“After two days of being encouraged and praying around the nation’s Capitol, today you will hear from policy experts, and we’re going to pray,” IFA President and CEO Dave Kubal announced on Wednesday, Oct. 26, to those attending IFA’s Policy & Prayer Summit. The venue — America First Policy Institute (AFPI) — was fitting. “In each segment,” Kubal said, “we will take time to intercede about the issues, and those leading the policies that are concerned with those issues.” Intercession — often led by state prayer leaders — closed each session.
Kubal also announced a partnership with Becky Currie, the Mississippi legislator who wrote the Dobbs bill that ended Roe v. Wade. Responsibility to protect life now resides at the state level; therefore Currie and IFA are inviting state legislators and local leaders to proclaim the value of life in their areas. You can learn more about this initiative at AppealforLife.com.
The Power of Prayer
Mark Zelden, senior adviser of the Center for American Values at AFPI, welcomed the group with a testimony to the power of intercession in his work in public policy.
“Without a doubt, the most memorable time of my experience working for President Trump,” said Zelden, “was not getting to meet the President, although that was great; not getting to go to the White House; not getting to do important policy decisions about religious liberty … which is a … fundamental cornerstone of what makes America America. But it was the Intercessors for America. And I’m not just saying that because y’all are here.”
Zelden recalled the load he bore being in the minority on religious rights and working in the Trump administration. Because he and his wife wanted to allow their daughters to graduate from their Louisiana high schools, he initially moved to D.C. alone. “So I was by myself, living in a small place, and you just felt the burden of it. And this group, IFA, wanted to pray for me,” Zelden said. “And so naturally, being a person of faith, I was happy to do that. And it was overwhelming. … And then the spiritual warfare that’s going on. … It was a tremendous blessing for me. [I] was moved to tears at times.”
The Power of the Word
Intercessors know the power of which Zelden spoke, but worship leader Natasha Owens reminded the gathering: “If we want to fight a battle — in this country, in the city, in our lives, in our minds — it starts with our speech,” she said. “We have to be declaring it! Amen!”
In her opening address, IFA board member and constitutional scholar Cynthia Dunbar set forth the foundation upon which America’s policy battles rest. Kubal summarized Dunbar’s talk: “Policy is the application of God’s law into government. What we’re not interested in is good, conservative policy. That’s not what we are about. We’re about godly leaders, leading us in the direction of God’s laws, understanding that God is the one that gives us rights. And all they do is institute His rights.”
The Fight for Religious Liberty
Among those rights is religious liberty. Ambassador Sam Brownback, whose political career spanned serving as governor of Kansas to serving as Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom under President Trump, spoke about the opposition he is facing now. Brownback, along with representatives of various faiths, founded the National Committee for Religious Freedom (NCRF). When attempting to deposit funds in a Chase bank account NCRF had set up, Brownback found the account closed. Chase representatives gave no reason for the closure but requested such unusual disclosures as the names of donors and of political candidates NCRF would endorse.
Brownback, who is fighting back through a campaign he calls “Chased Away,” reminded the group: “We don’t fight like a man — we fight like believers. … That’s the only way we win these things, is you guys fighting that way. And your prayers are powerful. They’re very powerful. And I’ve seen them in action.”
The Fight for Life
Zelden returned to the stage to lead a panel discussion with Dr. Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, and Dr. Alveda King, founder of Alveda King Ministries. Reed picked up the battle theme. “First of all, I want to thank all of you, and, frankly, the tens of millions of people that you represent,” Reed said. “But this was, is, and will remain a spiritual battle. … And we labored over 50 years on our knees, and with our hands and feet. And God had mercy on us. And He answered our prayers.”
Reed and King emphasized the importance of continuing the battle. Reed related a lesson Pat Robertson once shared from his wartime service in Korea — not of the celebration of capturing a hill, but of the importance of digging a foxhole as the enemy approached. King concurred: “[Watch] that backlash,” she said, “binding those retaliatory spirits when they retaliate. That thing comes back around with his tail — be ready to chop it off with action: prayer and action.”
