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President Donald Trump held a rally on Saturday, February 18, 2017, early in the evening at the AeroMod hangar in Melbourne, Florida.
In a welcome move, First Lady Melania Trump introduced the rally with the Lord’s Prayer:
Big Media criticised the first lady for reading the prayer instead of reciting it from memory. What if she is accustomed to praying in Slovenian?
It must be difficult for her right now. She is holed up in Trump Tower most days and doesn’t even take ten-year-old Barron to school anymore because the Secret Service would have to lay on a big motorcade. It is easier on New Yorkers if the Secret Service do the school run every day. The first lady does not wish to be a burden on her fellow citizens.
It must also be heart-wrenching for her to watch or read Big Media every day. Nearly every news item is an attack on her husband. She is no doubt also worried about those in government in Washington DC. Who is supporting him? Who is betraying him?
Therefore, it seems a natural choice that she would begin with the Lord’s Prayer, one that every Christian knows and can be prayed together.
I like the Revd Franklin Graham’s take below (Image credit: The Conservative Treehouse):
After praying, the first lady gave a brief message about her role, which will involve supporting initiatives for women and children:
Those personal attacks come from the Left. Although she is a legal immigrant, they have no time for her.
Now for a few words about the rally. Those who do not understand Trump will wonder what the point is if he is already president. However, Trump enjoys being with the American people and always has done. Last July at the Republican National Convention, Franklin Graham described him as a ‘blue collar billionaire’. That describes him to a T!
Trump’s Deplorables also miss the rallies, so they welcome any occasion to see him speak to them in person.
The queue at the airport in Melbourne began forming early Saturday morning. The Conservative Treehouse (CTH) has a great report with pictures (emphasis in the original):
The crowd began as early as 5am this morning, and the line was building throughout the day. At approximately 1:00pm the massive line is well over 3 miles long and consists of thousands upon thousands of Trump Supporters. The event starts at 5:00pm
HOLY CATS !! The line of people is so long, it is now actually “lapping” around (meaning completely encircling ) the entire airport property boundary. It’s insane !
Another report from CTH has an RSBN video which features interviews with Trump supporters — and this comment:
There are massive crowds of people in attendance – not quite sure how the airport is going to fit them all in.
Here is a tweet of RSBN’s Margaret Howell (ex-Infowars) interviewing a Deplorable:
Approximately 9,000 people attended, according to Melbourne Police. Of course, this number did not go unnoticed by The Hill:
This rally was set up only a few days ago. Last September’s — before the election — was on Trump’s website for several days in advance. The Hill reports that 15,000 tried to get in to that one, but ‘some’ people were turned away (fire regulations). Remember that Hillary Clinton never attracted more than a few hundred people when she appeared. Her campaign sometimes had to bus people in to attend (e.g. Temple University).
Whatever the case with Trump’s numbers, it does not matter. Nine thousand people is huge. Matt Drudge hit the nail on the head:
The Trumps arrived on Air Force One:
The first lady looked resplendent in red:
CTH has close-up shots of the couple, particularly Melania.
Trump spoke about the media and their fake news. He said that Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln also had problems with press coverage during their time in office. He said that he inherited a ‘real mess’ but that the White House is running ‘so smoothly’. He reassured the audience that a replacement for Obamacare was on its way. He explained how the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the suspension of his Executive Order seeking to stop immigration from seven countries for a 90-day preiod. He also warned about social breakdown that occurred with uncontrolled immigration in Europe. He spoke about his efforts in the past three weeks to create tens of thousands of new jobs for Americans.
The biggest point of the evening came when he introduced top Deplorable Gene Huber, first in line for the rally. He was interviewed by CNN and Fox News afterwards. More about him in another post, as I am waiting to see if Big Media treat him as badly as they did Joe the Plumber in 2008. May God bless Mr Huber and give him strength in the days ahead.
The National Prayer Breakfast took place on Thursday, February 2, 2017.
I did not know that President Eisenhower initiated this event in 1953. That said, prayer has long been a part of the American legislature.
Today, Washington DC has several prayer groups and Bible study sessions for a variety of men and women working in public service, from janitors to senators.
The video below is of the whole event which took place at the Hilton. Hundreds of people attended the breakfast, hosted by Congress and the Fellowship Foundation:
Ben Zobrist of the Chicago Cubs — 2016’s Most Valuable Player (the Cubs won the World Series after 108 years) — opened with a heartfelt, eloquent and moving prayer. Breakfast then commenced. (Photo credit: Wikipedia.)
President Trump did not eat. Instead, he engaged in lively conversation at table (26:00). He had a lot to say.
Although the breakfast had Muslim guests, the speakers were Christian, except for the rabbi who recited a beautiful prayer in Hebrew and English (42:23).
US Senate Chaplain and Rear Admiral Barry Black gave a dynamic 25-minute sermon (51:00). If you have the time, it is definitely worth listening to him. The man really knows his Scripture, and that, he said, came about thanks to his mother. She would pay him and his siblings five cents for every new Bible verse that they memorised. One day, young Barry began reciting several newly-memorised verses. His mother said he would only be receiving no more than a quarter — twenty-five cents. He said that he went on to read the Bible after that, to find out more about Jesus Christ and God the Father.
Mark Burnett, producer of The Apprentice, spoke next (1:20:00). He described how he and Trump met at Trump Tower when Burnett floated the idea of the successful 14-series television show with the billionaire. (Arnold Schwarzenegger now hosts it and ratings have tanked. See below.) Trump told Burnett to ring his agent to ask if the real estate mogul could be the star. The agent said no. Trump then got on the phone with the agent. According to him, the conversation ended with, ‘You’re fired!’ (Trump said that came later, once the agent asked for his commission.)
The News Junky has more on Burnett’s address regarding Trump. Of their friendship, Burnett said:
It’s been one of the greatest relationships of my life.
