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This discussion will continue the posting of Presidential Prayer Team alerts for 2017.  I encourage you to post prayers or pray on your own in response to the alerts.  Many Christian leaders believe that we are at a crossroads in the path of the United States - will we once again become a country that God uses for his purposes in the world, or will we continue down a path that takes us further away from God's purposes?  This is not primarily a political question - it's a spiritual question.  And prayer is our best spiritual weapon.  Please join in praying for our country!

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July 13: Evangelical Leaders Pray Over President Trump in Oval Office

An evangelical pastor who led a prayer circle in the Oval Office Monday – during which people laid their hands on President Donald Trump – says the experience was “surreal” and “humbling.”

Televangelist Rodney Howard-Browne, a South African native who came to the United States in 1987, shared a post on Facebook about the prayer circle he led alongside his wife, Adonica Howard-Browne. The photo shows both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in prayer.

Howard-Brown called it a “humbling moment standing in the Oval Office – laying hands and praying for our President – Supernatural Wisdom, Guidance and Protection – who could ever even imagine – wow – we are going to see another great spiritual awakening.”

According to CNN, the group of evangelical leaders was invited to pray with Trump during a meeting of the White House’s Office of Public Liaison.

Former senior vice president at Liberty University Johnnie Moore said the group – after a “lighthearted visit among friends” – ended the meeting in prayer.

“We similarly prayed for President Obama but it’s different with President Trump,” Moore told CNN. “When we are praying for President Trump, we are praying within the context of a real relationship, of true friendship.”

Moore described Trump as “absolutely confident, entirely in command” during the meeting.

During his remarks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in June, the president acknowledged he received 81 percent of the evangelical vote in last year’s election.

“Thank you,” Trump said. “You didn’t let me down, and I will never, ever let you down.”

Sources: (Breitbart, Daily Mail)

As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For President Trump as he leads the nation
• For God’s hand of protection on the president and our nation’s leaders
• For a spiritual revival in America

July 13: GOP Healthcare Bill Adds $70 Billion for Exchanges

Senate Republican leaders released a revised health-care plan Thursday that would provide an added $70 billion to stabilize insurance exchanges over a decade in an effort to win over GOP holdouts.

The change comes on top of $112 billion provided for the same purpose in an earlier measure by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is hoping the modified bill will revive prospects for their embattled Obamacare repeal effort, which stalled about two weeks ago.

The new measure discards earlier plans to repeal three Obamacare taxes on the wealthy, according to the summary. That move effectively freed up about $230 billion in cash to bolster health expenditures.

The revised bill also includes a provision that would allow people for the first time to use health savings accounts to pay insurance premiums, according to the document.

It’s not clear whether the changes will gain enough backing to get through the Senate. More than half a dozen Republican and Democratic senators also have discussed alternatives to the GOP plan, which was developed without consulting Democrats.

Indeed, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana on Thursday morning released their own alternative health plan that would shift much of current federal funding for Obamacare insurance and future funding directly to states, according to a statement from Graham’s office. Cassidy said he wants to offer his plan as an amendment to McConnell’s bill.

Because of the GOP’s narrow 52-48 majority, Republican leaders can lose no more than two votes in their party amid united Democratic opposition to efforts to repeal Obamacare.  

Sources: (Newsmax, New York Times)

As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For members of the U.S. Senate as they continue work on the health care bill
• For the Trump administration as they work with Senators on the measure
• For relief from high costs and limited health care availability for many Americans

July 15: Forty-Four Percent of Liberal Democrats Say Churches Bad f...

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to believe that churches have a negative impact on American society, according to a recent report by Pew Research Center.

In a report released Monday by Pew's U.S. Politics & Policy department, 36 percent of Democrats were found to view churches' impact on society as negative, contrasted with 14 percent of Republicans.

Among Liberal Democrats, the percentage that view churches in a negative light jumps to 44 percent, with 40 percent of Liberal Democrats and 50 percent of overall Democrats viewing churches as positively impacting society.

"Liberal Democrats are about as likely to say the impact of churches and religious organizations is negative (44 percent) as they are to say it is positive (40 percent). By two-to-one (58 percent to 29 percent), more conservative and moderate Democrats say churches have a positive than negative effect on the country," noted Pew.

