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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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U.S. Adds 312000 Jobs in December

Wages increased by 3.9 percent from year previous

The Department of Labor released their report on the labor market on Thursday, finding that the U.S. had an unexpectedly strong month for hiring in December. Across the nation, employers added about 312,000 jobs. The unemployment rate also increased to 3.9 percent, a sign that more Americans are re-entering the job market as they look for work. The average hourly pay also improved 3.2 percent from a year ago.

Of the 312,000 jobs, 82,000 are in healthcare and education, 40,700 are in the restaurant industry, and 38,000 are in construction. Following the news, stock prices improved. President Trump also took to Twitter, describing the Labor Department’s numbers as “GREAT.” The report from the Labor Department suggested that the economy was still in a state of growth and that consumer spending is expected to improve over the next months.

Sources: AP, CBS, NPR
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For the Department of Labor to gather information that gives the best picture of the job market.
  • For President Trump to have wisdom on the best ways to help the economy flourish during his time in office.
  • For those who are seeking employment to find fulfilling work.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Today, President Donald Trump is back at the White House in Washington D.C. following a retreat at Camp David on Sunday. He will be taking part in continued negotiations on border security and reopening the government. Speaking to reporters about the planned meetings with Congressional leaders he said, “We'll obviously be discussing the wall, which is desperately needed.” He added, “We have to build a wall, we have to build a barrier. The barrier, or the wall, can be made of steel instead of concrete in case that helps people.”

The president also expressed the significance that the issue has to him, “This is a very important battle to win, in terms of safety, number one, defining our country, and who we are.” In addition, he urged Congress to grant substantial funding both to the construction of a border wall and for added border security. At this time, the stalemate and partial government shutdown is entering its third week.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For God to work through the president and Congress as they work towards ending the shutdown and solving the border concerns.
  • For godly wisdom for national leaders as they negotiate today.
  • For the president and Congress to accomplish God’s will in their efforts today.

The President's Schedule

  • 12:30PM EST The President has lunch with the Vice President
  • 2:00PM EST The President receives his intelligence briefing

Justice Ginsburg Misses Supreme Court Arguments

First time ever as she recovers from surgery

Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was unable to attend oral arguments on Monday for the first time in her more than two decades on the nation’s highest court.

A spokeswoman said the justice was working from home after undergoing surgery last month to remove two cancerous nodules in the lower lobe of her left lung. The spokeswoman said Justice Ginsburg will participate in the cases using briefs, filings, and transcripts of oral arguments.

No indication was given as to how long Justice Ginsburg will be working remotely. Oral arguments are also set for Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Sources: The Hill, Washington Post
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she continues her recovery from surgery.
  • For all members of the Supreme Court to retain good health during the current session.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

President Donald Trump remains at the White House this weekend, saying he is ready, willing, and able to negotiate the end to the government’s partial shutdown and the need for border security. Many members of Congress, however, have returned to their home states. Following a White House roundtable Friday afternoon, President Trump backed away from an immediate declaration of a national emergency to expedite construction of the wall. “I’m not going to do it so fast,” he said.

Presidential senior adviser Jared Kushner is formulating plans for negotiating budget and immigration issues with Congressional leaders and their staff representatives.

In Davos, Switzerland, the president’s delegation has arrived for the first of three days of the World Economic Forum. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will join them when he concludes his Middle East trip.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, who did not attend any of the Court’s oral arguments this week because she is recuperating from cancer surgery, said through a spokesperson that she will remain at home doing her work remotely next week as well.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For President Trump, Jared Kushner, and others among the president’s team, as they sort through new strategies toward negotiating an end to the government shutdown and still achieving border security.
  • For the health and safety of the president’s economic representatives at the World Economic Forum.
  • For Associate Justice Ginsburg to regain her strength and health and be able to return to her full panoply of duties at the Supreme Court.

U.S. and China Wrap Up Trade Talks

After 3 days, negotiations in Beijing come to an end

On Wednesday, U.S. and Chinese negotiators wrapped up their 3-day long trade talks. According to American negotiators, focus was placed on discussing Chinese purchases of a "substantial amount" of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services from the U.S. They also appeared to make progress regarding China's purchase of American exports and giving U.S. companies greater access to its market.

