border and appropriate “fixes.”

Thursday, March 07, 2019

President Donald Trump will meet with Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin who has been very involved as part of the negotiating team on the China trade talks. He will receive his daily briefing as prepared by the intelligence community. In the afternoon, the president will have lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, where rumors of North Korea’s rebuilding of missile launch sites are certain to be included in the discussions. He will later host the prime minister of the Czech Republic at the White House. He will also be meeting with Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan. A review of troop deployment in Syria and the growing needs of NATO could be among their conversations.

In the evening, President Trump will participate in a photo opportunity with the 2019 Senate Youth Program members.

Justices Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan will be testifying before a House Appropriations subcommittee at a hearing on the Supreme Court budget. The House Judiciary subcommittee will hold a hearing on reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and a House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on gun violence.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For discernment for President Trump as he receives his intelligence briefing and reviews ongoing situations that involve North Korea, China, Syria, and other nations like Venezuela and Russia.
  • For the relationship that President Trump will have with the Czech prime minister.
  • That the hearings in the House of Representatives will be productive and fact-finding.

The President's Schedule

  • 11:00AM EST The President meets with the Secretary of the Treasury
  • 11:45AM EST The President receives his intelligence briefing
  • 12:30PM EST The President has lunch with the Secretary of State
  • 1:45PM EST The President and THE FIRST LADY participate in the arrival of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and Mrs. Monika Babišová
  • 1:55PM EST The President and THE FIRST LADY meet with the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and Mrs. Monika Babišová
  • 2:15PM EST The President participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
  • 2:55PM EST The President and THE FIRST LADY participate in the departure of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and Mrs. Monika Babišová
  • 4:00PM EST The President meets with the Acting Secretary of Defense
  • 5:00PM EST The President participates in a photo opportunity with the 2019 Senate Youth Program

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