Yet, in October 2016, when he refused to release a supposedly incriminating tape from The Apprentice:
Burnett released a statement saying: “I am NOT ‘Pro-Trump.’ Further, my wife and I reject the hatred, division and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign.”
I did not know that Burnett was British. He was born in Dagenham, to the east of London, in 1960. Dagenham was the site of Britain’s Ford plant. Burnett’s parents worked there. His father was a Presbyterian and his mother a Catholic. Burnett and his wife Roma Downey are practising Christians.
Burnett served in the Paras and saw action during the Falklands War. He emigrated to the United States in 1982 and worked for the first few years as a nanny. His second employer offered him a job in his insurance company. Burnett took that and also went into business for himself at the weekend selling tee-shirts. Realising that he was making more money from the shirts, he resigned from his position in insurance.
In 1991, he and four others signed up for a French adventure competition, the Raid Gauloises. Afterwards, he decided to stage his own competitions, beginning with Eco-Challenge, which launched his career as a television producer. The final of the highly-rated Survivor was crucial to the rest of his career. It was filmed at the Wollman Ice Rink in Central Park which Trump had made viable again after years of neglect. Trump showed up to watch on the sidelines and introduced himself to Burnett, giving him his personal phone number. That’s how Burnett arranged his aforementioned meeting at Trump Tower. (You can read more about Burnett’s life at The Ringer: worthwhile and inspiring for young people pursuing a career.)
I digress — but only somewhat.
The president spoke last (1:30:00). He opened by saying that he hoped to address the crowd at seven more National Prayer Breakfasts. After complimenting various guests and speakers, he spoke about The New Celebrity Apprentice and its low ratings, half-jokingly asking the crowd to pray for Arnold Schwarzenegger. The media will go crazy over that, but that took less than a minute.
Trump thanked the thousands of Americans who have said to him, ‘I will pray for you’. He said those were the five most important words he has heard from the campaign to the present. He then spoke at length about the selfless service of the military, referring to the recent completed mission in Yemen in which one Navy SEAL, Ryan Owens, lost his life. (Trump and Ivanka went to pay their respects to his family.)
He spoke of God’s blessings on America and said that it is a ‘nation of believers’. He said that ‘spiritual success’ is far more important than ‘material success’; those with the latter are miserable because they lack the former.
He also spoke about the Bible lessons his mother gave him and his siblings when they were children. She used the Bible upon which he was sworn in on January 20.
He also spoke about the challenges he is facing but told the crowd not to ‘worry about it’. He also explained that while he supports immigration, the new arrivals should only be those people who love America.
He ended by stressing the importance of a sustaining ‘faith in God’, because:
With God we are never alone.
Trump’s faith is returning. He spoke well and had useful messages to give not only to those at the prayer breakfast — but all of us, even those who are not American.
Friday, January 20, marked the beginning of the Don of a new era for the United States.
As many have said, it is always darkest before the Don.
What follows are highlights of not only Inauguration Day but the whole weekend.
Far from being austere, as many of us expected, it was wall-to-wall activity from dawn to dusk!
Before the post unfolds, let’s remember that:
It is possible because Big Media are — and have been — plain contrary. That’s an archaic use of contrary, but, in that sense, it means stubborn and resistant to reason.
All credit to Bill Mitchell, he boarded the Trump Train just before or after the Republican National Convention. Even though he objected to Pepe the Frog, the unofficial Trump mascot, he duly apologised on Twitter. Pepe gained traction with Hillary Clinton, who even lambasted the cartoon frog in a campaign speech.
Bill Mitchell hosts and presents YourVoice™ Radio, likely to become more popular over the next four years.
Even more interesting is this quote from Pastor Robert Jeffress, a big Trump supporter:
Thursday, January 19
January 19 was a busy day for the Trump family.
Flight from La Guardia to Joint Base Andrews
Donald Trump’s flight with his family, including his two sisters and brother, would be the last one he would take before becoming president.
Fox 10 Phoenix has a great video of the plane landing at Andrews. The interesting bit starts at 10:55 when someone on board tells ten-year-old Barron to leave the plane first. Not surprisingly, Barron, unusually wearing his hair over his forehead, is reluctant. The future first couple disembark at the 13:00 point. The extensive motorcade departs at 17:07, complete with a first-responder truck and an ambulance. The black Chevy Suburban vans are reinforced just like armoured cars:
Once in DC, the Trumps went to the Trump International Hotel (The Old Post Office), where the incoming president held an Inauguration Luncheon to honour Republican Party leaders:
Welcome Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial
That afternoon, the Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration took place in front of the massive — and grand — Lincoln Memorial, which is considerably larger than one imagines. Seeing it in person is awe-inspiring.
A variety of musical acts, including splendid military bands, performed. Trump gave a speech before a display from Grucci Fireworks ended the event in the early evening. Unfortunately, the last two displays let the whole thing down. ‘USA’ appeared as ‘USR’ and the American flag was, sadly, a blur. It is a pity, because their fireworks show before that was excellent.
This short video from Dan Scavino, Director of Social Media, gives a great summary of the event, including the fireworks. From left to right are Tiffany Trump (mother is Marla Maples Trump), Ivanka (Ivana Trump), the first couple, granddaughter Kai (Donald Jr’s daughter), Donald Jr (Ivana) with his wife Vanessa and son, then to the far right, Eric (Ivana) and his wife:
The first couple contemplated the larger than life statue of Abraham Lincoln:
The event ended with the new first couple thanking their supporters. Never mind the sentiment from a Twitter user. I wanted to show you just how ‘yuuge’ Lincoln’s statue is:
The Daily Mail has a comprehensive article, complete with photos and a video, about the concert and Trump’s address at the end, just before the fireworks.
