Dear Father, it has been reported that former Mesa, AZ police officer Philip Brailsford was acquitted of the charge of murder in the shooting of Daniel Shaver in a Mesa hotel in January 2016. Video of the encounter shows a distraught Mr. Shaver crawling submissively down the hotel hallway towards the officer, seemingly following the officer’s instructions. Mr. Shaver suddenly reaches for the back of his pants, leading Officer Brailsford to fatally shoot him. The jury believed the defense’s case that the officer interpreted Mr. Shaver’s action as a reach for a weapon. The prosecution did not convince the jury that Mr. Shaver was simply reaching to adjust his shorts that were falling down. Father, I cannot speak of the the truth in this matter. However, I do know lives have been transformed by the incident. Mr. Shaver’s widow, Laney Sweet, must now raise their two young daughters without the presence, love, and guidance of the girl’s biological father. She needs Your help. She needs Your guidance. She needs Your provision and protection. The girls need a godly father figure in their lives. They need to be guided away from destructive life choices that are not uncommon in the lives of children who are without a father. Father, I pray that all three ladies will encounter the love, strength, provision, guidance, and protection of their heavenly Father. Draw them to Yourself and give all three inspiring testimonies of Your love. I also pray for Philip Brailsford. Now that the murder charge is behind him, I pray that You will transform his life. May he become a man of faith. May he be forgiven of his rebellion from You, something we all need for ourselves. May his passion in life become the sharing of Your love with people who have lost hope. Father, I pray for justice in other criminal trials throughout this nation. May those who have committed a crime be convicted and may those who have not be acquitted. Father, guide jurys accordingly. Amen.
Dear Father, it has been reported that Pope Francis would like to change the text of the Lord’s Prayer. Specifically, he would like to change the phrase “lead us not into temptation.” He is concerned that the text leads people to conclude that You may tempt us to sin unless we ask You not to. Father, the Greek word used for temptation, Peirasmos, is also the word used for a “test”. You allow us to enter into situations where we are tempted by the evil one or by ungodly associates. You do not do the tempting. Someone else does. However, you allow us to be in that situation to test what choices we will make. Will we remain obedient or will we surrender to the temptation? Father, You and I might be out for a walk. You might lead me to a street corner where some people are selling illegal drugs. The drug sellers are the ones who tempt me to sin. You do not. However, You will watch to see what I do on that street corner. Will I buy the drugs? Or, will I reject the offer? Jesus is asking us to pray that You would not lead us to a street corner where the tempters are simply too strong or we are too weak to resist. In other words, You are continuously aware of our spiritual strength at any given moment. Sometimes we are stronger than at other times. I believe Jesus is teaching us to ask You not to allow us to be tempted by others when we are struggling in faith. It is when we are strong in our faith that You allow a test to show how strong we are. The test is intended by You to prove we will be victorious in obedience, not to prove we will fail in disobedience. Father, lead us not into a test of our faith when we are spiritually weak but deliver us from evil in those moments when we just don’t have the strength to resist. Amen.
Dear Father, it is that time of year when men and women across America will plow our streets and highways. I thank You for them. I thank You for the equipment that they use. I pray You will keep them safe this season – from accidents, injury, and illness. Many will work in the early morning hours. Many will work at the height of the most brutal weather conditions. Father, I ask that You protect them. Keep them warm and strong. Talk to them while they plow. Get them to think about their relationship with You and the state of their lives. Lead them to Yourself. May they cry out to You for help as they struggle with issues in their personal lives. I pray that many of those who plow our streets will come to faith in You this winter. Inspire and empower ministries that outreach to the snow plowing community. Amen.