Dear Father, white Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, 30, shot and killed African American Botham Jean, 26, last Thursday evening in his apartment. According to Officer Guyger, she mistakenly entered the wrong apartment and mistook Botham as an intruder in her apartment. Video taken at the scene shows a clearly distraught Amber as she laments her fatal mistake. First responders were not able to save Botham’s life. Botham worked at Pricewaterhouse Coopers and has been reported to have been a man of strong faith in You. Amber was arrested and released on $ 300,000 bond after being charged with manslaughter. Many in the community are expressing their anger that this is another case of police brutality against African Americans. Amber was involved in another shooting in May 2017 when a man fought against the police. The man was not killed. She was exonerated for her actions in that altercation. Father, pour out your compassion, mercy, and grace on the family and friends who mourn Botham’s death. Be very present in their grief, comforting them. Meet their every need. I ask that You will also strengthen their faith. Turn this tragedy into a testimony by his family that inspires many. I also pray for Amber. Come into her life as she suffers from the consequences of her action. Draw her to Yourself. May she find forgiveness through Your Son and may she feel Your comfort and peace as she journeys through the legal system. I pray that one day she will speak before audiences, declaring how You rescued her from the darkest moment of her life. Amen.
Dear Father, forecasters are predicting that Hurricane Florence, currently a Category 2 hurricane, will become a Category 4 hurricane by the time it reaches the East Coast of the United States on Thursday. Forecasters are predicting a significant storm surge along the coast and heavy flooding inland. A foot or two of rain is possible. Father, if this storm strikes, there will be property damage. If it is as severe as the most ominous forecasts, there will be loss of life. Father, prepare the victims in advance. Get their hearts ready to turn to You when the storm is upon them. May they cry out to You for help and I ask that You will graciously and mercifully respond. May this storm lead people to faith and strengthen the faith of others who have already given their lives to You. Orchestrate even today for Your church to do amazing things to serve storm victims. Amen.
Dear Father, the Chinese government, under the direction of President Xi Jinping, who is acting to consolidate his power, is increasing persecution of Christians in China. Bibles are being burned, churches are being closed, and many Christians have been forced to sign documents renouncing their faith and expressing their support for the atheistic Communist Party. Believers who do not sign the document face the consequences of the loss of government financial support for education and welfare. Persecution has been on the increase since 2012 despite the 1982 constitution that allowed for freedom of religion. There is an estimated 38 million Protestants in China, most of whom worship in secret house churches. It has been reported that churches that have been officially approved by the government have been asked to install video surveillance equipment so the government can keep an eye on worshipers. Muslims have also been targeted for persecution as many have been sent to indoctrination camps. Father, fight the persecution in church and give Yourself victory. For every Bible that is burned, transform one person’s life in China by another Bible. For every church that is closed, open another house church. Give Christians the strength and courage to support one another as they agree not to renounce their faith in You. Father, strengthen Your church in China. Expand it. Deepen it’s faith. May the church be an unstoppable force that the government cannot control. May the church grow in power to the point that the government must concede it’s right to exist and to leave it alone. Father, be victorious in China. Amen.
Dear Father, Serena Williams, 36, is one of the most successful female tennis players of all time. She has won 23 Grand Slam titles and 39 championships overall. She has been the champion of all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously on two different occasions in her career. She has spent more days in the #1 ranking than all other women except for Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova. In addition, she has won WTA Tour Championships and Olympic Gold Medals. She, along with her sister Venus, has changed women’s tennis as competitors are now expected to be more athletic and powerful than they have in the past. Her success has also made her one of the richest athletes in America, thanks to the prize money she has won and the product endorsements. Serena stopped competing last year in order to give birth to her first child, Olympia. She returned to competition this year but lost in the Wimbledon final. She is in the news today because of her behavior in her recent championship loss 2-6, 4-6 to 20-year-old Naomi Osaka at the US Open. The umpire during the match, Carlos Ramos, detected a hand signal from Serena’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, to Serena during the match. Communications between a coach and a player are not permitted in competition. Ramos took a point away from Serena, infuriating Serena. A few minutes later, Serena smashed her racket after losing a point. Ramos once more took a point away from her, this time for unsportsmanlike conduct. She may have received a third point violation after she argued vehemently with Ramos, accusing him of being a liar and a thief and implying that he was sexist. As a result of all of the points, Serena lost a game due to the penalties. She continued to be distraught during the award celebration, resulting in boos from the audience. She quickly changed her behavior and asked the audience to join with her in celebrating Naomi’s victory. Coach Mouratoglou admitted after the game that he was signaling Serena but his behavior was not any different than all the other coaches who communicate with their players in apparent widespread violation of the rule. Father, You do not look at Serena Williams as the dominate female tennis player. You look at her as the precious woman You created. You created her to have fellowship with You, to walk together through her life. You will be her God and she will be immensely blessed as Your servant. You long for her to surrender her life to You so that she can enjoy all the eternal blessings that can never be experienced by merely winning tennis championships. Father, work in Serena’s heart. Lead her to faith in You. Meet her emotional and spiritual needs. Bring about her spiritual transformation. May her fame and fortune soon be used to share the love of God with the public who adores her. Father, her outburst on the court reveals an inner struggle of some kind. Her wealth and fame is not satisfying her. Father, minister to her this very hour and lead her to Your mercy. Amen.
Dear Father, Kaylee Foster, of Ocean Springs High School in Mississippi, was voted the Homecoming Queen. As can be expected, she was presented at the stadium in her gown and tierra at the Homecoming football game last week. However, unlike other Homecoming Queens, Kaylee changed into her football uniform and kicked three field goals in the game, including the winning field goal in the school’s 13-12 victory over Goerge County High School. Father, this is her 15 minutes of fame. I’ll take advantage of this opportunity to pray for her life. Father, lead her into a personal relationship with You. May Kaylee one day surrender her life to You. May she serve You and may she find such service rewarding and fulfilling. I ask You to meet her every need and that she will have many reasons to thank You for Your goodness to her. Give her a career she can touch many lives with and bless her, at the right time if it’s Your will, with a loving husband and wonderful children. Amen.
Dear Father, Thomas Coutee and Kayla Jean Giles of Virginia were married. They had a daughter. However, their marriage fell apart as Thomas accused Kayla of domestic abuse. He was seeking full custody of their daughter after the court had granted joint custody. Kayla agreed to meet Thomas at a local Walmart wherein she would give Thomas their child for his court appointed child visitation time. It was both the daughter’s birthday and Thomas’ birthday. Kayla shot her husband in the chest and he died on the scene from his injuries. The crime was committed with the couple’s daughter and other children as witnesses. Kayla has been charged with second-degree murder and is detained in prison on a $ 500,000 bond. Father, have mercy on the child who lost both of her parents. She needs a loving and safe home. I’m asking that You take charge of the care of this child and that the child will end up strong in her faith, spiritually and emotionally healthy. I also ask for the other children who witnessed this shooting. Heal and restore them from the trauma. Help them to process it and to recover from what they witnessed. I ask for Your grace and compassion on the loved ones of Thomas Coutee. Touch their hearts and minds as they grieve. Lead them to a place where they find comfort and hope in You. I also ask that You will have mercy on Kayla Jean. Use her experience in the legal system to bring her to faith in You. Redeem her life and give her a new purpose – to be a model prisoner who comforts other prisoners with the love of God. Amen.