Interestingly, Trump had a special meeting afterwards with a 23-year-old single father, Shane Bouvet, from Illinois who had given an interview to the Washington Post just days before. Trump saw the article and made sure he could meet the man, who is struggling to make ends meet. The billionaire had a private conversation with Bouvet and gave him a cheque for $10,000.
Campaign donors dinner
However, the evening had only just begun. A dinner to thank campaign donors took place afterwards at DC’s majestic Union Station. Both the Trumps and the Pences attended and addressed their guests.
Mike Pence opened his remarks by saying the administration would repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump (2:59) said that choosing Mike Pence was one of the best decisions he’s ever made. He then went on to talk about the amazing election results where Republicans won in states they had lost forever. He mentioned Iowa. They had not won there since 1952. He then spoke about his cabinet nominees. The high point, however, was when he thanked Kellyanne Conway (18:28), the first successful female presidential campaign manager in American history. (I don’t understand what these feminists were protesting at the weekend in DC. Surely, Kellyanne’s success and the many women employees at the Trump Organization prove them wrong.)
Then it was time to turn in for some rest. The Pences returned to their house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which they rented and moved to soon after the election.
The first couple and family members spent the night at Blair House, a complex of four buildings for guests of the president.
The photo below shows Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner at Blair House. Kushner will play a principal role as a presidential adviser. Both are practising Jews. Ivanka converted before her wedding. Kushner recently gave up holdings in his family real estate firm to be able to take on his new role:
Early in the morning, preparations for the inauguration ceremony began.
Meanwhile, Bikers For Trump were arriving in Washington, DC to form ‘a wall of meat’ in case the new president needed protection. Days earlier, Clinton family friend Dominic Puopolo, 51, was arrested by Miami Beach police for saying that he would be at the inauguration to ‘kill President Trump’.
This photo shows Donald Trump ready to leave Blair House in Washington, DC early in the morning of January 20. Trump’s granddaughter Kai (Donald Jr’s daughter) and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former head of the Republican Party, are to the right of Trump:
From there, it was on to a morning service on Friday at St John’s Church (Episcopal) — known as the Church of the Presidents — in Lafayette Square, near the White House. The rector, the Reverend Dr. Luis León, greeted the first couple in front of the church.
They were joined by family and prominent well wishers. The first couple are on the far left centre of the photo. The Pences are in the lower left-hand corner:
The aforementioned Pastor Jeffress delivered the sermon:
Meeting at the White House
The first couple left St John’s for the White House, where they had coffee with the Obamas:
Melania Trump gave a large gift from Tiffany & Co to Michelle Obama. Presenting a gift is a tradition from an incoming first lady to a departing one.
Afterwards, it was on to the Capitol building for the swearing-in ceremony:
Trump quipped at the donor’s dinner the night before that he didn’t care if it rained on Inauguration Day, because at least people would see that his hair was real!
The incoming president awaited his cue inside the Capitol building:
All living former presidents are invited to attend the inauguration and are seated near the front. Former presidents Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalyn, William Jefferson Clinton and Hillary and George W Bush (Bush II) and Laura were in attendance.
George H W Bush (Bush I) and Barbara sent in their acceptance but were hospitalised days earlier. On Tuesday, January 10, he sent Trump a cordial, witty letter of regret.
Although Bush II tweeted the following earlier, at the swearing-in ceremony, he joked ad nauseam with the Clintons, seated next to him and Laura, signifying to the television viewer that he was closer to them than to Trump, his fellow Republican. But we all knew that the Bushes were NeverTrumpers because they said so.
Despite Trump’s sincerity, here’s the hypocrisy of it all. Dan Scavino Jr, rightly, took it sincerely. Then, the live coverage rolled and something else entirely was on display. Trump, no doubt, expected something different based on this (Bush I was the 41st president, by the way):
These were the prayers offered before the inauguration by clergy who were principal Trump supporters:
The Revd Franklin Graham did not hesitate to say there is only one God:
Here is the swearing-in by Chief Justice John Roberts. The first couple’s son, Barron, 10, is to the right of the first lady. She held two closed Bibles, the Lincoln Bible (bottom) and Trump’s own, a gift from his mother (top):
Entertainment Weekly reports that Trump’s inauguration received the second highest television ratings for that event. Top-rated was Obama’s first swearing-in, which 37.8m Americans watched in 2009. Trump’s audience was 30.6m. However, Heavy points out that, in 1981, 41.8m people watched Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration. That places Obama in second place and Trump in third. Definitive online viewing figures are unavailable at this time.
Important lines from the inaugural speech included the following. First, on the elites, several of whom were present. Politico reported:
“Their victories have not been your victories,” he said. “Their triumphs have not been your triumphs and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.” He also made a promise: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.
January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.
The closing lines were the following:
To Americans: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. Your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again – and yes, together, WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
However, most important were Trump’s mentions of God, including:
We will be protected by God.
WND‘s Garth Kant wrote of the contrast between Trump and his predecessor with regard to the inauguration speech:
Trump mentioned himself just three times in the 1,400 words he delivered in his speech lasting 16 minutes and 20 seconds. He referred to the American people 45 times.
By comparison, Obama, as is his wont, mentioned himself 207 times in 84 minutes while campaigning for Hillary during a November speech ostensibly about her.
And, to make sure it was crystal clear that there has been a sea change not just in style but also in substance, Trump emphatically uttered the Obama administration’s three forbidden words: “radical Islamic terrorism,” which, he promised, “we will eliminate from the face of the earth.”
Kant channelled JFK’s Camelot:
However, the speech wasn’t just about ending American erosion. It was about a bright new beginning. Just as did Kennedy, Trump envisioned a promising future. One in which:
“We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
“We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
“We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.”
One could arguably call it Kenndyesque.
