Al Peterson, marketing director
for an aerospace company and a layman at Bethel Temple Assembly of God
in Canton, Ohio (James Arnold, pastor), recently spoke with Ken Horn,
managing editor of the Pentecostal
Evangel, about his efforts
to promote prayer and fasting for government officials through a Web
Evangel: What led to this push
to pray and fast for President George W. Bush and other government officials?
Peterson: About six years
ago I was teaching my Sunday school class on prayer and fasting from
The Coming Revival by Bill Bright. The Holy Spirit said, "Dont
just teach it; practice it." Most of the class agreed to fast three
meals a week or one day a week for 40 weeks. Two years ago when Jim
Arnold became our pastor, I felt we needed to have men fast and pray
for him. Thirty-four men in our church responded. We call ourselves
Guardsmen. Each man takes a day of the month.
When Bush became president-elect,
he asked the nation to pray for him and his family. The Holy Spirit
spoke to me: "I would like you to develop a Web site that would
announce fasting and prayer for the president, vice president and the
cabinet every day." The
site allows a person to register to fast a day a month throughout the
presidents term. For example, if I choose the 20th to fast one,
two or three meals, I would
continue to do that through December 2004. General Superintendent Thomas
E. Trask has agreed to promote this through our Fellowship.
Evangel: Where do you sense God
taking this project?
Peterson: I hope thousands
of people each day sign up to fast and pray for our government officials.
This could change our nations destiny. The site has a page with
biblically based prayers that can be used when praying for the president
and our leaders. A calendar is on the registration page of www.fastforbush.com.
Hit the day you would like to fast; also hit below the calendar if you
would be willing to fast one, two, or three meals a day. You can also
register friends under your e-mail address. None of your information
will be used or sold. A bulletin board is available for discussion about
government policies and for prayer requests.
Evangel: Youve mentioned
the president, vice president and cabinet. Are there other prayer needs?
Peterson: We also list other
needs: peace in the Middle East, taxes, environment, etc. In those areas,
we say, "Let the Holy Spirit lead you how to pray." The site
is updated to include current events that need prayer.
Evangel: "Current events"
and "peace in the Middle East," of course, bring to mind the
recent tragedies in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. What
is the increased significance of fasting and prayer at this time?
Peterson: The increased
significance of fasting and prayer and www.fastforbush.com is that God
knew what would happen and was preparing our president for it through
fasting and prayer every day of his presidency. President Bush and our
country will need continual prayer and fasting to deal with this evil
presence that has come against us.
Evangel: How specifically should
we pray for our president and leaders in these difficult times?
Peterson: Pray that the
president will be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in his
decision-making process to deal with this evil presence. Pray for safety
and strength and that the Lord will surround the president with good
advisers. Pray that the presidents faith will increase and that
doubt and anxiety will be replaced with Gods peace.
Evangel: Anything else?
Peterson: First Timothy 2:1,2
instructs: "I urge that requests, prayers, intercession
and thanksgiving be made for everyone for kings and all those
in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness
and holiness" (NIV). As we pray for Democrats, Republicans, and
independents that Gods will would be done through them, revival
will come to our nation. Ultimately the responsibility to change the
world rests with Christians.