This meeting in Beijing was the first formal negotiations held between the two countries since the truce agreed to by U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in December. In a statement, China said that the trade talks "improved mutual understanding and laid the foundation for resolving issues of mutual concern." President Trump also seemed very optimistic about the meetings stating that "talks with China are going very well!"

Stocks this week have also rebounded, signaling that there may soon be an agreement reached between the two nations.

Sources: CNN, Fox News
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For wisdom for President Trump and his negotiation team as they continue to work with China to find a compromise to their trade problems
  • For Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his team as they meet with the U.S. negotiating team
  • That God would grant compromise and continue to remove hostility between the U.S. and China

Secretary Pompeo Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq

Meetings Held With Iraqi Leadership in Baghdad and Erbil

As a part of a tour to reassure allies of the US's commitment to security and stability in the Middle East, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid a surprise visit to Iraq on Wednesday. His first stop was in Baghdad, where he met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul al-Mahdi and other Iraqi leaders. He then moved on to Erbil, where he met with members of the Iraqi Kurdistan government.

During his meeting with Iraqi leaders, Secretary Pompeo discussed how the U.S. could support Iraqi Security Forces "to ensure ISIS' lasting defeat." He also discussed President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. "We're having conversations with them even as we speak about how we will effectuate this in a way that protects our forces, make sure that the Americans as we withdraw are safe," Secretary Pompeo stated. He also pointed out that making sure that "those folks that fought with us" are protected as the U.S. departs from Syria.

Sources: CNN
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For traveling safety for Secretary Pompeo and his team.
  • For wisdom for President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and all other leaders in charge of overseeing the departure of U.S. troops from Syria.
  • For continued protection for U.S. troops and U.S. allied troops as they continue to work to keep peace in the Middle East.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

President Donald Trump has no public events scheduled for Saturday. With news from the doctors at Walter Reed saying that the president is “in very good health and will remain so for the duration of his presidency and beyond,” he may take time out for some relaxation this weekend. With Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and a large negotiating delegation in Beijing, President Trump is keeping a close eye on the status of trade talks. His son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, will be traveling to the Middle East next week for talks in a number of countries about the economic parts of a future peace deal, so President Trump will doubtless also be meeting with him on last-minute details.

Last night, President Trump said that the second summit with Kim Jong Un will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 and 28. He said that he has hope that North Korea will grow as an “economic powerhouse” as it distances itself from its nuclear missile program.

Members of the Homeland Security Conference Committee said they would use the weekend to resolve remaining concerns and aim to have legislative text on Monday. Inside the House of Representatives, a new rule requires any bill to be posted 72 hours ahead of a vote, so that narrows the window of opportunity to meet the February 15 deadline to avoid another government shutdown.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • With thanksgiving for the good health report on President Trump.
  • For the president and his close advisers as they pay attention to the trade negotiations in China and finish preparing Jared Kushner for his Middle East trip.
  • That the conference committee on Homeland Security will indeed have legislative language ready to go on Monday, and that the proposed bill will be in the best interest of the nation.

Review of President State of the Union Address

Priorities include Addressing Illegal Immigration and Rising Healthcare Costs

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address. In his speech, the president recognized two great anniversaries America will celebrate this year: the 75th anniversary of the Allied liberation of Europe in World War II and the 50th anniversary since Americans landed on the moon. The president then took some time to reflect on all of his Administration's achievements during his first two years in office.

Following this, he shared some of his goals for the upcoming year. This included tackling the issues of illegal immigration, human trafficking, and the opioid crisis. In addition to this, he stated that lowering the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs is also a top priority for him. President Trump closed his speech by saying, "Our most thrilling achievements are still ahead. Our most exciting journeys still await. Our biggest victories are still to come. We have not yet begun to dream."

Sources: The White House
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For President Trump as he works to combat the issues of illegal immigration, rising healthcare costs, and other issues our country will face this year.
  • For members of Congress, as they will work with the President to bring about change.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will meet with the president of Colombia, Ivan Duque Marquez and the Colombian First Lady Maria Juliana Ruiz Sandoval at the White House today. In the afternoon, President Trump will deliver remarks at the Major County Sheriffs and Major Cities Chiefs Association Joint Conference.

