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3 million people join online group to pray for Bush

The Presidential Prayer Team is one of the many prayer groups that formed in the United States after George W. Bush took office in January 2001, and it has grown to be one of the largest. It originated in Oro Valley.
By Stephanie Innes

President Bush and God have virtually brought 3 million people to an office on Tucson's Northwest Side. "I don't think anyone anticipated it getting this large except God himself," said John Lind, president and chief executive officer of the team.

The member services for the nonprofit group, which disseminates prayers for the president and his Cabinet, are handled out of an office at Ina Road and North Mona Lisa Drive. The group's membership has doubled over the past year.

"We're excited it did and we're anticipating more involvement in 2004. We're trying to create a Web site resource for people who are serious about praying for the president and the nation," Lind said.

The Presidential Prayer Team works on the premise that the Bible asks the faithful to pray for those in authority. The Web site changes weekly with different prayers for not only Bush but also for members of his staff.

Member services manager Penny Church says membership in the prayer team soared to 3 million members around the world during the past year, including 11,293 in Arizona - 2,000 of them in Tucson. The greatest amount of site traffic comes from Bush's home state of Texas, she said.

"Some people call and think we are connected to the White House, or that they can talk to the president through us. We are clarifying that a lot,'' Church said. "We get some complaints, too. But we just tell them that we're mandated in the Bible to pray for our leaders. We're just doing as God instructed."

Prayer team staff members, who say their own daily devotions for Bush, study the schedules and even birthdays of White House employees to write prayers.

The prayer team, which organizers say has evangelical Christians as the majority of its members, began with an idea from two Scottsdale residents - Cornell "Corkie" Haan, a Baptist minister, and Bill Hunter, a sculptor and devout Christian. The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, provided the catalyst to fast-track the project online.

With financial backing from The Envoy Group, a Christian advertising agency based in Oro Valley, the Web site launched on Oct. 14, 2001, with a goal of inspiring prayer for the president among at least 1 percent of the American population, or 2.8 million people.

"From the very start it all mushroomed so rapidly. We had no idea what to expect, and when it grew we were all just kind of amazed," said Oro Valley resident Meagan Gillan, a writer whose husband is pastor of Grace Community Covenant Church, 9755 N. La Cholla Blvd. "Americans have really responded to the call for prayer. It is amazing how people have latched onto this idea. They love to pray."

Gillan runs the public relations side of the prayer team from her home. Three full-time employees, including Church, work in its membership office at 7225 N. Mona Lisa Drive. The Envoy Group is no longer involved and the prayer team's headquarters are now in Scottsdale.

It could be assumed that most prayer team members would like to see Bush re-elected, Gillan said, though she stressed the site would never pray for him to win.

"We take a lot of hits from people, but the most important thing is that the Presidential Prayer Team exists in perpetuity. A year from right now it could be Joe Lieberman," Gillan said. "It is about the acknowledgement that when Americans turn to God in prayer, good things happen."

Gillan said several churches have put prayer team banners and links on their Web sites. There is also a prayer team for kids that's popular with home-schooling parents and a virtual prayer team store that sells mugs and a lithograph depict-ing George Washington and Abraham Lincoln praying over Bush.

"Prayer is not just a once or twice a week thing," said Paul Shedlock, a 50-year-old Oro Valley engineer who joined the prayer team eight months ago after the Iraq war began.

"It reaffirms my belief that there are a lot of praying Christians in the United States who want our leadership to do well. Regardless of the party affiliation, I think our leadership needs to make God-based decisions," Shedlock said.

The prayer team's honorary committee includes such high-profile Christians as Phoenix Suns Chairman and CEO Jerry Colangelo, Promise Keepers founder and President Bill McCartney and musician John Tesh. Christian recording artist Michael W. Smith, who Gillan said is a friend of Bush's, is on the board of directors.

"Evangelicals love that George Bush is president. He has coalesced the evangelical faith behind him in a way that has not happened in a long, long time," Gillan said. "His embracing of the evangelical faith is sincere and he truly believes the stuff he's talking about."

The National Association of Evangelicals has a link to presidentialprayerteam.org on its Web site, as does the conservative Center for Arizona Policy in Phoenix and the East Side Pantano Christian Church, 10355 E. 29th St.

"We ask only that these people will seek God's wisdom. ... We do talk about some of the issues near and dear to President Bush. Like, it would not be unusual to give thanks that the partial-birth abortion ban was passed," Gillan said. "That is such a dear issue to the president and to most evangelicals."