"Majorities of both conservative Republicans and Republican leaners (75 percent) and moderate and liberal Republicans (68 percent) say churches and religious organizations have a positive impact."

Pew also found that 46 percent of those unaffiliated with any religion and 43 percent of those who seldom or never attend religious services believe churches and religious groups have a negative impact on society.

For their report, Pew did a national survey from June 8-18 in which they interviewed 2,504 adults. The margin of error is 2.3 percentage points for the full sample.

Sources: (Christian Post, Huffington Post, Pew Research)

As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For American’s views on church to become more positive
• For churches in the U.S. to be relevant to today’s society without losing Biblical standards
• For American Christians to reach out more to the unchurched

July 15: Cuban Pastor Punished With 1-Year Heavy Labor for Homescho...

An Evangelical pastor in Cuba has been sentenced to one year of heavy labor and house arrest for defying the Communist government and insisting that his children be homeschooled.

International Christian Concern reported on Thursday that Pastor Ramon Rigal, leader of Iglesia de Dios en Cristo, has openly stated that his decision to take his children out of state-run schools was based on his Christian faith

As Diario de Cuba noted last week, Rigal had originally been sentenced by Guantanamo courts to one-year imprisonment, but a recent adjudication led to a modified reduction of the punishment.

The pastor said that his legal team proved that he did not commit any serious criminal act, but religious freedom advocates warned that the heavy labor sentence is still a serious punishment.

Mike Donnelly, an attorney and director of global outreach for the Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association, said at the time that the right to homeschool children is "a human right that is recognized around the world as a fundamental human right."

"And Cuba has signed international treaties acknowledging this fact," he added, referring to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that the nation signed in 2008.

The treaty gives parents rights when it comes to allowing their religious beliefs and philosophical convictions to be represented in their children's education.


Sources: (Christian Post, Faithwire, Home School Legal Defense Association)

As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For Pastor Ramon Rigal as he fights for his parental rights in Cuba
• For parents who choose to homeschool their children based on Christian faith
• For homeschooled children who are taught Biblical principles

July 15: Trump's Regulatory Czar Could Have a Major Impact on How A...

The Trump administration’s new regulatory czar has a distinctive past, but it is her future that could leave an indelible mark on the way you live and work for years to come.

Neomi Rao, a law professor and a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to run the agency that oversees government regulations, the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

The 54-41 vote enables her to lead the White House efforts to reject or slow-walk new federal rules, while rescinding other regulations altogether.

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway called Rao “an excellent addition to a team that is already committed to the president’s agenda of deregulation.”

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee said in a statement that he looked forward to working with Professor Rao to “Reduce the burden of regulations – by our best estimates as high as $2 trillion dollars a year – that weigh on the American economy.”

Cutting regulation has been a major focus of the Trump administration including broad directives meant to speed up environmental reviews for high priority infrastructure projects and manufacturing.

Sources: (Fox News, Washington Examiner, Times of India)

As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For Neomi Rao as she leads the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
• For the U.S. economy to continue growing
• For President Trump as he endeavors to cut regulations that burden Americans

July 15: Supreme Court Gives Hawaii Until Tuesday to Answer Trump T...

The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the State of Hawaii to respond by Tuesday at noon to President Donald Trump's motion to block a judge's ruling that prevented his travel ban from being applied to grandparents of U.S. citizens and refugees already being processed by resettlement agencies, the court's public information office said on Saturday.

In a court filing on Friday, the administration asked the justices to overturn Thursday's decision by a U.S. district judge in Hawaii, which limited the scope of the administration's temporary ban on refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.

The latest round in the fight over Trump's March 6 executive order, which he says is needed to prevent terrorism attacks, began when the Supreme Court intervened last month to partially revive the two bans, which had been blocked by lower courts.

The Supreme Court said then that the ban could take effect, but that people with a "bona fide relationship" to a U.S. person or entity could not be barred. The administration had narrowly interpreted that language, saying the ban would apply to grandparents and other family members, prompting the state of Hawaii to ask Hawaii-based U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson to expand the definition of who could be admitted.

Trump banned travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and refugees for 120 days.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in the fall over whether the ban violates the U.S. Constitution.