Kant was most complimentary of the first daughter but couldn’t say enough about the new first lady:
This was grace personified.
A stately, poised, and stunning elegance were certainly part of it. But there was more. It wasn’t just what she was wearing. It was her bearing. Her perfectly poised demeanor.
And the crowd could clearly sense it, even if they could no more articulate it than to say “wow” over and over, which was what so many were doing.
She was a regal presence.
There was nobility.
Not because of her new station in life, but because of her carriage. The way she carried herself. Full of poise and grace.
Before lunch, President Trump had work to attend to at the Capitol, signing his cabinet nominations into law. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R, WI) is standing next to Barron. At the front are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) and, on the right, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D, CA):
Trump spoke at the lunch and was gracious enough to publicly acknowledge his opponent Hillary Clinton, present with Bill. Trump’s daughter Tiffany sat at their table. You can see all the speeches here.
The DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) once again lent their Eagle Lectern for use at the luncheon.
The Trumps walked for two minutes in the inaugural parade:
After the walk along Pennsylvania Avenue, the motorcade drove up to the White House, where the Trumps, Pences and family members disembarked and walked to the reviewing stand.
Barron probably found the two-hour event overwhelming at times (I would have), but he enjoyed himself:
The military bands played and marched past, as did a myriad of high school and university bands and special groups representing American history and service.
One of the those groups was the Navajo Code Talkers. Only two were able to make it to the parade. One of my readers, the author of the Pacific Paratrooper blog, wrote about their invaluable role in the Pacific during the Second World War. Well worth a read.
The Talledega College Marching Tornado Band from Alabama participated for the first time. Talledega is an all black college founded by two former slaves after the Civil War. Their band director received threats when he said the college wanted to perform in the parade. Since then, they have received more than $1m in donations which will be dedicated to the band’s needs. Talledega are a special band, because the college has no football team, so they rely on band contests and big parades such as this.
The full video of the parade is below. New York Military Academy, Trump’s alma mater, are at 2:03. Talledega are at 2:09. The Navajo Code Talkers are at 2:14. Virginia Military Institute closed the parade.
But, for Barron, the big highlight was the Rural Tractor Brigade (2:22:00), magnificently souped up. Look at his face (2:23:00). He beams and says, ‘Yesss!’ At 2:24:00, it looks as if Mike Pence sees the lad’s enthusiasm. He probably thought, ‘We’ve got to get him to Indiana for a tractor ride!’ (Separate tractor video here.)
After the parade
President Trump was eager to do some work before attending the evening’s events:
The Daily Mail has more.
The president and first lady — and the Pences — attended three inaugural balls.
Two took place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The other was held at the National Building Museum.
Donald Trump Jr, his wife Vanessa and daughter Kai were ready to go:
This video shows President Trump and First Lady Melania at one of the balls dancing to My Way:
At the Armed Services Ball, the Trumps and Pences danced with military personnel (starts at 2:21):
There was also a magnificent cake for all to enjoy:
First lady and first daughters attire
Melania Trump’s stunning inauguration outfit was a Ralph Lauren creation.
The first lady co-designed her striking silk crepe inaugural ballgown with Hervé Pierre, former creative director at Carolina Herrera. This stunning creation will help him launch his own couture house.
Pierre told Women’s Wear Daily:
“It was an amazing experience!” he continued, noting that Trump’s contributions were technical as well as aesthetic. “She knows what she likes. Our conversations were, and are, very easy. She knows about fashion, as a former model. She is aware about constructions, so we have already the same vocabulary when it comes to designing a dress.”
Ivanka Trump’s sparkling gown came from Carolina Herrera’s fashion house. Tiffany Trump purchased her gown from a Hollywood design house, Simin Couture. Ladies will enjoy full size photos and the article in the Daily Mail.
Saturday, January 21
Newspapers from around the world featured the inauguration on their front pages.
Saturday was a day of prayer and work for President Trump.
Prayer came first.
National Prayer Service
The National Prayer Service was held at the National Cathedral (Episcopal) in Washington, DC.
It featured 26 religious leaders. Most were Christian. Others came from world faiths such as Judaism and Islam as well as more diverse groups, such as the Navajo Nation.
The following are short videos and photos from the service:
This girl, Marlana Van Hoose, was born blind and given only a year to live. The video below is from the service. She received a standing ovation afterwards — led by the First Lady!
Marlana is a committed Christian, firm in her faith. God has blessed her with a beautiful voice. She praises Him in song splendidly. She is yet another argument against abortion. May God bless her parents for giving her life and good, loving care.
In the next photo we see the Trumps and the Pences in the front row. May God bless them and keep them safe in the years ahead.
Sunday, January 22
On a lighter note, one of Trump’s grandsons feels at home in the White House:
Later, there was serious work to attend to:
The Conservative Treehouse has an excellent post on this group of people, most of whom hold no political office (emphases in the original):
This afternoon President Trump and Vice-President Pence participated in swearing in the White House Senior Staff. These are officials who represent the office of the President. For the first time in modern political history, these are mostly ordinary citizen staff members from outside public office….
…A representative staff of outsiders, reflecting a
representative government for outsiders… Forgotten no more.
President Donald Trump has only selected a group of 30 people for commission to act as officers of the President and representatives of the White House. Together with their families, the official ceremony to pledge an oath to their office took place this afternoon.
Like millions around the world, I am praying in thanksgiving for the new president’s safe inauguration. We were very worried something would prevent it from taking place.
Now we look ahead, remaining prayerful for success.
How blessed America is! How blessed the world is!
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
In His infinite mercy, God heard our prayers and acknowledged our repentance by giving us Donald Trump. Those were words I never thought I would write, yet, here we are.
In anticipation of Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017, below are two Prayers for the President of the United States from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (BCP), used by the Episcopal Church in America.
