Gracious Lord, thank You for this day.
Thank You for Your breath of life.
Thank You, Lord, for Your Living Word,
By Whom we have eternal life.
Thank You for Your Son, Jesus,
Our Savior and resurrected Lord.
We are stunned by Your ability to forgive our sins,
And we are humbled and horrified at the cost.
Our hearts melt to tears
At the thought of Your holy blood,
Brutally shed to cleanse and save our souls,
And to place us in a right relationship with You.
I know eternity in Hell is very real, Father,
As real as eternity with You in Heaven;
Therefore, Your command to “Go into all the world,”
Which is just as real, Has great purpose and urgency.
If we do not tremble at the responsibility we have
To reach our fellow man for You,
Then we do not understand Your heart.
Oh Lord, teach us to give our all, as You have.
Grant us peace so that we may live well with others;
Grant us grace, that we may show others Your love;
Grant us a deep, unquenchable desire to know You.
And in knowing You, Lord, daily increase our love for You.
There will be a new year
Only if You allow it
In Your mercy and goodness towards all.
Glory to Your Name;
For Your ways are perfect.
Your wisdom beyond comparison,
You are the Truth for which we thirst.
Quench our thirst with Your presence among us.
Do not leave us to our own understandings.
This new year, be ever present in our thoughts,
And direct our every deed.
We pray against the spirit of this age;
We pray against the schemes of the Enemy
Who seeks to lead us astray with the old,
“Has God really said?”
The answer is, “Yes!”
Yes, You have spoken, and we obey.
We obey for our own good and
To Your glory, Lord.
So, we surrender our lives,
Our ambitions, desires and passions,
To You in this new year.
All our plans commence with, “If God wills, we will…”
For we know we can do nothing apart from You.
Indeed, we do not want to do anything
Apart from You, even if we could.
You are what we treasure most.
Forgive us when we behave as if You were not.
We do it, often, we confess,
To our shame …
We are but foolish men,
Still Your servants, nevertheless.
This new year is to You (for You),
As all the years of our lives should be.
We recommit ourselves to Your service,
Forsaking all others,
To trust You — to Love You and You alone.
In Jesus’ name we pray these things,
Click here for more prayers from our For America Prayer Journal.
Oh Lord, Our God,
Your Majestic Holiness
Fills us with joy
Throughout the Christmas season.
Your wondrous works displayed
On that day in Bethlehem
Keep our hearts and minds engaged still today,
Amazed at the extent of Your Love.
The sounds of that “Silent Night,”
Are forever on our lips.
Let the people hear us sing,
“Gloria, in excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the highest!)”
Let the “thrill of hope” be felt
In the midst of our weary world.
“Born is the King of Israel,”
The babe — the King of the whole world.
Glad tidings, You brought,
A Gospel of Truth, salvation for all,
If we only believe.
What joy; what peace!
Immanuel — God with us.
God with us.
How can this be?
You, here, for me?
There is no other comfort,
Apart from this —
Apart from You: the Prince of Peace,
Eternal Father, Mighty God.
Of Your kingdom, there shall be no end.
We stand as a testament,
Moving and breathing, hoping and longing
In You, through You, and for You.
May Yours be the glory and honor,
Majesty and power,
Forever and ever,
Click here for more prayers from our For America Prayer Journal.
Oh Lord, our God,
Keenly aware of our blessed state,
We come before You with grateful hearts,
Full of humility and awareness of Your goodness.
May Your name be praised
In every corner of our land,
As we remember Your works of old
And witness the miracles of life.
Not because of who we are,
But because of Your character,
We’ve received the wonders of Your Love,
Your merciful Gospel of Truth.
Thank You for grace;
Thank You for rest;
Thank You for family and friends;
Thank You for love and forgiveness.
Thank You for second chances,
And thirds, fourths, and fifths …
You have provided for us every step of the way;
Thank You for Your Word.
We thank You for reason, imagination, and faith.
Thank You for pain;
Thank You for the Spirit
And the reminders of conscience.
We marvel at the beautiful mystery of marriage;
We praise You for our daughters and sons.
Thank You for opening the heavens for us —
Thank You, thank You, dear Father.
As that word, “Father,” rolls off our lips,
We stand in awe of You, our beloved Father.
What is man that You are mindful of him?
Yes, indeed, we give You thanks.
We stand proudly as the adopted,
The sinners, the prodigals, returned.
Received by Grace into the arms
Of He who owed us nothing but contempt.
“Jesus paid it all,” we sing in praise.
“All to Him [we] owe
“[Our] sin had left a crimson stain,
“He washed it white as snow.”
May this truth live forever,
Foremost in our minds and on our lips.