Sources: (Reuters, Yahoo News, Fox Business)

As the Lord leads, please pray:
• That the lower courts will abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling
• For the Supreme Court justices as they consider the ban again in the fall
• For the Trump Administration as they work to secure America’s borders

July 16: Alzheimer's Disease Set to Cost the U.S. $1.1 Trillion by ...

Alzheimer’s disease, the irreversible progressive brain disorder that destroys memory, is set to cost Americans $1.1 trillion by 2025, if we don’t find a solution soon, the Alzheimer’s Association says.

“In the last few years, we have seen an increase in the number of people affected by the disease. There are almost 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s in the United States today, and globally, that number is upwards of about 30 million,” Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., chief science officer at the Alzheimer’s Association tells FOX Business.

Carrillo says while there is still no cure or treatment for the disease, the industry has been making huge strides in finding ways to prevent the disease before it’s too late.

“We’ve discovered that Alzheimer’s disease – the hallmarks, the protein changes – did not start when our loved ones received the diagnosis. That actually, the disease started maybe 15 to 20 years prior and what that means is that you may have a window of opportunity where you can either stop or delay the disease before your memories start to go and before brain damage is too set in to make changes, so that’s really exciting, and people are talking now about preventing Alzheimer’s disease like we’ve never done before.

The Alzheimer’s Association is set to release multiple studies on how lifestyle factors such as diet, stress, and sleep may help prevent brain decline.


Sources: (Fox Business, Alzheimer’s Association, Politico)

As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For the Alzheimer’s Association as they research a cure for the disease
• For those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and their families
• For a cure or treatment to prevent Alzheimer’s

July 16: Melania Trump Offers Up Prayers and Encouragement to Sick ...

First Lady Melania Trump continued her tradition of visiting sick children on Thursday when she spent time at the Necker Hospital in Paris, France, and later tweeted out a photo along with a pledge to pray for the sick kids she encountered there.

“Thank U @hospital_necker for allowing me to visit your wonderful patients & inspirational staff,” Mrs. Trump wrote on her official Twitter account. “Continued prayers for good health for all.”

AOL News reported that Mrs. Trump met with children of varying ages and briefly spoke with them in French, introducing herself and asking how the kids were before using a translator to continue the conversation.

Mrs. Trump specifically offered encouragement to one of the patients, a 14-year-old girl named Ysatis, who was in a wheelchair and said she would soon be leaving the hospital to go to rehab, The New York Daily News reported.

“You look very good, very strong,” Mrs. Trump told the girl. “Soon you’ll be walking and running.”

The First Lady has made it a habit to visit kids’ hospitals both at home and on her travels abroad. She previously visited Queen Fabiola University Hospital in Brussels and Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome, as AOL News reported.

Sources: (Faithwire, New York Post)

As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For First Lady Melania Trump as she travels with President Trump
• For Mrs. Trump’s hospital visits to children’s hospitals
• For sick children worldwide

July 16: McConnell Delays Action on Health Care After McCain Surgery

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday that he will delay consideration of health care legislation in light of Sen. John McCain’s absence from recent surgery.

McConnell, R-Ky., released a statement on Saturday night saying that he would defer action on the measure while McCain recovers at his home in Arizona.

"While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act," McConnell said.

Surgeons in Phoenix removed a blood clot from above McCain's left eye on Friday. The 80-year-old Senate veteran was advised by doctors to remain in Arizona next week, his office said.

A procedural vote expected in the coming days had been cast as a showdown over the measure designed to replace ObamaCare once and for all.

With a 52-48 majority, Republicans can afford to lose only two votes. Vice President Pence would break a tie for final passage.

Two Republicans, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine, have already said they'll vote against the measure.

Last month, McConnell had to cancel a vote on a previous version of the legislation amid lack of support among GOP senators.

In Phoenix, Mayo Clinic Hospital doctors said McCain underwent a "minimally invasive" procedure to remove the nearly 2-inch (5-centimeter) clot and that the surgery went "very well."

McCain was reported to be resting comfortably at his home in Arizona.

Sources: (Fox News, The Hill, Bloomberg)

As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For Senator John McCain as he recovers from surgery
• For U.S. Senators as they continue work on the health care bill
• For the Trump Administration as they work with Senators on the measure

July 17: President Trump Holding Theme-Week Events to Focus to Econ...

President Donald Trump will seek to highlight his economic agenda with a series of theme weeks focused on domestic policy, part of an effort to shift focus to the accomplishments of the Trump administration, much of which is being ignored by the media.