The 1928 BCP is used in very few Episcopal churches these days, but many of us who worshipped with it miss its beauty.
These prayers form part of the Morning Prayer liturgy:
A Prayer for The President of the United States, and all in Civil Authority.
O LORD, our heavenly Father, the high and mighty Ruler of the universe, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth; Most heartily we beseech thee, with thy favour to behold and bless thy servant THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and all others in authority; and so replenish them with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that they may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way. Endue them plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant them in health and prosperity long to live; and finally, after this life, to attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
¶ Or this.
O LORD our Governor, whose glory is in all the world; We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and to all in Authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness; and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
The Trumps and the Pences will attend a morning service on Friday at St John’s Church in Lafayette Square, near the White House. It is known as the Church of the Presidents. No doubt, the celebrant will use a more modern version of one of the above intercessions for the incoming president and his advisers.
As an Episcopalian — now Anglican, by virtue of living in the UK — I am delighted that the president-elect worships in Episcopal churches. (He and the future first lady were married at Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach and attend services there. Trump was raised a Presbyterian.)
St John’s Church has served the faithful of Washington, DC since 1815. Its bell, erected in 1822, was designed by Paul Revere’s son, Joseph. It has been in continuous service ever since.
The church’s 25 stained glass windows were made in Chartres, France, a historic centre of stained glass since the Middle Ages. They were installed between 1883 and 1885. They depict events in the life of Jesus. The main window above the altar interprets the Last Supper.
Beginning with James Madison, every US president has attended services at St John’s. That said, everyone is welcome as a member or as a visitor. There are 1,000 members of the congregation.
You can read more about their church services here.
The Romans worshipped him at the beginning of the year. Early Christians worshipped underground at that time, which explains why January 1 has had special religious significance for over two millennia.
Janus was depicted with two faces, as illustrated in Wikipedia.
The month of January is named after him: closing the door on one year and opening the door to a new one.
In linguistics there are Janus words: those which carry contradictory meanings. Susie Dent, an English lexicographer and etymologist as well as the queen of Dictionary Corner on the brainy game show Countdown, explained in last week’s Radio Times (31 December 2016 – 6 January 2017):
Such words are usually known as contranyms: in other words, they have meanings that directly contradict each other, depending on the context. To “sanction” something, for example, can mean to authorise its use, but it can also mean to penalise it. To “screen a film is to show it, but to screen something from view is to hide it. You can be in a fix, but you might also be able to fix the same problem.
Mental Floss, among other websites, has more examples of Janus words.
Going back to January, this is the start of many endings and many beginnings which will take place around the world, starting in the United States on Friday, January 20. What timing. It will be a long weekend for a number of Americans who plan to take the day off and celebrate the inauguration of Donald Trump, even if they do it from the comfort of their own home.
Washington DC will be a madhouse that day:
Newsweek has the full three-day schedule of events, which begins with a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington Cemetery on Thursday, January 19 and ends with the interfaith National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral (Episcopalian) on Saturday, January 21.
Inauguration 2017 has more detailed information.
The parade following the swearing-in ceremony will be shortened this year. Trump is eager to get to work — and probably has a low boredom threshold — so it will only be an hour long. Similarly, there will only be three official inaugural balls that evening. The incoming president and first lady will appear at all three.
As is customary, past US presidents and their wives will be in attendance to witness the transfer of power. Although George HW Bush will not be present because of health problems, his son George W Bush and wife Laura will be there. Jimmy Carter is going. Bill and Hillary Clinton will also attend.
Chief Justice John Roberts Jr will conduct the swearing-in ceremony at noon (Eastern time).
We are about to begin an exciting time which will reverberate throughout the world.
France, Germany and the Netherlands have elections this year, so it will be interesting to see what the Trump Effect will be.
Foreign policy will also change dramatically. We can look forward to a time of peace in that respect, as Trump prefers negotiation to conflict.
Furthermore, as I said two weeks ago, it will also be a time of great revelations with regard to the Democrat/Republican combine.
Stay tuned! A new chapter of history is about to be written and we’ll be alive to witness it.
May everyone reading this enjoy a very happy Christmas!
The painting above dates from 1622. It is called Adoration of the Shepherds. Gerard (Gerrit) van Honthorst, a Dutch Golden Age painter, studied in Italy and took his influences from Caravaggio’s use of chiaroscuro, as you can see from the way the light plays on the Holy Family and the shepherds.
You can find out more in the following post:
Happy Christmas, one and all! (John 1:1-17)
For more on John 1, see:
Christmas Day — John 1:14 (with commentary from Matthew Poole)
Lutherans might appreciate these posts:
These are also helpful:
The_Donald‘s contributors have been discussing our Lord Jesus in some of their posts. This year, a few of them have rediscovered Christianity. In this post (sadly, language alert), someone cited Isaiah 53:1-6:
53 Who has believed what he has heard from us?[a]
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected[b] by men,
a man of sorrows[c] and acquainted with[d] grief;[e]
and as one from whom men hide their faces[f]
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
In the midst of our celebrations, may we always remember and be ever grateful for the one sufficient sacrifice our Lord made for us.
Let us pray that more people will come to Christ this year. I was moved by what The_Donald’s posters had to say. Here are five separate comments, the last of which is the Roman Catholic Grace:
Cold Case Christianity. Powerful stuff from a life long atheist and veteran homicide detective. Powerful evidence of Christ. I used to be hardcore atheist and specifically anti-theist. I couldn’t deny the evidence presented. And ultimately – what if someone is wrong about believing in God (for real) – worst case scenario you become a better person. Worst case scenario for atheism is way worse. That was only a small step on an ongoing walk but it spoke to me.
It’s really sad that someone who only desired the best in people would make people angry. He led such a life of self-sacrifice, that I desire my character to be like His.