May it make every day Thanksgiving Day
Until the day of Christ’s return.
Getting rid of the adoption tax credit is a bad idea. Trying to do so during National Adoption Month is just unthinkable. But that is exactly what the GOP is considering as they debate tax reform.
It’s a stark contrast. President Donald J. Trump’s proclamation of November as National Adoption Month is a beautiful display of the incredible value of adoption to our nation.
“During National Adoption Month,” he wrote, “we celebrate the thousands of families who have expanded through adoption, and we acknowledge the strength and resiliency of the children who are still waiting to find their forever home.”
What’s even more relevant to our discussion, he said, “We must continue to remove barriers to adoption whenever we can, so that the love and care of prospective adoptive parents can be directed to children waiting for their permanent homes.” And concluded, “This month, let us celebrate the gift of adoption — an act of love that provides deserving young people with the foundation they need to achieve their potential and pursue the American Dream.”
That is just beautifully said by the president. We should all stand with him in carrying that vision to “remove barriers to adoption.”
Enter congressional number crunchers who (in good faith, we will assume) decided that the best way to do that is to take away this small (in the larger context) but significant adoption incentive within the tax code.
The reasoning is that they will increase the child tax credit by $600 to $1,600 per child. That would indeed aid all families, whether they adopt or not. Okay, I am sure families would gladly welcome that relief, but “no.” No! That is not an adoption incentive.
Helping all families sort of defeats the purpose of incentivizing adoption. It is supposed to encourage adoption specifically, not just help all families.
Not to mention the fact that the numbers don’t add up. The child tax credit just doesn’t help potential adopting families where they need it most. Adoption is a very expensive process (close to $50,000 in some cases) and the prospects of such a financial burden in a considerably short period of time is a huge barrier to families considering adopting. The Adoption Tax Credit, which was $13,570 in 2017, can alleviate that.
Telling that family, “But you will get $600 more through the child tax credit” is not the same thing.
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention sent out an email as soon as the news broke, explaining that the tax break numbers are more than outweighed by the benefits of adoption. It read:
Over 60 percent of adopted children are adopted by middle- and lower-income taxpayers, and almost half of children adopted from foster care live in families with household incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
Just as important to consider is what adoption saves the government. The government saves between $65,000 and $127,000 for every child who is adopted rather than placed in long-term foster care.
Concerned Women for America (CWA) joined the ERLC and other pro-life groups in a letter to Chairman Kevin Brady, who leads the leads the House Ways and Means Committee and introduced the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, asking him to preserve the adoption tax credit. It reads in part:
Without this tax credit, many families would not and will not be able to afford adoption, leaving more children without loving families. Over 60 percent of adopted children are adopted by middle- and lower-income taxpayers, and almost half of children adopted from foster care live in families with household incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
We urge you to ensure that the adoption tax credit is protected and preserved in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
Christian adoption activist and writer Chelsea Sobolik, who was adopted herself, wrote that the credit should be preserved as it helps the most vulnerable in our society:
Chairman Brady should do everything in his power to ensure that the provisions of the Adoption Tax Credit are placed back into the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Not only will it make this tax plan a more holistic pro-family bill, it’s also the right thing to do. Republicans should continue to put policies into place that help the most vulnerable, and children in need of a loving and permanent family certainly meet that criteria.
Chelsea is a former CWA employee whose upcoming book “Longing for Motherhood: Holding On to Hope in the Midst of Childlessness” will be released next year.
The pro-life community is united on this. Let us hope our plea is heeded and the idea of cutting the adoption tax credit dropped promptly so that Congress can focus on more productive areas.
In You, O Lord, we trust and take refuge.
When all else is unreliable and enemies assail us,
Be to us a Rock of refuge,
That we may stand firm and endure,
That we may be bold in lifting Your name
Above all others,
That we may lift our voices in thanksgiving
To the God of our salvation.
In Your righteousness and grace, rescue and deliver us
From the evils of this present age.
Bring consolation to the afflicted,
And restore the many families who suffer today.
In You there is hope in the darkest of times.
At the sound of Your voice the winds and rain bow.
Upon You alone we lean for our stability.
Give us spiritual vision and lighten our pathways.
Our praise will be continually before You.
A song of gratitude for the freedom You have granted;
A song of mourning for our perversion of it;
A lament for our national blindness and rebellion.
Do not cast us off to our own devices,
For our foolish hearts and minds deceive us
Into pursuing the shallow profits of this world,
While ignoring the priceless blessings of eternity.
O God, do not be far from us,
Make haste to help and deliver us, yet again.
Evil creeps at our doorsteps and seeks to entice us
Into a worthless battle of the flesh.
