Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

A massive gun battle between rival drug and migrant trafficking gangs near the U.S. border Thursday has left 21 people dead and at least six others wounded. The fire fight occurred in a sparsely populated area about 12 miles from the Arizona border, near the city of Nogales. The region is a major corridor for illegal immigrant and drug smuggling. . Gangs often fight for control of trafficking routes and often steal “shipments” of illegal migrants from each other. This gun battle takes the level of conflict to a much bolder and bloodier level. Arizona has incited international controversy over its recent passage of law empowering state law enforcement officers to seek identification of suspected illegal immigrants.

Let’s pray…

“God, we pray for peace on the Mexican – Arizona border. We ask that you would intervene and break the grip of drug lords and human traffickers. Give U.S. and Mexican officials courage and wisdom to enforce justice. Protect the victims on both sides of the border. God, this will take a miracle and the solution will take your hand working in many areas. We ask that the demand for drugs in America would be broken. We ask that the demand driving sex trafficking would be broken. We ask that economic conditions in Mexico would improve so that residents there can find hope and reason to remain in their homeland. Work your will of peace and hope in this desperate situation. In Jesus we pray.”

 

More than 1.3 million laid-off workers won’t get their unemployment benefits reinstated before the Independence Day holiday weekend. Republicans in the Senate again successfully filibustered a bill Wednesday night that would continue providing unemployment checks to people laid off for long stretches. The House is slated to vote on a similar measure Thursday, though the Senate’s vote makes the House action a futile gesture. The benefits would have been made available through the end of November, and cost of $33.9 billion which would have been borrowed, adding to the budget deficit.

“God, government is not the solution to our national economic problems or the problems of those individuals suffering without income. You are our provider. We ask today for favor and blessing on those who have suffered lay-offs from work during this economic turndown. For those without income, or with minimal income we ask that you would provide for them in creative and consistent ways. Bring them hope and faith. Guard them against fear and hopelessness. Give them courage and incentive and ideas for how to navigate these crisis in their lives. Provide! It is your nature and your very name. In Jesus name we pray…”

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a major blow to religious liberty yesterday. In a 5-4 decision the high Court determined that a California law school (Hastings College of Law) can require a Christian group to open its leadership posts to all students, including those who disagree with the organizations statement of faith.

At stake here is a basic question, “What does it mean to belong?” According to the Court inclusion in a population widely defined by the State holds sway over a population narrowly defined by a private organization. In short, a religious body basedwithin a State established institution can not determine its own boundaries. The State now defines identity! So how much more power will the government claim in our own lives and over our private institutions? This decision signals a dangerous shift in the fundamental nature of American life and in particular religious faith.

“God, we thank you for the tradition of religious liberty in the United States. We thank you for the freedom to associate as we choose, to worship as our conscious dictates, and to believe according to the dictates of our convictions. We pray now that you will guard these liberties in an era when our government seems intent on limiting them. Step in by your own direct intervention as well as through the active intervention of your people to stem the tide of governmental intrusion into the spiritual convictions of private citizens. God, we ask for a renewal and revival of faithful passion. Ignite a rising fire of passion in us to stand against this erosion of freedom. Give us courage to defend our rights, and a gentleness and humility to do so with grace and love for those who stand against us. God, bless America, in and under the name and Lordship of Jesus…”

The Senate has lost one of its legends.  Robert C. Byrd died around 3 a.m. Monday morning after being admitted to the hospital last week.

Byrd was an orphan child who married a coal miner’s daughter and rose from the hollows of West Virginia coal country to become the longest serving senator in U.S. history. Byrd literally wrote the book on the U.S. Senate, a four-volume history of the upper chamber.  His younger colleagues almost always deferred to him when it came to Senate procedures.

West Virginia’s Democratic governor Manchin will now appoint a successor to serve out the remainder of Byrd’s term.

Our prayers go up for Robert Byrd’s family and friends, and for the Senate and the State of West Virginia. We also pray for Governor Manchin as he chooses Byrd’s replacement.

“God we thank you for the men and women who give their lives in the service of our country. We thank you for Robert Byrd. May he rest in peace and may his family and friends, and the State of West Virginia know  the comfort that only you can provide in times of loss. Give the Senate of the United States another great statesmen who will rise to champion the right of individuals and the right role of government in and under our great Constitution. Give Governor Manchin insight and courage to make the right choice in Byrd’s temporary replacement. In Jesus we pray…”