Dear Father, it has been reported that Nicolas Maduro has won re-election as the President of Venezuela. He allegedly received over 60% of the vote while having a 75% disapproval rating among the electorate. Many voters stayed home on election day believing the election was rigged in Maduro’s favor. The election of Maduro, the political heir of leftist Hugo Chavez, has been condemned by the international community. Venezuela has been suffering from a devastating economic crisis. The country is struggling with hyperinflation, food and medicine shortages, rising crime, and a broken infrastructure. The country has experienced a 45% drop in GDP since Maduro took office. This has led to violent unrest and the exodus of many Venezuelans from the country that is said to have the world’s largest oil reserves. The country is also facing new U.S. sanctions and the threat of an oil embargo due to allegations of drug trafficking, extortion, money laundering, and embezzlement by government officials. Father, the people of Venezuela need a savior. They need You. Father, move in this country. May Your Spirit penetrate every city, town, village, and home. Rescue the innocent. Provide for them. Protect them. Open the eyes of those who are deceived. Give people a desire to find You and lead them on the path that will lead them to You. Strengthen and empower Your church in Venezuela. May their acts of compassion spark a revival that sweeps through the land. Father, I pray for truth, justice, and righteousness in the government. Cast out corruption. Put men and women into office who desire to build a righteous nation where faith in You is celebrated. Father, bring about the just changes the people of Venezuela are crying out for this very day. Amen.
Dear Father, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex invited Rev. Bishop Michael Curry, the head of the U.S. Episcopal Church since November 2015, to deliver the sermon at their wedding Saturday at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. The bishop is an African American and his sermon to the British royals on international television has been celebrated around the world. He spoke of the power of love to change the world. He said that true love can only come from a relationship with the only source of love, which is You. He spoke of true love being a fire that can achieve social justice throughout the earth. He called on people to love You with all of their heart, soul, and mind. He spoke of true love being sacrificial, unconditional, and redemptive. Father, I was touched by the sermon myself, finding quite a few points that were in concert with my understanding of Your Word. The bishop’s sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has given the liberal-leaning bishop, a descendant of slaves, sudden fame. Father, I lift up the man Michael Curry today. May his sudden celebrity not lead him into pride. Draw him into an even more committed relationship to You. May he long for an ever greater understanding of Your Word. May he surrender his heart to You in entirety. May the words of his mouth and the actions of his hands and feet demonstrate what a true disciple of Jesus Christ looks like. Transform his character more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. With these things in order, give his ministry power to transform hearts in America and around the world. Amen.
Dear Father, former police officer Roger Self, 63, has been charged with two counts of first degree murder. He allegedly went into the Surf and Turf Lounge in Bessemer City, NC and sat with his daughter Katelyn daughter-in-law Amanda, perhaps making sure they had a window seat. He then went outside, got into the car, and drove it full speed through the very same window and into the restaurant, killing both women and injuring other guests. It has been reported that Roger may have been suffering from mental illness. Father, I ask for Your mercy and compassion for all who suffer because of this crime. Show Your love to the survivors. Help the people who were injured to heal physically. Help all who witnessed the event to heal emotionally. Comfort those who grieve the loss or suffering of loved ones. I pray that Your church will effectively demonstrate the love of God to all who have been impacted. Father, bring spiritual healing to Roger Self. Use the legal system to lead him to encounter with prison minitries where his heart will be transformed. Amen.
Dear Father, two men were attacked Saturday morning by a cougar 30 miles east of Seattle, Washington. SJ Brooks was killed by the animal. Isaac Sederbaum is recovering from his wounds in a nearby hospital. The cougar was subsequently captured and euthanized. I pray for Your grace this day on the family and friends of SJ Brooks. Comfort them. Walk with them through their grief. May they encounter Your amazing love in this very difficult time and may those encounters lead to their spiritual renewal. I also pray for the full emotional and physical healing of Isaac Sederbaum. He no doubt has special needs this day, having experienced a cougar kill his friend and attack himself. Give him the treatment he needs to be able to return to normal life. However, I also pray that this event will lead him into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with You. Amen.
Dear Father, the names of the deceased from the Santa Fe High School shooting have been released. Ann Perkins was substitute teaching. Cynthia Tisdale was the art teacher whose classroom was invaded by the shooter, Dimitrios Pagourtzis. The eight students who died were Shana Fisher, Chris Stone, Sabika Sheikh (a Pakistani exchange student), Angelique Ramirez, Kim Vaughan, Aaron Kyle McLeod, Christian Garcia, and Jared Black. It has been alleged that Shana Fisher’s rejection of Dimitrios’ requests for a date may have been the primary motivation for the shooting. Shana was shot in the face, leaving her body unrecognizable for her divorced parents to recognize, according to officials. Father, I ask for Your amazing love to pour into these ten families. Comfort them. Walk with them through their grief. Meet their every need. Bring godly men and women into their lives who show Your love through wonderful acts of mercy and kindness. Father, turn this tragedy into a moment of spiritual transformation and renewal for all involved. May forgiveness be miraculous. I also pray for the family of Dimitrios Pagourtzis. I heard they have fled from their home. Father, hear their prayers. Engineer divine appointments where they encounter godly people with messages of love and grace from You. Father, defeat the evil our enemy intended to accomplish through this horror. Turn it into something that is inspiring and uplifting for many, not just today but in the years to come. Amen.