And if God be for us, who can stand against?
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Bless us, o Lord, and these thy gifts for which we are about to receive. And from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord, amen.
Over the weekend, it became clear that Jill Stein of the Green Party may well be able to have a recount of November 8 votes in Wisconsin.
Pennsylvania and Michigan are her other targets.
Donald Trump won all three states. Together, they represent 46 electoral votes.
Stein claims her petition concerns the integrity of the voting system. It is also an opportunity to raise funds for her party even if the recounts do not proceed.
However, the aftermath of the election has been destructive and divisive. Jill Stein is fanning the flames and fuelling the fire. I might discuss this more in a future post.
So far, we have had protests galore over the past three weeks. Policemen are also shot — some fatally — at random, although those are unrelated incidents. We also know that the Democrats and powerful people like George Soros (thought to be involved behind the scenes in the protests and recount petitions) do not want to see America made whole again. That would not be in their interests.
Someone at The Conservative Treehouse posted a link to the relevance of 2 Chronicles 13 and 14 to the situation in the United States at present. Holding Forth His Word posted ‘Fight’, which I encourage everyone to read. Excerpts follow, emphases in the original (mine in purple):
Jill Stein who praises communist Castro should be sued for her frivolous recount efforts! America must defeat these foes who fight against our great nation, our electoral process and our duly elected President! As we defeat them by God’s power and enabling we will see peace and prosperity return to our land …
America and Americans must overcome the evil leftist forces in our nation trying to destroy our country and who have made US vulnerable to attacks both foreign and domestic. This is serious business; we must pray and work diligently to see it all turned around! Like king Asa and Judah America must live lives of integrity, honesty and goodness with one another …
9 Then Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and he came to Mareshah. 10 So Asa went out against him, and they set the troops in battle array in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 And Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude, O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!” 12 So the Lord struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 And Asa and the people who were with them pursued them to Gerar. So the Ethiopians were overthrown, and the could not recover, for they were broken before the Lord and His army. And they carried away very much spoil. 14 Then they defeated all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord came upon them; and they plundered all the cities, for there was exceedingly much spoil in them. 15 They also attacked the livestock enclosures, and carried off sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 14:9-15
Judah was attacked by overwhelming forces, but God brought about a great deliverance and victory for Judah. Beloved all the harm the left has done the last eight years under Bara[c]k Obama may seem overwhelming but as we look to the Lord Jesus Christ relying on His deliverance while we fight we can overturn all the evil we see extant in the land and then gather in the resources set aside for evil purposes and instead use them for good. There is so much encouragement for US in this passage out of the Old Testament. Of a truth, God’s Word is a great encouragement to our hearts as we fight against evil in the land relying upon Him to deliver US from evil. Faithful believers in Jesus Christ let us work for the prosperity, peace and healing of the United States of America through obedient faith and reliant prayer.
Dear Lord Jesus Christ we ask that You not allow our enemies to prevail against Your beloved children and this mighty nation. We ask that You would give US the victory over its foes and keep your children safe who live here. We praise You and trust You to save US. Amen!
“Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:47
Please pray for the safety of the Great Republic, the president-elect and those around him as well as for the American people in the weeks ahead. Please pray that the Lord delivers the United States from enemies within.
These recounts, should they proceed, are meant to destabilise the United States. If voting systems were so precarious, wouldn’t Jill Stein, computer experts and legal counsel have advised action earlier this year rather than now?
In closing, in case anyone doubts the Left’s — including Big Media’s — admiration for the late Fidel Castro, these tweets prove otherwise:
Then, there is this:
Wait to see if anyone from the current administration attends Castro’s funeral. If they do, you know where their true allegiances lie.
In closing, while this is hypothetical, I’d like to see Jill Stein get a vote recount in Cuba.
On April 26, 2016, The Guardian reported that the Church of England published a short prayer for the EU Referendum:
God of truth, give us grace to debate the issues in this referendum with honesty and openness. Give generosity to those who seek to form opinion and discernment to those who vote, that our nation may prosper and that with all the peoples of Europe we may work for peace and the common good; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
The article says that the prayer was carefully worded to maintain neutrality.
However, the Right Reverend David Hamid, the Anglican Suffragan Bishop in Europe, told The Guardian he hopes Remain wins because a number of his congregants are British expats living and working on the Continent. He also thinks remaining in the EU secures peace.
The leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, also supports Remain because he prefers the status quo; it is easier, he says, for countries to work together.
Apparently, so do those placing EU Referendum bets with Ladbrokes. On May 21, Matthew Shaddick (‘Shadsy’ at PoliticalBetting.com) wrote an article for The Spectator discussing the bets placed recently on the referendum’s outcome. Shaddick is Ladbrokes’ head of political odds. He says:
Bookies have seen a very substantial swing toward Remain over the last few days. The odds on the UK staying in Europe have collapsed from 1/3 last week to 1/5 today. This shows that the chances of Brexit are now at a new low of just 21 per cent compared to the giddy heights of 40 per cent at the end of 2015.
On balance, the polls have probably been better for Remain recently, but there’s still a lot of variance, with some surveys still showing Leave ahead. However, the betting public can only see one result: with more than nine pounds out of every ten wagered at Ladbrokes over the last month being staked on a Remain victory.
Conventional wisdom and history tells us that bookies are not often wrong. Shaddick reminds us that they got the results of both the 2014 Scottish Referendum and 2015 UK election results correct.
On the Referendum, I’ve gone for a bet on Remain winning with between 55 per cent and 60 per cent of the vote, but if the odds for Leave get any bigger that might become the value bet.
No doubt he has seen the results of a huge poll of 22,000 voters, published in The Independent on May 18 and to be released in full later this month. The Independent says:
The outcome of the EU referendum vote is on a knife edge with little more than one month to go, according to one of the largest surveys to date.