The Middle East summit hosted by the U.S. begins today in Warsaw, Poland. Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and senior presidential adviser Jared Kushner are among those attending the two-day event. They are expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while at the summit.

Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are in China’s capital for high-level trade talks on Thursday and Friday with the Chinese vice premier. They are eager to hammer out a deal on trade before a March 1 deadline set as the date for another escalation of tariffs.

Staffers of House and Senate members of the border security conference committee reached a compromise early this week and are working to produce the bill. They still need to account for the 72 hours preview period before it can come to a vote. They also are looking to secure President Trump’s signature and prevent another government shutdown before Friday.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For President Trump and President Marquez of Colombia to have a productive and amicable meeting.
  • For all attending the summit on Middle East peace in Warsaw to work toward development of an agreement that would benefit all parties.
  • For the negotiators in China to be able to secure a workable end to the “trade war” in time to meet the March 1 tariff deadline.

The President's Schedule

  • 12:00PM EST The President and THE FIRST LADY participate in the arrival of the President of the Republic of Colombia and Mrs. Ruiz Sandoval
  • 12:10PM EST The President and THE FIRST LADY meet with the President of the Republic of Colombia and Mrs. Ruiz Sandoval
  • 12:30PM EST The President participates in an expanded working lunch with the President of the Republic of Colombia
  • 1:30PM EST The President and THE FIRST LADY participate in the departure of the President of the Republic of Colombia and Mrs. Ruiz Sandoval
  • 3:00PM EST The President delivers remarks at the Major County Sheriffs and Major Cities Chiefs Association Joint Conference

Congress Comes to Agreement on Border Security

President Trump says he’s not happy

When President Trump signed a stop-gap spending bill, he told lawmakers they have until February 15 to arrive at a compromise over a border wall, or a second shutdown could occur. For the past two weeks, members of both chambers of Congress and from both major political parties have negotiated on border security and spending in an attempt to avoid such a shutdown.

Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama and Representative Nita Lowey of New York announced that the committee “made a deal in principle” following a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill. Senator Shelby said their staffs are working “feverishly” to put all the particulars together.

President Trump said he has reservations about the deal, but he does not think parts of the government will shut down for the second time. He did not immediately commit to signing the agreement, but is taking a wait-and-see position until the final legislative piece is presented. Legislation is expected by late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

In a Cabinet meeting, he said, “I’m not happy.” However, he added, “I don’t think you’re going to see a shutdown.”

Sources: Town hall, CNBC
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For the staff attorneys who are working on putting together the legislation that will include all of the particulars of the bipartisan border deal.
  • For President Trump as he decides whether to sign the measure once he sees the final details.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

President Donald Trump is spending the weekend with First Lady Melania Trump and other family members at their Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. He does not have any public events scheduled.

Vice President Mike Pence is in Germany for the three-day Munich Security Conference. The closed-door high-stakes meetings are bringing together an unprecedented number of international decision-makers, including the largest U.S. delegation ever. A multitude of international organizations is represented, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Commitments to NATO are high on the agenda.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For a restorative weekend in Florida for the First Family.
  • For Vice President Mike Pence and the rest of the American delegation attending the Munich Security Conference.
  • For plans that President Trump is making for his summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, at the end of this month with Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea.

President Signs Border Deal

Avoids second government shutdown

On Friday afternoon, President Trump officially signed a bipartisan spending bill that appropriates $1.375 billion to the border wall, thus avoiding a second partial government shutdown.

Prior to signing the bill, he addressed reporters in the White House Rose Garden about other funding options available for building the wall, declaring a national emergency at the border.

His speech included an emotional appeal, as he asked “Angel Moms,” mothers and wives of people slain by illegal immigrants, to hold up photos of their deceased family members to the assembled reporters.

Officials familiar with the president’s plans say that President Trump will attempt to begin construction on the wall nearly immediately and that the funding available to him will be tapped sequentially to head off any potential court challenges. White House officials also told reporters that the president would veto any attempts by Congress to override the national emergency.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, Daily Caller
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For President Trump and his legal team at the White House as they prepare for certain challenges to his declaration of a national emergency.
  • For the “Angel Moms” and their families as they band together to stand against violence committed against them.

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