The effort kicks off Monday with “Made in America” week, with the president championing companies that build products in the U.S. On Monday, the administration has invited firms from all 50 states to show their domestically produced products at the White House. On Wednesday, Trump plans to call on U.S. companies to make more of their products at home. He also is expected to travel to Virginia during the weekend for the commissioning of the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier.

“For too long our government has forgotten the American worker,” White House spokeswoman Helen Aguirre Ferré told reporters in a call on Sunday. Those workers, she said, will now be “championed” by Trump.

The theme weeks will continue throughout the month, with events planned to highlight “American Heroes” and the “American Dream,” Aguirre Ferré said.

While Trump is holding the theme-week events, investors will be watching to see whether he proceeds with efforts to impose tariffs or quotas on steel imports. The administration has ordered a review of a Cold War-era trade law that allows the president to impose restrictions on imports that are found to threaten national security.

“Steel is a big problem,” Trump told reporters last week. “They’re dumping steel and destroying our steel industry, they’ve been doing it for decades, and I’m stopping it.”

Sources: (Newsmax, Washington Post)
As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For the Trump administration as they focus on their accomplishments in economic matters
• For fair and honest reporting on the Trump administration by the news media
• For God’s hand of protection on the president, his family and all of the nation’s leaders

July 18: Trump Administration Certifies Iran is Meeting Terms of Nu...

The Trump administration certified to Congress late Monday that Iran has continued to meet the required conditions of its nuclear deal with the United States and other world powers.

But senior administration officials made clear that the certification was grudging, and said that President Trump intends to impose new sanctions on Iran for ongoing “malign activities” in non-nuclear areas such as ballistic missile development and support for terrorism.

“We judge that these Iranian activities severely undermine the intent” of the agreement as a force for international stability, one official said. Iran is “unquestionably in default of the spirit of the JCPOA,” or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, that took effect in January 2016 after years of negotiations, the official said.

“We do expect to be implementing new sanctions” related to missiles and Iran’s “fast boat program,” the official said, but declined to specify what the measures would be. The administration has charged Iran with using military patrol boats to impede free navigation in the Persian Gulf.

Under the nuclear deal, Iran, which denied it was developing nuclear weapons, agreed to sharply limit the number and capability of centrifuges used to enrich uranium, give up nearly all its previously enriched stock, and submit to intrusive verification measures in exchange for an end to U.S. and international sanctions related to the program.

Trump has called the deal fatally flawed and said he would either renegotiate it or kill it.


Sources: (Washington Post, New York Times)

As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For President Trump as he works to renegotiate or kill the Iran deal
• For members of Congress as they give input to President Trump about the deal
• For an end to Iran’s nuclear weapons program and support to terror groups

July 18: House Budget Plan Boosts Military, Cuts Benefits

House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a 10-year budget blueprint that would dramatically increase military spending while putting the GOP on record favoring Medicare cuts that are opposed by President Trump.

The GOP plan, authored by Budget Chairman Diane Black, would also pave the way for overhauling the U.S. tax code this fall and would pair that effort with cuts to benefit programs such as food stamps. The plan also lays out a plan to balance the budget inside a decade through deep cuts to a wide swath of domestic programs.

Medicare is the second largest mandatory program after Social Security, and the House GOP plan again proposes to turn Medicare into a voucher-like program in which future retirees would receive a fixed benefit to purchase health insurance on the open market.

"The status quo is unsustainable. A mounting national debt and lackluster economic growth will limit opportunity for people all across the country," Black said in a statement. "But we don't have to accept this reality. We can move forward with an optimistic vision for the future and this budget is the first step in that process. This is the moment to get real results for the American people. The time for talking is over, now is the time for action."

The GOP measure would add almost $30 billion to Trump's $668 billion request for national defense, which already exceeds an existing "cap" on spending by $54 billion. But while Trump proposed taking that $54 billion from domestic agencies and foreign aid, the GOP budget plan would restore most of the cuts, trimming non-defense agencies by just $5 billion.

Sources: (Fox, Washington Post)

As the Lord leads, please pray:
• For members of the House Budget Committee as they work on a spending plan
• For the Trump administration as they work with the House on budget priorities
• That Congress will act to reduce the nation’s national debt

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