Prayer, Plain and Simple

Evacuations are under way in some Oklahoma City neighborhoods as residents deal with vicious flash-flooding and scattered power outages. More thunderstorms are heading their way.  Almost 10 inches of rain fell between 2 and 11 a.m. this morning. Another1 to 2 more inches of rain is likely across the region through tonight night, with locally higher amounts. These heavy downpours are caused by what meteorologist call “backbuilding thunderstorms,” a series of heavy rain cores without intermittent periods of let-up.

Let’s pray for folks in Oklahoma. The last few days have seen a torrent of deadly storms in Oklahoma and Arkansas. Let’s ask God for mercy and peace!

“God, we pray for the citizens of Oklahoma City suffering now from flash floods. Keep them safe from harm and give them wisdom and calm to deal with this crisis. Give officials a supernatural ability to make good decisions and to communicate clearly with one another and with residents. We also ask you directly to calm to storms. Stop the rain, Lord. Lift your and of mercy and turn the storms in other directions, into places where the rain is actually needed. Distribute it widely so that all the places that need rain will get it, and those places where they have had too much will have relief. You are the God of storms. You do not cause crisis, but you can step in with calm. And with those who have suffered injury or loss, you can bring something good from this crisis. In Jesus we pray.”

Pray for the victims and their families of the Arkansas floods today. Dozens of campers remain missing after the Caddo and Little Missouri rivers were hit with flash floods following heavy rains.  At least 20 people were killed and as many as 40 remain unaccounted for.  The campgrounds, about 75 miles west of Little Rock, were packed with vacationing families from Louisiana and Texas.  It is unlikely that those missing fled the area after the flood since nearly everyone lost a vehicle flood.

“God, we pray for the victims and their families of the Arkansas floods. We pray for rescue workers. Give them wisdom and strength and direction to find any survivors. Give comfort to those who have lost loved ones. Give calm in a stormy time. We trust you, though do not understand… In Jesus we depend and to Jesus we turn…”  




California has a $20 billion budget deficit – ouch – which may be why Republican voters in the California primary election on Tuesday chose two financial wonderwomen to run for two huge statewide offices. Former eBay chief Meg Whitman won a decisive victory in the Republican primary for California governor – she’ll run against former governor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown. And former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, won the GOP nod to go up against sitting U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) in November.

Both women poured millions of the own fortunes into their campaigns. Both promise fiscal responsibility and a no-nonsense frugality. But both face a huge uphill battle to challenge the entrenched political systems in Sacramento and in Washington. It’s not business as usual here and now. And what works in the boardroom doesn’t necessarily work in the halls of government.

I grew up in California. And honestly, it really is a dreamland of beauty and spirit. I now live in Minnesota, but I do get to travel to the golden state next week. California has always been a bellwether. As tough as things can get, California always seems to rise with a new hope and courage to lead real change. This spirit tends to lead the nation.

Today I’m praying for California and for her renewal and revival. Join me in some spiritual “California Dreamin’.”

“God, not all places on the planet are created equal. The land we now call ‘California’ got a double portion of blessing from your hand. A breathtaking coastline, a bountiful central valley, staggering mountains, deserts, abundant sunshine… This land has always attracted dreamers and pioneers looking for new start and a place to begin again. Today California is struggling. Many of her people are trapped in financial crises. There’s confusion and bitter partisanship in the governments of the State and counties and cities. Business is in recession there. God, we ask you to revisit California with you hand of blessing and peace and prosperity. Bring a wave of renewal not first economically, but spiritually. Wake up those who have a heart for you, to rise and seek your face. Begin a revival there, of hope and holiness and a desire to see your face. God, renew California and let them lead the way toward TRUE change across our nation. In Jesus…”

Helen Thomas has “gotten the hell out of Washington” after telling Jews to “get the hell out of Israel.” The now former 89-year old “dean” of the White House press corps has been forced into retirement by Hearst Media after saying that Jews should return “home” to Poland and Germany and to give the land named “Israel” back to the Palestinians. Thomas later apologized for her verbal dysentery. But as we know,… “from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Helen, it’s clear what’s in your heart…

Yes, yes, God cares about the Palestinian people. He promises to provide for anyone no matter their culture or race or nationality, anyone who turns to him for help. That said, the land north of the River, west of the Desert, and east of the Sea rightly called Israel (not Palestine) was given by God to the Jewish people. It is a decree thousands of years old. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Osama bin Laden and Helen Thomas may want it otherwise, but the fact remains: that land belongs to the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. End of story!

What’s troubling today – I smelled it in the news cycles all week – is the blatant reassertion of what can only be called anti-Semitism. That’s right! Let’s name it what it is, and as we do remember well that we’ve been here before. The world press, the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab States, Asia, and most of the developing world are blasting and isolating tiny Israel. Even the United State (God have mercy upon us) is shunning this nation, our only true friend in the region mind you!

The matter is weird and haunting and eerie, like something out the back pages of the New Testament (Reader be wise!)  The mood is more than political shuffling, more than economic posturing for oil or military positioning, or a clamoring for import and export access. What’s astir is an irrational, subliminal “spiritual” reality up the dark side of hell itself. “  There are only around 12 million Jews in the whole world! Why are they so hated? Don’t believe in God? Try explaining a rational reason the world’s hatred of the Jewish people. When you fail at least admit you believe in the Devil. For just as God carries a special love for his people, the Jews, so the enemy of God, Satan holds a special hatred for these, the “apple of his eye.”  Before we go too far, again… Let’s pause, repent, and cooperate with God in this matter…

“God, forgive us for neglecting, resisting, even opposing your purposes in history, particularly with and for your Jewish people. God, where we have cursed them restore a blessing. In the wake of this current assault of opinion against them, revive them with hope and faith that knows and rests in the fact that you alone are their protection and strength. Though the whole world rejects them, you will not! Bless Israel and the Jewish people today, again, and finally. And in your time reveal to them their Messiah, the One Anointed to bring the Kingdom… In the Name of that Anointed One, may he come… Again!”