Giving Thanks For You

A sincere offering of Thanksgiving is often derived from the deepest sacrifice. The past several years have been wrought with some of the greatest challenges for our nation, and yet with it has come an awakening of the need for vigilance in prayer and action to steward our religious freedom.

It is with great honor, and with heartfelt thanks to God and to you, that I share some of the advancement and successes of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation this year. Read our NEW CPCF “Faith and Freedom” newsletter for highlights about the recent Congressional Telebriefing, the nationwide momentum of PrayUSA movement and more.

Visit our NEW online CPCF store! Launched just in time for the holidays, we are offering great promotions on a variety of items; T-shirts, coffee mugs, jewelry, lapel pins, fun gifts and so much more. Make your statement.

The CPCF wishes you and yours a wonderful day of celebrating an American tradition of fellowship and newfound freedom. We truly have so much to give thanks for.

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A Wow Moment That Gives Hope

So much of the news today feels angry, sour and exhaustively partisan. Sometimes, the soul simply longs for that which speaks of a greater cause, genuine connection, and a unity of purpose. Vicki Corona, an author writing about the beauty of dance, once said, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” This Tuesday night at Grace United Methodist Church in Harrisburg, PA, was one such moment.

Hundreds of government leaders, pastors, ministry leaders and like-minded citizens joined together for a PrayUSA Pennsylvania event.  As participants walked into the sanctuary, they left their titles and positions at the door and entered simply as people of faith—unified under one banner…to humbly call the church to unceasing prayer in America’s fight for religious freedom and liberty.

Thirty-five members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Prayer Caucus took part in this historic gathering. Both sides of the political aisle celebrated an experience that transcended denominations, race, and gender as they stood side-by-side without regard to divisions… barriers came down. Watch now!

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Representative Rick Saccone called the church to stand to reflect on and persevere against the anti-faith culture that is rising up across America. He spoke of us entering our darkest hour, and hope only being found in a nation and a people willing to return to God. Prayer, he said, is the best way to keep the United States from continuing its slide into a, “culture of chaos and destructive behavior.”

Many in attendance indicated they had never witnessed anything as moving and significant from legislators who shared so passionately from their hearts. The impact of elected representatives and pastoral leaders standing this united exposed the fallacy and frequent misapplication of intent when it comes to the “separation of church and state.”

Abby Abildness, Pennsylvania Prayer Caucus Network State Director, said, “The atmosphere was charged with enthusiasm. People who wouldn’t normally be meeting together were present…Everyone was honoring one another, and it was a very holy experience.”

Others described the prayer gathering as healing. Government officials from across the board, along with citizens from different Christian denominations, and all unified by the power of prayer, is something that is rarely seen.

Representative Bryan Barbin reminded everyone that in the late 1700’s, the Continental Congress began with prayer so there would still be a measure of unity whenever they found themselves in conflict.  Barbin went on to say, “Prayer is the unifying factor!” And with that, everyone joined in a rousing cheer.

Representative Thaddeus Kirkland added, “I don’t pray in Jesus’ name to be offensive, I pray in it to be effective.”

At the conclusion of remarks given by government and church leaders, participants were led in signing the Call to Prayer for America Proclamation. Remarkably, the desk used as they signed the Proclamation was also used by legislators at this same site over 100 years ago. When the Pennsylvania capitol burned to the ground, government business was conducted in the church while the building was being restored. What an incredible moment as history unfolded before our eyes!

Victories like this are worth celebrating—answered prayers and hope renewed.

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Powerful message from Congressman Forbes

In case you missed it, you can still watch this inspiring PrayUSA Sunday message by Congressman Randy Forbes, the Founder of the Congressional Prayer Caucus.  He joined Pastor  Will Langford, of Great Bridge Baptist Church, in a memorable time of unity and inspiration on behalf of a nation that desperately needs the grace of God.

We cannot urge you strong enough to take a few moments and listen to his passionate plea for America. He is a watchman and from his vantage point, he sees clearly the destructive impact that the anti-faith movement is having on our country. The battle lines have been drawn and we must be strategic in our plan, purposed in our wills, and above all, fervent in our prayers.


Consider sharing this with your pastor and church leaders
– then plan and schedule a PrayUSA Sunday and invite the congregation to stand up, sign the Proclamation, and add their voices to the thousands who have already said, “Yes.” Since the initiative was launched earlier this year, the numbers continue to grow—nearly 900 government leaders, 50 leading organizations and over 130,000 citizens from all over the United States.  Churches are holding special events just like the one at Great Bridge Baptist. If the Body of Christ won’t be salt and light, who will? Everything you need to get started is right here.

