A word about this blog

Daily News and Prayer is inspired by The Christian Science Monitor, one of the most important (and most underappreciated) newspapers in the world. Posts are usually (but not always) responses to articles in the Monitor about events and trends that call for prayer.

The blog's aim is to help strengthen humanity's collective confidence that we can triumph over even the most deeply entrenched evils, in ourselves and in the world.

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Note on submissions: If you would like to contribute to this blog, I would be happy to consider your submission. It should be 500 words or less, well written and fit the topic. Read several postings to get an idea of the subject matter and tone. It should also fit the audience, which is general, international and non-denominational.

Please email your submission to me at I will get back to you as soon as I can. Please be aware that, while I appreciate the interest and efforts of anyone who wishes to write for the blog, publication is not guaranteed. If I feel your piece is promising but needs revision, I will let you know. Nothing will be published without your seeing the final copy.

Daily News and Prayer

"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Christ Jesus


“We must not expect the world to improve much faster than ourselves.”

Will Durant


Entries in Government (2)


Violence and government

The world has always been full of thugs and murderers, but it still shocks us when they act with the tacit or explicit blessing of governments or international institutions, or governmental aspirants.

Two weeks ago the office of the chief medical examiner of Washington, DC announced that a former associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin was beaten to death when he was in the city in November. This is not the first time a perceived Putin opponent has been killed (although the circumstances and culprit in this case are not yet clear). And the day before, a protester at a rally in North Carolina for US presidential candidate Donald Trump was punched in the face by a member of the crowd. Trump, although saying he does not condone violence at his rallies, essentially excused it by attributing the assault to the passion of his followers.

Putin himself didn’t do the killing; Trump himself didn’t punch the protester. But both leaders have created climates of such intense emotion or personal loyalty that violence is apparently seen by some as acceptable in the pursuit of the goals the leaders represent.

Those goals – essentially, making Russia and America great again – are not bad in and of themselves. After communism stalled and disappeared in 1989, millions of Russians lost confidence that life would get better. Many have found hope and stability in Putin. Millions of Americans have felt their own hope and stability threatened by political, economic and social changes, and they have turned in desperation to aspirants for the office of President – Trump as well as others – who promise hope, in part, through aggressive and sometimes violent actions toward perceived enemies.

There is an element of fear in all this but also, admittedly, of pride. Actor Clint Eastwood captured both in his ad for Chrysler that aired at halftime of the Super Bowl in 2012:

People are out of work and they’re hurting and they’re all wondering what they’re going to do to make a comeback and we’re all scared because this isn’t a game. . . .

This country [the United States] can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do the world’s going to hear the roar of our engines.

And as for Russia, its people have a powerful history and immense talent. To many Russians, the stability and confidence brought by Putin is leading them to a rich future.

But the caution of the Bible, in the book of James, is worth noting: “...the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” A lot of people are praying to see clearly what to do at this point, whom to support and where to turn for hope. The Bible’s simple assurance is encouraging: “I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” The present shaky ground will stabilize.

Putin, Trump and others may be well meaning, and they may be reading accurately the fear and anger of millions. But over and above those millions, over and above us all, is the powerful love of God.



Government is not the enemy

For all the noise that America has inserted into the world, some of it helpful, about the value of the private over the public sector, a strong, stable, non-partisan government is clearly important to a peaceful and prosperous society. That is one message from Mark Sappenfield’s recent article, “Islamic State on the march? What fall of Ramadi tells us” in The Christian Science Monitor. He writes of the vicious fighting between Sunnis and Shiites in Syria and Iraq as “a product of failed governments.” He cites the example of Afghanistan, where a relatively stable and independent government has enabled the country to ward off the worst of the Taliban.

What can we do to further good government in the world? It helps to have a clear idea of what good government is, meaning government as God gives it. In speaking of Christ, whom God provides to the world to give a clear idea of Him, Isaiah prophesied that “the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” This government is happily intrusive when we bring it into our thoughts and lives through honest, compassionate prayer and a commitment to living that prayer. If you and I make this government our only government, we are taking tangible steps toward making the world an inhospitable place for violent and hateful groups like the Taliban and ISIS.

Opposition to strong government is an unthinking ideology. Human governments can be wasteful and destructive, and they can foster sectarian strife. But God’s government, embodied through people who express qualities like love, mercy and patience, is a lively and powerful force. Bringing it into our lives through prayer and action can help bring human governments into line with God’s law of harmony.