Capital Prayer Alert

Friday, October 25, 2013

As you know, my wife, Carol, prepares a prayer alert about once a month. I hope you will share Carol's thoughts with your friends and fellow worshippers. Thank you for taking an interest in her monthly devotion. -- Gary

Gary and I recently had the wonderful opportunity to travel to London for a week. During the trip we discussed the educational challenges facing Great Britain with a cabinet secretary, met with pro-family spokesmen and visited historic sites like Westminster Abbey, the Churchill War Rooms and Churchill's home, Chartwell.

We were struck by the resourcefulness of the British people as they faced down the Germans in World War II, enduring 57 days of the London Blitz. And, we were moved that the country, which faced nearly insurmountable odds as an island nation unprepared for another World War, found its resolve and stood behind its prime minister.

Winston Churchill described their struggle in epic terms and brought out the best in the Brits. We knew the history, but only as we stood in the cramped War Rooms and viewed the huge maps on the wall, which were marked with pins indicating the presence of German subs many just miles off our East Coast, did the enormity of what they faced become tangible. It was a teachable moment about what a free people are capable of doing during a time of crisis. 

It strikes me that the United States faces a teachable moment right now, only ours is on the home front. The past weeks have been marked by breathtaking headlines about the government shutdown and the possibility of an economic apocalypse based on a debt ceiling crisis. In the midst of all that, the president's signature legislation, Obamacare, was formally launched. 

After three years of preparation and nearly $400,000,000 spent to develop the program, the launch has been a total disaster. No matter where you turn, whether radio talk shows, mainstream news casts or liberal newspapers, the commentary is filled with stories about the inability of people to sign up, the skyrocketing cost of health care coverage on the exchanges and the hundreds of thousands of people who will end up losing coverage or have to take a part-time job below 30 hours a week because employers cannot afford to cover workers under Obamacare's new definition of full-time employees. 

For years conservatives have warned that the president was making promises about coverage, costs, availability and doctors that were impossible to fulfill. Now it is evident those concerns were well founded. Obamacare simply is unworkable as sold to the American people. 

This situation is coupled with the lowest workforce participation since 1979. Combined with the staggeringly high costs of programs like food stamps (over $78 billion annually), you have a recipe for a domestic teachable moment. 

Interestingly, today's twenty-somethings may now be awakening to political realities. Now they are coming into adulthood in a country where good paying jobs are scarce, health insurance costs are staggering, America's debt is soaring and the American Dream seems elusive. Three of every four Americans tell pollsters the country is moving in the wrong direction. 

The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays will be an opportunity to give those young adults in our lives a listening ear, empathy, the chance to vent about what they thought would come of the broad brush promises made in recent years and perhaps some advice and encouragement in just the right tone. 

Sometimes the most enduring lessons are not learned in the classroom. It is my prayer that these days will be a wake-up call to the next generation about what is and is not possible in the real world of governing. 

I pray that everyone who reads this Prayer Alert will have an opportunity to touch the life of a young adult in the next two months as extended families gather to spend holiday time together. May these conversations be heart-to-heart words of understanding, encouragement, and guidance to the nation's young adults -- our future leaders -- who may feel frustrated, angry and disillusioned. 

Ask God for the opportunity to mentor or guide a young person who feels the country's best days are behind us. Pray that we as a country, together, would have a common desire to face facts, acknowledge what is not working, be open to change that rewards individual effort and responsibility and move in that direction in our individual choices, lifestyle and civic involvement. 

In addition, pray that God would heal the divisions in our country and end the poisonous rhetoric in our political discourse. 

It is my prayer that each of you would savor the blessings of a merciful God during the upcoming Thanksgiving season. Savor the time with family, friends and fellow men and women of faith as we celebrate our rich heritage and its foundation in a people seeking religious freedom. 

Finally, I thank you for your continued prayers for Gary and his work here in Washington as he gives voice to your values in this challenging atmosphere.