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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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President Announces Sanctions on Countries Importing Iranian Oil

Hoping to lessen income for Iranian regime

President Donald Trump announced this week that he "has decided not to reissue" waivers regarding sanctions against countries importing Iranian oil. These waivers are set to expire on May 2 of this year. Countries that continue to import oil from Iran after this date will face U.S. sanctions. This includes India, China, South Korea, Japan, and Turkey.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the United States' goal in not renewing waivers is "to deprive the outlaw regime [in Iran] of the funds it had used to destabilize the Middle East for four decades." According to Secretary Pompeo, in order to make up for the loss of oil for Iran in the global market, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to "ensure an appropriate supply for the markets." The U.S. also plans to aid in the supply, seeking to increase its production in 2019.

Sources: CNN, Fox News
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For wisdom for President Trump as he oversees this new policy regarding Iranian oil and any potential conflicts that may arise as a result.
  • For wisdom for other world leaders that are affected by this new policy as they decide how they will proceed in the coming weeks.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

President Donald Trump will travel to Green Bay, Wisconsin for a campaign event. This marks his first visit to Wisconsin in nearly three years and his first visit to the greater Green Bay area since taking office. The campaign event will be held at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon and it is expected that 8,400 people will attend.
The president is also hosting Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House and is expected to play a round of golf with him. Prime Minister Abe arrived at the White House on Friday to discuss a possible trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan. President Trump has two future visits to Japan scheduled in May and June.
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For safety for the president as he travels to Wisconsin for the campaign event.
  • For guidance for President Trump as he attends the campaign event and meets with Prime Minister Abe.
  • For continued wisdom for the president as he dialogues with Japan about a trade agreement.

President May Withdraw from Global Arms Agreement

Makes announcement at NRA conference

Speaking on Friday to the annual convention of the National Rifle Association, President Trump said the United States will pull out of an international arms treaty signed in 2013. He said he intends to revoke the status of the U.S. as a signatory of the Arms Trade Treaty, which was never ratified by the Senate.

“We’re taking our signature back,” he said, and indicated the United Nations would soon receive formal notice of America’s dropping out.

The treaty regulates the $70 billion business in conventional arms, and seeks to keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers.

Sources: Reuters, Washington Post
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For President Trump and his foreign relations advisers in the decision to withdraw from the global arms treaty.
  • About the United Nations and their goals of greater international arms reductions.

U.S. and China to Resume Trade Talks

First talks to begin April 30

High-level trade talks between the U.S. and China are expected to resume next week. The White House said that their talks would "cover trade issues including intellectual property, forced technology transfer, non-tariff barriers, agriculture, services, purchases, and enforcement." Both sides have expressed optimism that an agreement could be struck soon.

Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing for negotiations beginning on April 30. Chinese President Xi Jinping's top economic adviser Liu He will lead a delegation to Washington for further talks, which will begin on May 8.

Sources: CNN
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For wisdom for President Donald Trump as he prepares to oversee trade negotiations with China.
  • For safe travels and wisdom for Representative Lighthizer and Secretary Mnuchin as they travel to Beijing to meet with Chinese delegates.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

President Donald Trump will be traveling to Louisiana to take part in campaign events and speak about the growing economy and the administration’s efforts to create jobs. On Monday, the president met with Shin Dong-bin, the chairman for the Lotte Group regarding the group’s recent opening of a manufacturing plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The plant is expected to create around 2,500 jobs for the region.

While in Louisiana, the president also plans to take a tour of a soon to be opened liquefied natural gas facility owned by Sempra Energy. The facility is outside of the town of Hackberry. The president is expected to also deliver remarks at the visit and will likely talk about the progress and efforts of the U.S. as they work to renegotiate a trade agreement with China.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For wisdom for the president as he speaks today.
  • For safety as the president travels.
  • For God to be at work in the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.

The President's Schedule

  • 2:00PM EDT The President participates in a walking tour of Cameron LNG Export Facility
  • 2:10PM EDT The President delivers remarks on promoting energy infrastructure and economic growth
  • 5:35PM EDT The President participates in a roundtable with supporters
  • 6:05PM EDT The President delivers remarks at a joint fundraising committee reception

Military Won’t Leave Border Until It’s Secure

Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan about fixing problem

The Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said the U.S. military would not be removing troops from the U.S.-Mexico border who have been tasked with putting up barriers and planning logistics.

“We are not going to leave until the border is secure,” he said on a trip to McAllen, Texas. “This isn’t about identifying a problem; it’s about fixing a problem more quickly.”

The military has about 4,400 troops stationed at the border to assist Customs and Border Protection, Shanahan told Congress.

