A Political Prayer for the D.C. Den of Depravity

Ted Cruz responds to hecklers at Values Voter Summit | WashingtonExaminer.com

For someone who was once president of the college advocacy group for one of America’s major political parties, I have over the years “fallen from the ranks” and become almost blissfully apolitical.  I try not to be so jaded, but it’s hard not to see the political arena for what it largely is — living proof of John Calvin’s theory of the “Total Depravity of Man.”

The recent activity (and inactivity) over the government shut-down is a prime example of this.  Rather than reflect on it in my own sarcastic terms, I’ll let King David speak prophetically through the words of The Message –

Quick, God, I need your helping hand!

The last decent person just went down,

All the friends I depended on gone.

Everyone talks in lie language;

Lies slide off their oily lips.

They doubletalk with forked tongues.  (Psalm 12:1-2)

King David knew intimately how allies become enemies, that you can’t trust your friends, and even close family members try to stab you behind your back.  Rather than go on talk radio and whine his lot to a largely sympathetic audience, David turns to prayer and vents his rage.

Slice their lips off their faces!

Pull the braggart tongues from their mouths!

I’m tired of hearing, “We can talk anyone into anything!

Our lips manage the world.”   (Psalm 12:3-4)

These are harsh words from a godly man.  Should a Christian, taught by Jesus to love enemies, engage in such vengeful prayer?  Absolutely!  Pouring out our passionate anger in prayer helps prevent us from acting out in violence or through passive-aggression.

Understand, David is not so much angry for himself.  He is angry for his people.  Through his prayer, he announces that God is coming to set things straight.

Into the hovels of the poor,

Into the dark streets where the homeless groan,

God speaks: “I’ve had enough;

I’m on my way

To heal the ache in the heart of the wretched.”  (Psalm 12:5)

David, “a man after God’s own heart,” is angry at the profound injustice perpetuated on the poor by putrid political policies from puny pundits.

Rather than becoming overwhelmed by the depravity of man, though, David sets his mind (and our minds) on “things above” –

God’s words are pure words,

Pure silver words refined seven times

In the fires of his word-kiln,

Pure on earth as well as in heaven.

God, keep us safe from their lies,

From the wicked who stalk us with lies,

From the wicked who collect honors

For their wonderful lies. (Psalm 12:5-6)

(photo above from Sheri Hardinger)

Prayer Request 9:45-9:50 a.m. (EST)

As soon as I finish this post, I will be going to Alumni Hall at Ball State University to attend day two of the Midwest Writer’s Workshop.

From 9:45-9:50 a.m. (EST), I will be doing an “agent pitch” with Amanda Lueke from MacGregor Literary.  If you should read this by then, I would appreciate your prayers at this time — that I have peace to represent my book well and that God’s will be done.

Thanks,  Tony

Prayer

“Prayer” from Anna Vanover in Our Wedding

Preparing for the 2013 Midwest Writers Workshop

Picture0723131951_1.jpgThis image is a rather blurry photo of my new promotional cards I’m taking to the Midwest Writers Workshop this weekend. In addition to my name, contact information, and book title, there is a wonderful review from my editor, Leanne Sype which reads, “… a magnificent gem nestled within the muck and mud of uncharted territory.”  Thanks, Leanne.

I’m getting terribly excited about the workshop.  Last night I woke up after midnight and reviewed the schedule.  The sessions I’m attending include–

“Building an Author Website” — Roxane Gay

“Queries That Work” – Amanda Luedeke.

Writing Memoir” – Hank Nuwer

On Friday morning at 9:45, I’ll be making my agent pitch to Amanda Luedeke who represents MacGregor Literary.

On Saturday afternoon at 3:00, my query with be critiqed by Hank Nuwer and at 4:00, my synopsis and 5 pages of my manuscript will be reviewed by Holly Miller (faculty bios are here.)

My pastoral counselor asked me how he might best pray for me while I am at the workshop, and I want to share this with all of you who pray as well.  My prayer is that God would shine “a lamp for my feet” (to keep me from stumbling) and be a “light for my path” (to show me my next step).  I am headed into a vast wilderness and I don’t want to get absorbed by the darkness around me.  Just stay on my feet and keep moving forward, one step at a time.

Finding Release From Pain

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  ― C.S. Lewis

After I finish a time of meditation and prayer, I am going to confront a close friend about her life-long addiction to pain-killers and other prescription drugs.  For many decades now she has used and abused a medical system that is all too willing to promise temporary relief from painful symptoms — at a great cost financially, physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. Having sacrificed her body, mind, and spirit to drug experimentation, she is now nearly incapable of decision making, only to groan and moan that the pain is still present.

To read more, click on the title below —

“Release From Pain”

Jesus heals hurting woman...

“Jesus heals hurting woman…”  from Steve Soukup in Favorite Bible Art

God as Our Mother Hen

We often use prayer as a last resort rather than a first line of defense. This is regrettable, and it must grieve God greatly. But only we only stop and ask directions when we are desperately lost.  We only seek God’s shelter when we’ve become trapped in a raging storm and have no other safe place to turn. The good news is, God understands this and doesn’t hold it against us. God welcomes everyone who turns to Him with a sincere desire to live in faith, embraced by the loving arms of a Creator who wants to protect us.