… Remain has a narrow lead of 43 to 40.5 per cent, according to new data from the British Election Survey.
But the advantage is wiped out among voters who say they are very likely to vote – giving Leave the victory by 45 per cent to 44.5 per cent.
We have one month left until voting takes place on Thursday, June 23. Meanwhile, the name calling on the Remain side is ramping up. As James Delingpole, journalist and Leave supporter who is in Brexit: The Movie, put it for The Spectator:
… if I were an undecided wondering where to place my X, I think the thing that would swing it for me would be the marked difference in tone between the two camps — with the Remainers coming across as shrill, prickly and bitter, and the Brexiters surprisingly sunny, relaxed and optimistic.
This isn’t what you might have expected at the start of the campaign. Really, it makes no sense. When you’re the odds-on favourite with the weight of the global elite behind you — Obama, Lagarde, Goldman Sachs, the BBC, Ed Balls — you ought to be able to afford to be magnanimous, jolly and decent. It’s the anti-EU rebels, the spoilers, the malcontents, you’d imagine would be most afflicted by rage, spite and peevishness.
But it hasn’t turned out that way. Yes, there has been some vicious factional backbiting between the different Brexit camps, I can’t deny that. The tone of their campaigning, though, has been almost weirdly upbeat: Boris larking about with Cornish pasties and angle-grinders; Gove batting off Marr with his effortless good cheer; Farage with his pint-and-fags common touch; Martin Durkin with his insightful, inspirational and often very funny crowd-funded documentary Brexit: the Movie.
He’s right. I certainly won’t be discussing it offline anymore. Once was enough. Everyone — bar one, thanks to Brexit: The Movie — I know is for Remain. If Leave wins, I’ll never hear the end of it, until five years from now, when we turn our nation into a hybrid of Switzerland and post-war Germany.
It seems to me that the Remain people are fearful Leave might just squeak through. We can but see.
The three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.
Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy omit — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.
Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon
14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon,[a] and it[b] came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.[c] 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”[d]
Each of the synoptic gospels — Matthew, Mark and Luke — record this great healing miracle.
I wrote about Luke’s version (Luke 9:37-43) in 2014. That post addresses the variations in the three accounts. Mark’s, the most detailed, is included in the three-year Lectionary used in public worship.
It is worth recalling that Matthew 10:5-15 records that Jesus had already invested in the twelve apostles the gift of healing, the ability to perform creative miracles with the same power as His own.
The events in this passage took place shortly after Jesus, Peter, James and John descended from the mountain following the Transfiguration.
Here was a desperate man who knelt before Jesus, addressing Him as Lord, asking for His mercy towards his epileptic son (verses 14, 15). Not only was the boy epileptic but he also had a demon which prevented him from controlling his seizures and instead sent him into fire or water, causing him to risk injury or death.
The father was understandably aggrieved, all the more so because this was happening to his son, his heir. Luke’s version further clarifies the boy’s status as ‘only child’, making his state of mind and body even more desperate. Mark’s version adds that the boy is mute, so he had no way of communicating verbally.
The father’s despair is heightened because the disciples could not heal the lad (verse 16). Nine apostles would have been at the scene until Jesus and the other three arrived. Note that a large crowd was watching. Mark’s version says they were arguing. John MacArthur explains:
The other gospel writers tell us more about this crowd. Mark tells us it included scribes, Jewish legal experts, just the normal run-of-the-mill gang of people that populated the northern Galilee area. And also the nine other disciples who weren’t there at the Mount of Transfiguration. So you have the disciples, the scribes and the multitude of people. And they’re there to wait and to meet Jesus and the three who come down from the mountain.
The highly charged atmosphere brought a rebuke from Jesus (verse 17). Our two commentators differ on to whom he addressed his remark about a ‘faithless and twisted generation’. MacArthur says it was to the disciples in whom He had invested powerful healing gifts that they could not execute:
The whole generation was faithless and perverse, but He generalizes off of the specific and who were the specific ones who weren’t exercising faith? The disciples. It was the particular inability of the disciples from which He generalizes to the whole inability of the generation in which they lived, because the scribes standing there, they didn’t believe either. And the other nine disciples, they couldn’t pull it off. And the father himself was weak in faith.
Matthew Henry, on the other hand, surmises that Jesus was not addressing the disciples here but the crowd (emphases mine):
This is not spoken to the disciples, but to the people, and perhaps especially to the scribes, who are mentioned in Mark 9:14, and who, as it should seem, insulted over the disciples, because they had now met with a case that was too hard for them. Christ himself could not do many mighty works among a people in whom unbelief reigned. It was here owing to the faithlessness of this generation, that they could not obtain those blessings from God, which otherwise they might have had as it was owing to the weakness of the disciples’ faith, that they could not do those works for God, which otherwise they might have done. They were faithless and perverse. Note, Those that are faithless will be perverse and perverseness is sin in its worst colours. Faith is compliance with God, unbelief is opposition and contradiction to God. Israel of old was perverse, because faithless (Psalm 95:9), forward, for in them is no faith, Deuteronomy 32:20.
Then He asked, ‘How long am I to be with you?’ Henry explains:
Two things he upbraids them with. (1.) His presence with them so long “How long shall I be with you? Will you always need my bodily presence, and never come to such maturity as to be fit to be left, the people to the conduct of the disciples, and the disciples to the conduct of the Spirit and of their commission? Must the child be always carried, and will it never learn to go alone?” (2.) His patience with them so long How long shall I suffer you? Note, [1.] The faithlessness and perverseness of those who enjoy the means of grace are a great grief to the Lord Jesus. Thus did he suffer the manners of Israel of old, Acts 13:18. [2.] The longer Christ has borne with a perverse and faithless people, the more he is displeased with their perverseness and unbelief and he is God, and not man, else he would not suffer so long, nor bear so much, as he doth.
