Dear Father, I read a report today of a man in Bihar, India who was forced at gunpoint to marry a woman. The region is said to have a long history of gang violence as families seek the help of organized crime to carry out abductions and forced marriage. Forced marriage is also prevalent in Pakistan, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, South Africa, Niger, Gambia, Afghanistan, Iran, Sri Lanka , and with the Roma populations in Europe. Why? Poor families often encourage their children into forced marriage because the family receives financial benefits or influence in return. Many cultures discriminate against those who never marry which leads families to take desperate steps to make sure their family member is married. There are cults in the US who have been charged with kidnapping girls to satisfy the needs of polygamous men. With the legal system and public opinion in these nations favorable to forced marriage, many victims view suicide as their only escape. Immigrants in societies where forced marriage are outlawed often transport a victim overseas and then return them married. Father, Your design for marriage is that it should be two people who both voluntarily and willingly enter into the relationship pledging faithfulness and devotion. You never intended marriage to be a tool for people to accumulate wealth, satisfying their desires for pleasure, or obtain power. I am asking for You to rescue men and women today who are targeted for forced marriage. Save them from the experience. Liberate those who are held captive in a forced marriage. Father, shower love upon the victims. Show them what true love is. Father, may there be victims of forced marriage all over the world today who find hope from You. Father, move Your church in every nation to minister to the victims and to fight for their justice. Father, please answer the prayers of all victims of forced marriage who cry out to you today. Amen.
Dear Father, we had a severe winter storm in New England yesterday. The storm consisted of heavy snow, strong winds, bitter cold temperatures, and coastal flooding. While most people were warm and safe in their homes, utility workers, snow removal workers, and first responders were braving the storm for the benefit of everyone else. Father, I believe in Your common grace. You love the entire human race so much that You have given us all blessings such as hospitals, fire departments, police departments, transportation systems, and public utilities. You use natural disasters to remind us what life would be like without all of these blessings. Father, thank You for all of these things. Thank You for the men and women who serve the public good. I pray that You will hear the prayers of these workers today. Have mercy on them. I ask that Your church will take the lead in expressing our appreciation for all that they do. May Your church in every state welcome these public servants into our communities. Amen.
Dear Father, the media is talking about Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. It is an an alleged expose of what insiders in the White House really think of Donald Trump and it is not flattering of his intelligence or character. The book provides “evidence” to back the beliefs of those who most dislike Donald Trump. President Trump has taken legal action against the book, the author, and the publisher. In fact, the author has admitted in the book that he is not 100% confident that his sources were reliable. Critics of the book believe the author manipulated “evidence” to support the narrative that Trump is unfit for office. Mr. Wolff, a former reporter for USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, and GQ, was accused in 2004 of using his imagination rather than knowledge of events in his reporting at The New Republic, a liberal progressive magazine. Father, how do I pray about this book? I ask that truth is victorious with this book. Whatever is true, right, and honorable defeats all that is false, wrong, and dishonorable. If there has been malicious character assasination, may it be exposed and may the impact be minimal. If the allegations against Trump asserted by the book are true, I ask that the public will long for political candidates in coming elections who have good characters and high morales. May the public long for candidates who don’t use hyperbole in their campaigns but instead focus on logical and reasoned solutions for problems our society faces. Father, I ask that discussion about this book leads to a more mature and sophisticated populace who demands integrity and honor from not only their political candidates but also from the media. Father, Michael Wolff was created by You. He has insecurities and struggles like all of us. I ask You to use Michael’s weaknesses to lead him to a personal relationship with You. May Michael’s future writings detail his experience when His loving Creator transforms his life. Amen.