To read more, click on the title below —

“Like Baby Chicks Running to The Mother Hen”

magicalnaturetour:    Mother Hen protecting her babies :)

Investing in Recovery or Contributing to Addiction?

Desert Sky

 

They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved.

They spoke against God saying,

“Can God spread a table in the wilderness?

He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed.

Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?

 

Therefore, when the LORD heard;

he was full of wrath,

a fire was kindled against Jacob;

his anger rose against Israel,

because they did not believe in God

and did not trust his saving power.  

(Psalm 78:18-22, English Standard Version)

 

The past 2 weeks, I’ve been consumed trying to faithfully respond to a friend battling addiction.  She is in a desperate state, in need of many things – spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and financially.

Because of some legal issues, she is currently in need of a rather large sum of money to retain a lawyer this week.  She has family members willing to invest in her recovery, yet who are determined not to contribute to her addiction.

My friend is in a spiritual desert, like the children of Israel, demanding what she craves and not surrendering gratefully to the Lord who constantly provides all we need.  She demands what she craves and is not willing to invest herself in confessing her sin or taking even the first step toward rebuilding relationships broken by her behavior.

Understand, she comes by this honestly.  She comes from a family of addicts who nearly all have turned to drugs – some legal, some not; some prescribed, some not – to run from reality and hide from pain.  She has learned over the course of her life to lie, cheat, and steal in order to avoid being held accountable.  No, she is not alone.  “All we, like sheep, have gone astray.”  (Isaiah 53:6, ESV)

The challenge for those of us who love her is to confessionally confront her – admitting our own self-destructive sins while pointing out to her her own (that we so well recognize).

My question for prayer this week is this –

 

How do we invest in recovery and not contribute to addiction?

 

Please join me in this prayer and I would appreciate any insights you receive.

(image above “Desert Sky” from Christine Kysely in Sunset Silhouettes)

A Prayer Request – Help Wanted

 help wanted

First, I want to thank all of you who have been praying for my friend as she transitions into treatment.  On the whole, the day went very well.  God is good – all the time.

She did face one “wrinkle” in the process.  While she has been approved for inpatient admission, insurance coverage is pending.  She should know something in the next day or two.  If insurance does not provide coverage for inpatient care, she may need to enroll in a day treatment program and seek separate housing arrangements.

There are many excellent day treatment programs in our area, but finding temporary housing might prove difficult.  We are praying to find a married couple or single woman who understand the addictive personality and are willing to temporarily house and encourage someone early in their recovery.  We would consider various locations in Central Indiana and can offer reasonable compensation for someone who has the time, space, and commitment to accept such a challenge.

I believe this woman is serious about seeking treatment.  She is a very caring and compassionate person who simply has some significant issues to address.

If you or someone you know might be able to respond to this need, you can reach me by e-mail:  johnprine1982@gmail.com .

(image above “help wanted”  Emma Smith in stuff that made me laugh for some reason)

Pleading for Prayer for a Friend

heaven

From heaven stretch Your hand;

Reaching down to rescue me,

save me from the floods,

The grip of foreign pow’rs,

The ones whose mouth speaks what is false,

The ones whose right hand is the same,

a right hand of deceitfulness. 

(from “Blessed Be the Lord, My Rock” by J.C. Friedrich Schneider – Psalm 144A in The Book of Psalms for Worship)

I have a dear friend I’ve known for over 20 years who is in a desperate situation.  In addition to battling addiction, she is facing legal charges that could result in significant sentencing to jail and/or prison.

In the midst of her struggle, she is feeling terribly conflicted.  She doesn’t know who to trust.  Voices within and around her are telling her to follow one direction, then another.  Her desires and her needs don’t mesh.  Friends and family wrestle with one another in an effort to extend help.

The message of Psalm 144 (especially verses 7-8) is that there is certainly help to be found.  The Psalmist calls on the God of heaven who can (and will) stretch out His hand to rescue those who are overwhelmed by floods of despair, detainment, and desperation.  Those who are caught in the grip of addiction and other self-destructive “powers and principalities” have a Helper in heaven they can count on.

But this Helper is not the only one reaching out.  There are plenty of others – within us, among us, and around us who do not speak the truth that is best for us.  Ideas that “feel right”, friends and family that “mean well”, can actually deceive us into thinking there are other ways to be rescued than the one and only Way – the path that leads to life with God (and others) in Jesus Christ.

I urge all of you to be intensely praying for my friend , especially tomorrow (April 22) as she transitions into treatment.

I have great hope in the LORD, as expressed in another Psalm –

God is our refuge and our strength,

In trials, a proven aid.

And therefore, though the earth should change,

We will not be afraid

Though hills may slide into the sea,

And waves crash down and roar,

And though the ocean’s rage may shake

The mountains on the shore

A river makes God’s city glad,

The Most High’s holy place.

God is in her; she won’t be moved;

God helps at the break of day.

(from “God is Our Refuge and Our Strength” by John Robb; Psalm 44B in The Book of Psalms for Worship)

image above “heaven” from  Karen Rosenberg in Favorite Places & Spaces