Shanahan, who has been in his role since January, is expected to be nominated by President Trump to permanently fill the defense secretary position.

Sources: Fox News, Washington Examiner
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan to execute wisely the role he has while awaiting the nomination to a permanent position.
  • For the men and women of America’s military who are serving on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Secretary Pompeo Shares Iran Threat Information

Tells NATO officials threats are “escalating”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with officials of NATO in Brussels. During the meeting with America’s European allies, he shared information on “escalating” threats from Iran.

Brian Hook, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary of State, said, “The secretary wanted to share some details behind what we have been saying publicly. We believe that Iran should try talks instead of threats. They have chosen poorly by focusing on threats.”

Asked if the secretary was blaming Iran for the attacks on several oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, Hook said, “We discussed…what seemed to be attacks on commercial vessels that were anchored off Fujairah…we have been requested by the UAE to provide assistance in the investigation, which we are very glad to do.” Beyond that, he had no comment.

Sources: Reuters, CNN
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For Secretary Pompeo, Special Representative Hook, President Trump and others to have special wisdom in dealings with Iran.
  • About the escalation of threats being made by Iran against the United States, some European nations, and Israel.

Friday, May 17, 2019

President Donald Trump spent the night at Trump Tower in New York last night following a campaign event. He will depart New York en route back to Washington, D.C. this morning.

The president is expected to speak at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in the afternoon. While there, he will deliver remarks at the National Association of REALTORS Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo. Following this, he will return to the White House.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For safety for the president as he travels.
  • For the president as he plans to speak to people at the expo.
  • That God would grant the president rest following his travels.

The President's Schedule

  • 2:00PM EDT The President delivers remarks at the National Association of REALTORS Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo

U.S. Suspends Flights to Venezuela

State Department urging U.S. citizens to leave Venezuela

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has suspended all commercial passenger and cargo flights between the U.S. and Venezuela indefinitely. DHS released a statement stating that the reason for this suspension "is based on the ongoing political instability and increased tensions in Venezuela and associated inadvertent risk to flight operations."

Individual U.S. airlines had already suspended their flights to Venezuela prior to this declaration. American Airlines was the last to suspend its flights in March. In addition, the State Department has advised U.S. citizens currently in Venezuela to leave the country "via any available means" if they can do so safely.

Sources: CNN, MSN, NBC
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For the Department of Homeland Security as they continue to monitor the situation in Venezuela.
  • For safety for all those currently in Venezuela.

State Department Orders Non-Emergency Employees out of Iraq

Current tensions with Iran spark precautionary measures

On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department ordered all non-emergency U.S. government employees to depart from Iraq. Senior Department Officials stated the reason for this was as a "prudent" step amid an "imminent threat" from Iran. In addition, normal visa services will also be temporarily suspended at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil.

Officials have noted that there is a current, credible threat involving multiple Iranian-backed militia groups. The U.S. does not have any current interest or plans for military conflict with anyone in the Middle East. President Donald Trump expressed optimism that Iran will want to talk with U.S. officials soon.

Sources: CNN
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For safety for those U.S. officials currently in Iraq and Iran.
  • For wisdom for the president as he decides how the U.S. will proceed in regards to Iran.

President Trump Announces New Immigration Rules

New focus on skilled immigrants

President Trump announced on Thursday new guidelines that the United States will utilize when determining immigration applicants. The new plan is set to focus on bringing the best and brightest individuals from around the world into the country. President Trump criticized the current system saying, “We discriminate against brilliance. We won’t anymore once we get this passed.”

The plan focuses on six areas that the Trump Administration views as important for securing a bright future for the country. They are securing the border by completing a southern border wall, protecting American wages, attracting and retaining the best and brightest immigrants, prioritizing nuclear families, importing labor for critical industries, and preserving humanitarian values. The new system would set a goal of an admittance rate of 57% based on skill, 33% on family connections, and 10% for humanitarian purposes.

Sources: AP, NPR
AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For President Trump to put immigration policies in place that will help grow the U.S.
  • For the Department of Homeland Security to effectively put these new policies in place.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have no public events on their schedule today and are planning to stay in residence at the White House all weekend. They will be resting following a busy week. While they have no public events, they often take time to meet with national leaders and public officials.

Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence will be traveling to Muncie, Indiana. The vice president will deliver the commencement address at Taylor University. Following this, the vice president and second lady will return to Washington, D.C.

AS THE LORD LEADS, PRAY WITH US:
  • For rest for the president and first lady.
  • For safety for the vice president and second lady as they travel.
  • For Vice President Pence as he gives the commencement address at Taylor University.

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