Dear Father, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has lifted the ban on female drivers in Saudi Arabia. The lives of women all across that Islamic nation have been changed overnight. They now have the freedom to drive to work, to take their children to school, and to go out on errands without having to ask a male chauffeur or relative to drive them. Women who obtained their driver’s license in nearby countries are already driving. With many driving schools for women quickly opening up, it is anticipated that nearly 3 million women will be on the road by 2020. Experts believe the prince has made this move, along with lifting the ban on cinemas and mixed-gender concerts, to strengthen an economy that is losing oil revenues. It has been estimated that allowing women to drive will add $ 90 billion to economic output by 2030. However, the news is not good for female activists who have been campaigning for the right for women to drive. Many are still behind bars, guilty of taking a public stand against kingdom policies. The prince has made it clear that it is he alone who gave the women the right to drive and it was not the result of the work of any activists. This position is seen as an effort to prevent the inspiration of other activists in the nation. There is no right in Saudi Arabia to protest against the government. Father, I ask that You will use this policy change in Saudi Arabia to grow Your church. May this new policy make it easier for women in this Islamic nation to hear the message of Jesus Christ and to serve one another in ministry in Your name. I also ask that You will free the female activists who were imprisoned for their effort to give women the right to drive. Meet their needs and I ask that each one of them will experience the blessing of having a personal relationship with You. Amen.
Dear Father, feathers are getting ruffled in the European Union. After a wave of refugee immigration into Europe created cultural, economic, and political problems for European governments, many of those governments are now reversing their policies, seeking to prevent further immigration by refugees. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration is in trouble as many in Germany want to put a stop to the influx of more immigrants. The new Italian government won election after a populist revolt against immigration. The government has denied the right of relief ships in the Mediterranean to dock in Italian ports. Those ships, containing hundreds of refugees, were forced to sail on to other countries such as Spain. French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed his frustration with Italy’s new policy. He is proposing that any European Union country that does accept immigrants should suffer economic sanctions. His stance was met with anger from the Italian government in Rome. European Union leaders are expected to meet in Belgium to resolve differences on immigration policy. Father, give these European leaders wisdom and understanding. Help them to strike the appropriate balance between extending compassion to poor and needy refugees and to the maintenance of economic and civil order in each of their countries. Inspire the European Union leaders to come up with a solution that works for both native citizens and for immigrants. Amen.
Dear Father, 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz dreamed of becoming a police officer. He was in the Zesarina Grocery store on East 183rd Street in Bronx, NY when two members of the Trinitarios gang dragging him out of the store and stabbed him to death. He was mistaken for another teen that was accused of sexually violating a relative of one of the gang members. Five suspects have been arrested. Many residents of the area mourn Lesandro’s death as he was considered one of the good kids. There are also complaints that no bystanders defended the young boy. He collapsed trying to walk to a local hospital. Father, I ask for Your mercy and grace to be abundant in the lives of Lesandro’s family and friends who grieve his death. Comfort them. Bring the love of Your church into their lives. Meet their every need. Walk with them through this nightmare. Lead them to a deeper understanding of Your love and grace. Use this tragedy to bring people into deeper relationships with You. Use this tragedy to open up new ministries in the neighborhood and within the gangs. Father, give the families justice but also give the perpetrators spiritual forgiveness by all five of them coming to faith in Jesus Christ at some point in their lives. Father, turn this horror into a testimony of Your goodness. Write new testimonies in people’s lives today that will inspire many others tomorrow. Amen.
Dear Father, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the White House Press secretary. As the spokeswoman for the Trump Administration, she articulates President Trump’s policies to the press who reports the news to the world. Critics of President Trump also blame Sarah for her failure to resign from her position in protest to Trump’s policies. Sarah went out to dinner with friends last Friday night at The Red Hen in Lexington, VA. The popular restaurant is owned by Stephanie Wilkinson. A number of her employees are themselves critics of President Trump, especially with regards to his policies on transgenders and immigration. When Sarah’s party was seated at the table, an employee alerted Stephanie Wilkinson. The owner came to the restaurant and asked her employees what they would like her to do. It was agreed that Sarah should be asked to leave. Stephanie asked Sarah to step outside where she explained Sarah and her party would need to leave the restaurant. Sarah and her friends cooperated. An employee of The Red Hen posted on social media that they had kicked Sarah Huckabee Sanders out of their restaurant. A liberal publication shared the post throughout the country. This led Sarah Huckabee Sanders to both confirm the incident and criticize the restaurant owner’s decision in her own post on social media. A national controversy errupted. Many people have pledged never to visit the restaurant again while many others have expressed their support for the owner. Father, I pray this day for all the parties in this story. I ask that Your grace will pour out into Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ life. Meet her every need and lead her into a closer walk with You. I ask the same for Stephanie Wilkinson. May she experience Your deep love for her in such a profound way that her life is transformed. May she experience peace and joy through You that she has never experienced before. For the sake of all who depended upon her restaurant for their livelihood, I ask that You will help this restaurant recover from the negative publicity. May they move forward cheerfully serving all who desire to dine at their restaurant, regardless of the diner’s political beliefs. Amen.