The prayer team has no official connection to the White House and did not take a position on the war in Iraq other than to pray for the troops. There's no charge to join the team, though it does seek donations for its $1.5 million annual operating expenses.

Clyde Wilcox, a government professor at Georgetown University and an expert in American politics and religion, says groups like the prayer team are usually sincere in their nonpartisan mission.

"Many evangelicals do in fact pray for the president, whichever party controls the office. They hold up the president in prayer because they believe that God can guide his choices, and bless the country," Wilcox said. "In fact, some GOP evangelicals might just pray all the harder with a Democrat in the White House, since they think that God would need to work a little harder to get His will done."

Wilcox said a clear majority of white evangelical Christians will probably vote for Bush in 2004 and many believe God has chosen him to lead the nation through the Republican Party - "God's Own Party." Others are less partisan, he said, and may prefer Bush but believe Democrats can also be Christian.

Gillan said one of the prayer team's long-range goals is to have an office in Washington, D.C. No matter who is elected president in the future, she said the Presidential Prayer Team expects to endure.

"Obviously it's a lot easier on this side. My big concern would be that Christians would stop praying," she said, pondering the team's future under a Democratic administration. "But no matter who is leading this country, you need prayer and you need to be strengthened by the prayers of Americans."

Prayer excerpt

* An excerpt from this week's prayer from The Presidential Prayer Team Web site, www.presidentialprayerteam.org:

l Pray for Paul Bremer, Colin Powell and other members of the president's team working to implement democracy in Iraq. Pray that they will work together with other world leaders to bring an effective and good form of government. Pray that God will graciously intervene to accomplish His perfect will for the nation of Iraq, affirming leaders He chooses. ...

Pray for the troops who continue to serve faithfully around the world, and especially in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pray for their protection and for individuals to be strengthened in their faith. For those who do not know God, pray that they will come to a saving knowledge of Him even as they serve their country.

Pray for the vice president as he prepares to celebrate his birthday on Friday, January 30. Pray that he will enjoy blessing, health, wisdom and strength as great gifts from God, and that he will seek to know and do God's will in the coming months and years.

We need to start another group 03.Feb.2004 14:06

Dire Wolf

We should start another online prayer group for this online prayer group. You gotta think these people are not for real but they are, that in itself is pretty spooky.

Pray for bush? 03.Feb.2004 14:22

An eye for an eye!

Pray that he chokes on his dinner.

exact same difference... 03.Feb.2004 15:41

this thing here

these aren't prayers.

these are just war chants. might as well come from the mouths of the taliban or some other extremist religious organization. or the nazi, "gott mit uns"...

imagine the biggest flashing red light you've ever seen and the loudest alarm you've ever heard and that warning would be "separation of church and state". those who cannot see, or hear, or comprehend, or understand this warning as it goes off in their face every day are no better than any freak or murderer or terrorist or extremist who invokes the name of whatever god to justify lies, violence, war and death. you want a fucking theocracy full of soldiers "marching for god", go the fuck to afghanistan or iran. you've been warned...

3 million 03.Feb.2004 17:06


3 million is less than one precent, (0.93), sounds about right

The War Prayer 03.Feb.2004 17:18


The War Prayer

Dictated by Mark Twain [Samuel Clemens] in 1904 in advance of his death in 1910.

During his writing career, he had criticized perhaps every type of person or institution either living or dead. But this piece was just a little too hot for his family to tolerate. Since they believed the short narrative would be regarded as sacrilege, they urged him not to publish it. However, Sam was to have the last word, and even the word after that. Having directed it to be published after his death, he said,

"I have told the truth in that... and only dead men can tell the truth in this world."

- William H. Huff

The War Prayer

by Mark Twain

It was a time of great exulting and excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest depths of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast doubt upon its righteousness straight way got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came - next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams - visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! - then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation:

"God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!"

Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory - An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there, waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside - which the startled minister did - and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

"I come from the Throne - bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import - that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of - except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two - one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this - keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

"You have heard your servant's prayer - the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it - that part which the pastor - and also you in your hearts - fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory - must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle - be Thou near them! With them - in spirit - we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with hurricanes of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it - for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen."

[After a pause.] "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits."

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

Time for World War III 03.Feb.2004 19:04

Two years?

TIme is up!

Dubya Almighty 03.Feb.2004 19:45

Wasting Their Time

Ahem - I thought Dubya had a hotline to God. He's said so often enough. Obviously he doesn't need anyone else to intervene for him. Then again . . . hotline . . . maybe it's not God after all.