God said, “If My people…” – that’s you and me – “will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways…” – that’s our response – “then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land…” – that’s God’s gracious promise to us.

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A Gathering Storm

Are you a Christian? Many would answer affirmatively. Some would hesitate. Others might wonder about the motive behind the question. What if the barrel of a gun was pressed firmly against your forehead?

Silhouette of girl prayingSuch was the case during the recent tragedy at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Mathew Downing—a survivor of the shooting and member of New Beginnings Church of God—recounted how the crazed killer coldly murdered several of his peers solely because they said, “Yes.” Wiping away tears during a memorial service, Pastor Randy Scroggins stated, “As those brave men and women were willing to stand and take a bullet for their faith… so let us bravely stand this day and live our faith” Scroggin’s own daughter, Lacey, was also in the classroom at the time, and survived only because a victim lay on top of her bleeding from his wounds.

All violence is abhorrent and there are many factors that are being hotly debated in the public square right now. However, what we must also acknowledge is that people of Christian faith are increasingly being targeted on many different fronts. They are bullied and pilloried by the liberal press, censored by those who attempt to control the media. They are often mocked and derided on television and through film—characterized as out-of-touch, judgmental, homophobic, hatemongers, extremists, and more. In worse case scenarios, Christians around the world are intentionally being hunted down, arrested, imprisoned, persecuted and martyred for their beliefs.

According to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, Christians are the most persecuted group worldwide. This reality impacts nearly 200 million believers in over 60 countries and is even being acknowledged by the U.S. State Department. One persecution watchdog, Christian Freedom International, indicates that a Christian is killed for his or her faith every five minutes somewhere across the globe, with ISIS and other terrorist groups being the most notorious. This translates into over 100,000 people per year. Sadly, American victims in Oregon have now been added to the growing list of casualties.

There was a day when we had to look overseas to hear about those suffering for their faith. Now, the stories are coming from inside America, from our own shores and within the homeland. The anti-God rhetoric in this country is reaching unprecedented levels and must not go unchallenged.

We have written about these disturbing trends several times over the past couple of years, but we would be remiss if we failed to keep this issue before us. America—and particularly the Body of Christ—are you listening? We must wake up, take our collective heads out of the sand, and stay alert! It is simply naïve and also dangerous to believe that our nation, as great as we know it to be, is incapable of a long, slow descent into moral decay, resulting in the corporate loss of religious liberties and the Constitutional protections we too often take for granted.

The loss of cherished freedoms is almost never that overt, at least not initially. The changes are subtle, indirect, and often couched in the language of “accommodation” and political sound bites. Yet, make no mistake, anti-faith groups in this country have an alarming agenda and much of what our Founding Fathers gave their lives fighting for, is being slowly and systematically eroded in the heat of a shifting culture.

Basic CMYKMany of our colleagues and organizational friends are standing in the gap, for which we are so very grateful, but we are also in the fight. The CPCF is on the frontlines of the battle and we need your help. There is much you can do right now: consider starting your own Room 219 Prayer groupputting up our National Motto (In God We Trust), writing letters of support and encouragement to the government leaders who are defending your freedoms, scheduling a PrayUSA Sunday event at your church with a government leader, resourcing yourself with the right information so you can be effective in the marketplace of ideas, making a financial gift so together we can do more, and above all, being fervent in your prayers for our nation. Everything you need to get started is right here.

In another era not that long ago, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor, theologian and anti-Nazi dissident offered these sobering words during World War II, “Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.My friends, it is time to speak… it is time to act… and it is time to no longer be silent.

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One Shining Moment in the Heart of a Community

Enthusiasm! Inspiration! Excitement! Motivation! These are powerful and stirring words, but they do not fully capture everything that happened last week in a dynamic Williamsburg, VA church. Over 300 government leaders, pastors, ministry leaders and praying citizens mobilized for a single purpose—to join the nationwide Call to Prayer for America, a growing movement spearheaded by America’s government leaders. The significance was not lost among all those present, knowing that Williamsburg served as the capitol city of the original thirteen colonies.

This was only one of many similar meetings now taking place all across the country, gatherings that reflect the compelling tradition of government leaders and pastors uniting together—taking a public stand for the cause of religious liberty, the freedom of conscience, and admonishing the nation to turn back to God. From the opening prayer, through the rousing words of national, state and local government leaders, and to the solemn signing of the Call to Prayer Proclamation, the sense of hope among all who attended was palatable.

Virginia State Delegate, Brenda Pogge, spoke passionately about recent and egregious attacks on religious liberties, while Virginia Senator, John Cosgrove, urged participants to remember the importance of advocating for our Judeo-Christian values and religious freedom in government and policy.