Later that afternoon, Reed returned to the podium to discuss the work Faith & Freedom Coalition had done to encourage Christians to vote biblically during the midterm elections. He shared three keys to doing God’s work: pray, persuade, and participate in the political process. IFA Board Chairman Jeffrey H Coors, a longtime friend of Reed’s, led the prayer over him.
The Fight Against China
Intercessors need to be fully outfitted for battle on many fronts, especially China, according to Frank J. Gaffney Jr., founder and Executive Chairman of the Center for Security Policy. Gaffney pulled no punches in defining the stakes. “This is about spiritual warfare,” he said. “What we are talking about is evil incarnate, on a scale unimaginable and unprecedented in human history. “So, it’s not a small challenge that I’m going to put to you, but it’s a vital one.”
Gaffney outlined the many ways in which China has infiltrated American society, economics, and politics through the Hide and Bide strategy perpetrated by Deng Xiaoping when he was general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, in the 1980s. Most of the key aspects of Deng’s strategy have been realized, including biological warfare, according to Gaffney.
Sobering as all of this is, Gaffney reminded everyone: “God is on our side, yes — praise the Lord. And this is going to take big prayer if we’re to have a chance of it coming out right. We know it comes out right in the end, of course. But there is some pretty rough country between here and there.”
The Fight for Israel
Kubal interviewed Bill Koenig, a journalist and the publisher of Koenig World Watch Daily, about events in the Middle East. According to Koenig, the current administration is on shaky ground in the Middle East. “Unfortunately, after the Afghan debacle, no one really took [Biden] seriously,” Koenig said. “This is Obama 2.0. And what happened when Obama was in office — the enemies didn’t fear him, and our allies didn’t trust him. And that’s exactly what’s happening right now. Our allies in the Middle East are totally confused.”
Regardless of the U.S. position in the Middle East, the Lord is at work. “And when you talk about Iran and Turkey and Russia, aligning like this, it gives you an idea of how serious this is. I’ve been at this a long time — over almost 26 years. I’ve never seen so much happening, so quick, that’s biblically and prophetically relevant,” Koenig said. “But we can continue to pray — continue to pray for wisdom in our leadership, that they will listen.”
The Power of Informed Prayer
Todd Lamphere, White House liaison for the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives under President Trump, and pastor of City of Destiny church, closed the formal part of the program with a strong encouragement for intercessors. “I’m looking at a roomful of warriors,” Lamphere said. “I’m looking at a roomful of ‘take charge, get it done, come against hell, stand up for righteousness, take your place on the wall’ people — that’s what I’m looking at here! There’s a complete package with IFA … when you pray with knowledge. Right? You have now become, not a shotgun — you become a sniper.”
Fittingly, intercessor Imelda Blanco closed the informal part of the program with spontaneous prayer over IFA staff and the day’s speakers.
Lord, thank You for informing Your intercessors in the way they should pray. Thank You for these policy experts, for the encouragers, and for the IFA staff. Grant them all the wisdom of the sons of Issachar, who read the signs of the times, so that we can participate in Your plan for the nations. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
If you have not already joined your state prayer group, you may join here.
And if you missed any staff responses from the day after the summit, click here.
More articles about specific Policy & Prayer Summit sessions are on the way. Search for “IFAsummit” on IFApray.org to find any you may have missed. Photos are available at www.RichDrama.com/IFASummitPhotos.
What is God saying to you about religious liberty, life, China, and Israel? Share your prayers below.
New York City–based Joyce Swingle is an intercessor and contributing writer for Intercessors for America. With her husband, Rich, also a contributing writer for IFA, Joyce shares the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world, through theater, speaking, writing and film. Prior to going into full-time ministry, she worked for about 20 major magazines and now works in pastoral ministry and Christian counseling. Photo Credit: Intercessors for America.