MacArthur adds that Jesus was looking forward to returning to God the Father:
You can see Him starting to get anxious to go back to the Father, can’t you? He sort of senses the end, how long do I have to endure this? You see, His contemporaries were disastrous failures and even His own disciples were continually having to learn the same lessons over and over and over and over. I mean, just look at the crowd. The crowd is thrill-seeking, they don’t really believe fully. The scribes, they’re gloating. Oh, you can know it, they’re gloating over the inability of the nine disciples to heal this young boy. I mean, they’re really happy they can’t do it. And the father is struggling with faith. And the disciples had failed to exercise the faith they needed to heal the young boy, even though they had the promise and the power. And so, to some degree, the whole bunch of them were faithless and twisted and diverted from trust in God. And Jesus says, thirty-three years is about all of this I can take.
Despite all of this, Jesus displayed His infinite mercy and instructed that the boy be brought to Him. His enduring compassion once again outweighed His frustration with sinful man. He rebuked the demon which immediately left the boy. Jesus instantly healed him (verse 18). He fully healed him at that moment.
The disciples approached Jesus privately to ask why they could not do the same thing (verse 19). He replied that it was because of their little faith (verse 20).
Then He employed two literary devices well known to the ancient Jews about faith: ‘like a grain of mustard seed’ and moving mountains. MacArthur explains both:
Most people misinterpret that mustard seed. The principle of the mustard seed is not that it’s little, no. The principle of the mustard seed is that it is little and it does what? It grows. You remember that principle? It’s in Matthew 13, sure you remember it. Verse 31, another parable He put forth unto them saying, “The Kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs and becomes a tree so the birds of air come and lodge in the branches of it.” And what you’ve got in the mustard seed is something that starts very, very small and grows very large …
Please, it is not saying that if you have little tiny faith the size of a grain of mustard seed that you could say mountain be removed. It’s not talking about literal mountains. It’s talking about mountains of difficulty. It’s figurative. In fact, when the Jews…by the way, this was a rather common Jewish phrase…when the Jews talked about removing mountains, they used it in reference to the ability to get past difficulties, or to remove difficulties. One writer says, “A great teacher who could really expound and interpret Scripture and who could explain and resolve difficulties was known as an uprooter or a pulverizer of mountains. To tear up, to uproot, to pulverize mountains were all regular phrases for removing difficulties. Jesus never meant this to be taken physically and literally. After all, the ordinary man seldom finds any necessity to remove a mountain. What He meant was, if you have faith enough, all difficulties can be solved and even the hardest task can be accomplished.”
So, what do we do? MacArthur tells us:
I believe there are many things that God desires for you to experience in your life that God desires to accomplish in your life that are available to you through the exercise of His divine power. But that power will never be tapped until you have the faith that starts small. And when it meets with resistance and when you don’t see it happen, the faith doesn’t die small, it gets larger and larger and larger. And you continue persistently in prayer …
He wants you to persist in prayer because that’s the extension of your faith. You see, if you just said, “God, I want this…” (snap) you’ve got it…you’d never learn the strength in your faith. You’d never be ready for the trial, would you? And so the Lord asks us to persist and persist …
And listen to me very carefully then, the antidote to little faith is what? Prayer…persistent prayer. Listen, James says it, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man…what?…availeth much. Effectual dedicated fervent passionate continuous persistent prayer gets results. You may never know the full promise of God. You may never know the full blessedness of God. You may never know the full rewards that…of all that God wants to bestow upon you until you learn persistent prayer.
Some undergoing constant or continuing personal trials might scoff. However, if they pray the way MacArthur advises while they are waiting for resolution or relief, God will grant the wherewithal and comfort to withstand despair.
I know a few people in the offline world who have undergone a lot during their lives. One woman in particular has experienced the deaths of three close family members: her only sibling — a brother — in her childhood, later her husband and, two years later, a beloved son. However, through it all, her faith has grown and grown to the size of a mustard tree.
Bottom line: let’s stop moaning. Let’s start praying.
In closing, some manuscripts have a verse 21, wherein Jesus says that this particular demon could only be got rid of through fasting and praying. MacArthur says:
The terms “and fasting” are not there in the original text. Someone added them. Matthew 2:19 says this is not a time for fasting when the bridegroom is present. And verse 21 isn’t even in the best manuscripts of Matthew, it’s borrowed from Mark’s account but it is at the end of Mark’s account. The story does end with this statement. So somebody, some scribe thought it capped off Matthew’s account so he pulled it over and put it here. And that’s fine in a sense because it is the ending of the story in Mark 9:29 and what the Lord says in the end is this kind goes not out except by prayer.
Henry’s commentary says that fasting sharpens prayer:
Fasting and prayer are proper means for the bringing down of Satan’s power against us, and the fetching in of divine power to our assistance. Fasting is of use to put an edge upon prayer it is an evidence and instance of humiliation which is necessary in prayer, and is a means of mortifying some corrupt habits, and of disposing the body to serve the soul in prayer. When the devil’s interest in the soul is confirmed by the temper and constitution of the body, fasting must be joined with prayer, to keep under the body.
Next time: Matthew 17:22-23
A huge hat tip to my reader Karina Susanto, who republished The Five Finger Prayer three years ago.
(Photo credit: Karina Susanto)
The Five Finger Prayer, used by both Catholics and Protestants, is a great method for young and old alike.
We begin by praying for those closest to us, progressing to those in leadership and authority over us. As our ring finger is our weakest finger, we pray for those who need strength or health. By the time we get to praying for ourselves, the petitions we have raised for other people in our lives and in the world help us to word our own requests to the Lord more clearly.
Karina’s post has the full explanation — short and easy to understand. Please read it. This prayer is a keeper.