Talk is cheap 03.Feb.2004 19:59

Everbody is an asshole

If we are in God's image, I'm waiting for version 2.0.

praying for Bush? 03.Feb.2004 20:51


he needs it, although im not sure it will do any good. He seems pretty far gone down the path of evil

prayers 03.Feb.2004 23:08


I'm a praying person. I pray for the president.
I pray that he will be enlightened.
i pray that he will not start another war.
I pray that he does not execute another human being.
I pray that he will gain some common sense.
I pray that he will hear the voices of the suffering every night in his dreams.
I pray that he will get careless and appoint a judge that is unbiased.
Prayer is not a bad thing as along as we are not just sitting around waiting for the Divine to fix things instead of working for justice at the same time that we pray.
I think I will begin to pray that all of those people praying for the President will read indymedia and begin to question their reality. I know lots of people who are praying "for the president."

pResident is not the problem - he's just a symptom 04.Feb.2004 00:15


Bush is just a symptom, not a cause. Regime change in Iraq was an openly-stated official policy for Clinton-Gore, who killed 1.5 million Iraqis, far more than both republican invasions of Iraq. Bush is a mere stooge, an obedient talking head, an amiable fratboy spokesmodel.

"Evil" is not the problem. STUPID is the problem. Look into the eyes of a chicken. Thoughtless yet fully active, THAT is true evil. Stupidity is the face of evil.

Don't cure pain with clumsy drugs - detoxify and nourish the body's cells with proper nutrition and hydration, then the pain will be cured with no bad side effects.

By continuing to hate the idiot President (hey I do it too - it's soooo easy to do), we ignore the real problem of HOW the American SYSTEM is run and what it has done independently of Bush for centuries, and will continue to do long after Bush is gone if something is not done about it. Impeach Bush and you get Cheney (much worse). Cutting off one head of the hydra only brings forth a thousand more.

Systematic change is needed, not symptomatic.

Gringo, please accept a correction: 04.Feb.2004 09:47


Chickens are not thoughtless, dumb animals, and kind of blurring them in with your political argument about stupid people doesn't help the cause of encouraging people to understand that animals other than human are indeed intelligent (although not in the same ways as humans), emotional creatures.

Learn something about chickens please from the Humane Society:

Chickens form strong family ties. A mother hen begins bonding with her chicks before they are even born. She will turn her eggs as many as five times an hour and softly cluck to her unborn chicks, who will chirp back to her and to one another. After they are hatched, the devoted mother dotes over her brood, teaching them what to eat, how to drink, where to roost, and how to avoid enemies. Male chickens (called roosters) are most famous for greeting each sunrise with loud crows, often acting as alarm clocks for farmers.

Chickens are fascinating creatures. They have more bones in their necks than giraffes, yet they have no teeth. They swallow their food whole and use a part of their stomach called the gizzard to grind it up. Chickens actually have many similarities to humans: the majority are right-footed (just as most humans are right-handed), they see a similar color range, and they love to watch television. Many also enjoy classical music, preferring the faster symphonies to the slower ones.

Having a private nest in which to lay eggs is extremely important to hens. The desire is so strong, in fact, that a hen will often go without food and water, if necessary, to use a nest. The nest-building process is fascinating. A hen will first scratch a shallow hole in the ground, then reach out to pick up twigs and leaves, which she drops onto her back. After she has gathered some material, she'll settle back in the hole and let the material fall off around the rim. She will continue to do this until her nest is completed.

As highly social animals, chickens can bond very closely to other animals, including humans. They will fight to protect their family and will mourn when a loved one is lost. When they have bonded with a human, chickens will often jump into his or her lap to get a massage that they enjoy fully with their eyes closed, giving every indication of being in ecstasy.

"It's just a chicken" is a retort heard often when concern for the welfare of chickens is exhibited. This comment reflects just how misunderstood these animals are. Chickens are just as deserving of our respect and compassion as are all other animals.

My bad 04.Feb.2004 12:31


Point well taken.

Thanks for that Gringo. 04.Feb.2004 13:50



Just a false alarm 05.Feb.2004 01:47


Hi, I've been cursing God and trying to get Satan to buy my soul for years. Nothings ever come of it.

I've tried offering satan 1 penny for my soul, "Please satan, let a penny appear in my hand and you may have my soul".


I even made up a contract and signed it.


God's not there either. I read this part in the bible where god had a couple bears eat 42 kids for teasing him about his baldness.

I figured I'd try God directly, "Hey God, you filthy peice of crap dickhead! Why dont you send some bears after me, huh bitch?"


Speaking of bitches, I read this other part of the bible where it says that Mary rode Josephs ass all the way to Bethleham!