Congressman Rob Wittman (VA) described how members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus meet in Room 219 and faithfully pray together every week before they go into the legislative session. He told some of the encouraging victories that have occurred because leaders are committing themselves as frontline defenders of faith in the U.S. Capitol. Many expressed their joy and appreciation when he shared about the LIFFT America Religious Liberty Summit in March and the PrayUSA: Government Leaders Calling the Nation to Prayer Initiative that was launched earlier this year.


Each person at the Williamsburg event was then invited to sign the Call to Prayer Proclamation and commit to unceasing petition on behalf of our country—the same way that nearly 1,000 government leaders have done so already.  

Pastor Mark Morrow of Crosswalk Church and Bishop John Gray of Bethel Restoration Center urged the pastors who were there to take the next step and schedule a PrayUSA Sunday at their own churches, invite a government leader to stand with them in the pulpit and call the congregation to repentance and prayer. 

Since launching a few months ago, the PrayUSA: Government Leaders Calling the Nation to Prayer Initiative is becoming an amazing story of hope and promise, as almost 1,000 government leaders, over 130,000 citizens and more than a dozen leading Christian organizations, have joined the unprecedented challenge to pray for America. We are believing for a million voices that are willing to stand up for our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and to earnestly seek God’s hand of mercy and grace.

If you haven’t done so already, won’t you join us today! Every voice that speaks up…every hand raised in a show of commitment…every dollar offered as a pledge of support, helps get the message out. Never has more been at stake as we see the country reeling in a cultural and moral vacuum. You really are making a difference and we must continue to push forward, confidently and with boldness.

We are both sobered and strengthened by government leaders trusting God in prayer, and in-turn, calling the nation to its knees.  Such a sincere gesture moves the heart and hand of God. Perhaps one of the most illuminating examples comes from President Abraham Lincoln, who in a moment of national crisis during the Civil War, said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”

Since our founding, National Days of Prayer, Fasting and Repentance have been proclaimed hundreds of times by our government leaders to encourage citizens to return to God, asking Him to heal our land. This has been an enduring and time-tested act of humility, long embedded into the fabric of American history.

In each instance, God has graciously answered and met America’s needs. This is our moment in time. This is our chance and part of our story. Our leaders are showing the way. Let us seize the moment, and let us resolve to pray with them, pray for them, and pray for America. As long as we continue to believe in the power of prayer—prayer that is unified in its vision and purpose, and according to the will and Word of God—anything is possible. Friends…let us pray!

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Three Words That Changed The World

We celebrate the birth of our Constitution, which ushered in a whole new form of Ten Commandments-We The Peoplegovernment, with religious freedom as its bedrock. The profound phrase, “We the People,” forever placed the responsibility of stewarding our freedom in the hands of each one of us. With each passing week, the United States is edging precariously closer to the unthinkable, a tangible and serious loss of our historic freedoms.

Too many citizens remain uniformed, unaware and in some cases, simply unconcerned. When it comes to the growing clash of worldviews in this country or the need for proactive civic engagement, there are numerous examples across the national landscape that are grave reminders of an emerging postmodern culture in America.

Furthermore, the effort to reframe and marginalize Christian morality and faith as “hate speech” within the national discourse is cause for concern. Business owners—photographers, bakers, florists, and others—are being sued, some even closing their doors, for simply adhering to their values, beliefs and their rights of conscience in an honorable fashion. Teachers, counselors, city and county officials, our men and women in uniform, chaplains, students, and even government officials, are being reprimanded for acknowledging God or Jesus Christ in almost any public forum.

We simply cannot and must turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to these trends. The consequences are sobering and they are potentially tragic. Sadly, it was after the fact—after something could have been done—after he languished in a German concentration camp during World War II—that Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran pastor and theologian made his famous quote:
“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

We must help wake up the sleeping giant—the Church—before it’s too late!

Protecting religious liberty does not infringe on anyone’s rights. No one should be forced to choose between strongly held religious beliefs and his or her livelihood, especially not in a nation with such a rich spiritual heritage. We have the right to exercise our deeply held beliefs without undue government interference, legislative maneuvering and state-fueled public derision. Nevertheless, “We the People” must decide whether we are going to stand up against undue censorship, the dismantling of our heritage, and efforts that give the state the ability to force us to leave our God-given liberties at the door of the public square—our places of business, our barracks, schools and government entities. It is our choice and it is time to make a bold declaration to the halls of power and to do so with a unified voice.