They who hate You seek to destroy us;
Therefore, for Your own glory, and
In Your Holy Name, rise up to meet them,
And let them run in fear.
We will wait for Your salvation, O Lord,
For we know there is no other,
And much blessing awaits those who wait on You.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
How glorious are your works!
The colors of the sky are such a wonderful
Reflection of Your mighty deeds.
There is none like You.
This we know to be true and good.
From sunset to sundown, may Your name
Be praised in all the Earth.
We give You thanks for, even in the midst of tragedy,
We can do all things through Your Son,
Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
It is through Him that we rise up and go to sleep.
Lack of resources are no problem at all;
From our lack of trust deliver us.
Respect and honor we do not seek for ourselves;
Let Your name be lifted high, this is our aim.
Help us to walk in the power of Your Spirit.
Help us to speak light-shining truth and
To stand against evil; help us to care—
Care for those who are most vulnerable.
Forgive us our trespasses and help us to walk
Worthy of the calling which You have given us.
These are difficult times; we acknowledge that.
But we will stand firm on Your Word, no matter the difficulties.
Help us to withstand the enemy’s attacks
And guide us in all goodness, honor and purity.
Refine us in love and Your excellence.
Help us to worship You in spirit and truth.
Unite us in brotherly love,
Help us see our neighbors’ need and
Move our hearts with compassion
As Yours is moved time and again.
These things we pray,
With thanksgiving and faith,
In Jesus’ Holy Name,
Oh Lord, behold our affliction
For the suffering of our people.
What sorrow afflicts us at the sight
Of what is happening in our country.
We groan for the victimized and terrorized
At the hands of evil, unscrupulous men.
Who hate the truth and the light
And seek to extinguish our spirit.
That they shall fail is a fact;
This much we know, because we trust in You.
But how we grieve for the mothers and fathers,
Brothers and sisters, friends and loved ones lost.
And this division — this despicable division that infects us!
It won’t even let us grieve properly.
It corrodes everything it touches;
And it threatens to touch everything, no matter how far we run.
But we run to You, oh Lord,
Our hope and salvation,
Our strength and refuge.
Who can stand in Your holy presence?
He who has clean hands and pure heart, Your Word says.
Therefore, we repent, our Savior and King.
We repent of our sins — of our apathy.
Search our hearts and clean us — this we pray.
For our many transgressions, we weep.
Our eyes flow with tears at the sight of what we’ve become,
Even as we know right from wrong.
In full knowledge, we’ve turned from You.
Now our sadness consumes us.
Our enemies rejoice at the sight of our distress.
All that we have, we cannot enjoy,
For we have sought it apart from You.
But there is hope for those who seek after You,
For Your mercies are new every morning.
Your grace covers a multitude of transgressions,
And Your love, Your love can heal us.
Your love is the bond of perfection —
In this love, we can stand united.
In this love, we are secure and
Can rediscover our purpose and essence.
We were created for Your glory;
Only in You is there joy and peace;
We were created in Your image,
And we are to reflect your light throughout the world.
We come running to You, oh Lord.
Turning our eyes from the distress around us,
We focus on You alone,
The Author and Sustainer of our faith.
In You only, there is peace —
That peace that surpasses understanding.
Your peace You offer to us;
How marvelous are Your ways!
We know this is the work
Of the Helper You have given us;
Your Holy Spirit
Let it move with power in our land.
Let it reign in our hearts and minds.
Let it transform many hearts,
Renewing the minds of our young people.
Give them ears to hear, Lord.
Turn their hearts towards You.
Give them wisdom beyond their years,
Let them keep Your commandments.
Enable them to honor their mothers and fathers;
To love their neighbors as themselves;
To keep themselves pure,
Ignoring the spirits of this age.
Above all, let them love You
With all their hearts, minds, souls, and strength.
Help them honor Your Word
And revere Your statutes.
Help us rebuild Your church in America, Holy Father.
We seem powerless, having lost our focus.
Turn us back to You;
Give us boldness and commitment to Truth.
Help us love; teach us to love.
We know not what we do.
Like sheep without a Shepherd,
We go from here to there … without end.
And the hurt …
The thirst, depression, and rage consume us.
The cancer of secularism has spread.
We are dead. Spiritually dead.
But praise Your name, we are whom You came to save!
The lost, the strayed, the sick, the dead.
In You we are found, healed, forgiven;
Yes, even resurrected, by the blood of the Lamb Who was slain.
For this Great Awakening, we continue to pray.
For Truth to spread — eyes opened, beauty displayed.
Grant us our request, if You will, Lord Jesus.
In Your Name we pray, Amen.
Click here for more prayers from our For America Prayer Journal.