America’s Founders debated and intentionally established our government based on Judeo-Christian beliefs. They understood Christianity provided the only valid moral basis that would secure freedom for all Americans. These principles—embedded in the Constitution, but increasingly discarded to the curb of cultural or political convenience—were written to help ensure the “public square” remained neutral ground, where every voice was heard and every citizen was free to advocate for his or her position. Our Founders were confident that in the marketplace of ideas, truth would always win out in a free society.

September 17, is Constitution Day and it commemorates the day in 1787 that delegates who were part of the Constitutional Convention signed this historical document in Philadelphia. The official day of celebration was set by Congress in 2004 and while July 4th is recognized as the birthday of our independence from the British, September 17th is the birthday of the American form of government—the greatest example of freedom in the world.

Statue of libertyWe encourage all Americans not to abandon the biblical order that embraces our Founding Father’s vision for this democratic Republic, but rather, to strongly advocate for the core principles that support and defend freedom, not only at every level of government, but through the policies and laws impacting day-to-day life. The best hope for true freedom comes when Judeo-Christian values are preserved and protected.

John Adams, the second President of the United States, said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Likewise, Abraham Lincoln admonished the country in saying, “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”

Even a casual review of history gives rise to hundreds of examples where government legislators, presidents, battle-tested generals and many others have staunchly expressed a profound dependence upon God and His providence. To separate this nation from its First Amendment Freedoms and its dependency on a Sovereign and gracious Creator, would dismantle our Constitutional Republic.

Yet, we are encouraged because there are signs of hope and renewal. In the same spirit of our Founders and past national leaders, many of today’s government leaders are once again calling Christian people of goodwill to unceasing prayer. We believe America is worth fighting for. Together, through prayer and action, we are confident America can be restored. Join the Movement! Visit our Web site and learn how you can become involved today.

Some say, “It takes an army.” Others say, “It takes a village.” I say, “It takes the Church!”

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Remember it is ‘In God We Trust’

The nation’s police force has been in the spotlight for months now. As a (1)ponse to the ongoing threats and violence directed toward law enforcement members around the country, this month, one police department in Childress, a small, rural and conservative community in the Texas panhandle, has decided to acknowledge where they put their trust and Who that trust is in. Police Chief, Adrian Garcia, indicated, “It’s time we get back to where we once were,” and then made a decision to place, “In God We Trust” decals on the bumpers of all his patrol cars. Garcia’s decision mirrors that of police and sheriff’s departments all over the country.

In Randolph County, Missouri, Sheriff Mark Nichols made his decision to add the decal to his fleet out of a sense of patriotism, “It’s our nation’s motto and we want to be patriotic toward our country.” Likewise, law enforcement agencies in Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, North Carolina and Virginia are all standing up and saying, “Enough!” For Gary Parsons, the sheriff in Lee County, Virginia, “It’s not only a symbol of moral values, but also a symbol of patriotism.”

Will you stand with these courageous officers who faithfully protect the public and put themselves into harm’s way every time they wear that badge? Encourage them. Pray for them. Consider following their lead by displaying our National Motto on your car. Join hundreds of thousands who have already placed an “In God We Trust” window cling on their car.

Time and again, anti-faith individuals cry out in predictable, but false allegations, that decisions like the one made by these sheriffs, violate the, “separation of church and state.” Numerous legal challenges from these groups continue to be dismissed by the courts, who recognize the historical significance of our national motto and that it does not constitute an endorsement for a particular religion. These victories support the right of American citizens to display the motto, even in government buildings and public schools.

When it comes to moral conviction and ethics, Bay County Florida Sheriff, Frank McKeithen believes, “That’s what law enforcement is supposed to be about. We still pray. We pray before we go to a horrible situation where we think someone could get hurt or killed.” When several locals protested his use of the “In God We Trust” decals, McKeithen responded by saying, “I will drive just as fast to your house as to the preacher’s house if you need help.”

We are asking all our supporters and those who are standing in the gap for freedom, to display an “In God We Trust” window cling on your car. Let your friends and family know that you are standing with the sheriffs. Send it out through your social networks.  #InGodWeTrust #USA

cap coverCongressional Prayer Caucus Founder and Co-Chair, Rep. Randy Forbes (VA) commented, “The words [In God We Trust] can be ripped off all of our buildings and still, those Judeo-Christian principles are so interwoven in a tapestry of freedom and liberty that to begin to unravel the one is to unravel the other.”

We must stand firm in the face of adversity. We must stand firm in the fight for our religious freedoms. We must stand firm in our support of those who face these battles every day in the marketplace, the courts and the halls of power. We must stand firm against those who give lip service to tolerance and then are anything but tolerant toward those who love and trust God.

Yes America, In God We Do Still Trust.

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