Thursday, October 31, 2013

11/1/13- All Saints Day

All Saints Day

And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. (Revelation 8:3,4)

Thoughts: All Saints Day (11/1) was to celebrate all the saints who were not celebrated on other days but had gone on to be with the Lord.  Everyone is special in God's sight.  The prayers of all the saints- that is the prayers of all those who are called "holy", all those who believe and have been sanctified by Jesus and are made holy.   "Saint" means one who was sanctified- or made holy.  In the ear of God- all prayers are heard.  It is not just the prayer of a really good saint, or a special saint in the sight of God.  In scripture there are not two classes or seven classes of saints.  If you are a saint, then you have a place around the throne of God and your prayers go to the golden altar before the throne of God.  In God's eyes, all those who are His children are special. There is not one child who is loved more than the others, and every child is there by the grace of God's second birth.  

Prayer: Thank you Lord that I am considered a saint when I believe.  Increase my belief that I might live as a saint should live, and pray as a saint should pray.  


All Saints Day began when Pope Bonface IV on 5/13/609 who rededicated the Pantheon in Rome (a Temple built to honor all other gods) to honor all other saints.  In Rome and later in the British Isles the feast day replaced the day of the fear of restless spirits of the dead (Roman Lemuria, Druid Samhain).  Early Christians though celebrated a day of the martyrs that morphed into a day or remembering all those who died with faith.  Mexican call it "The Day of the Dead."  But All Saints is much more positive- a celebration of those who have faith and are now in the presence of God.  

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

10/31/13- Prayer for the Needy

Prayers for Church around the World  The Persecuted Church; The Poor, The Oppressed, The Lost

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because treat is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Mt. 5:10-12)

The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. (Acts 10:4) 

Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1). 

This is the last day of our Thirty Days in Prayer,  It ends with praying for the church.  When we think of the persecuted church we realize how blessed we are in America.  Just the talk of losing our freedom bristles us.  But the Christians in Nigeria and Egypt are having their churches blown up.  

This weekend we are called to prayer for the persecuted church.  See this article in Christianity Today (click here).




We are called to care for the least, the last, and the lost.  Those who are mentally, physically, and spiritually needy.  One of the simple and even most effective things we can do is pray for those in need.  We may not be able to give much away, or to spend time working- but the very first step toward helping- and a step we can all take is to pray for those in need.  

Here are some things we can do to pray for these in need. 
1) Read of those in Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan and other lands who are persecuted (click here for a map and link).  Take a map and pray for those in need.  

2) Pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child (dedication 11/17).  Say a prayer for those who will receive the gifts. 

3) Make a top three list of those you know who do not profess or practice the faith. Put this list on a post it note- or your phone- a visible place where you can pray for those in need.  Paul prayed for the salvation of those who were the lost sheep of Israel.  Jesus wept over Jerusalem who would not come to him, and prayed, "Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."  Certainly, we do not need to look hard to see people in gangs, addicted to drugs or alcohol, addicted to lust, who are shallow and practicing self-destructive and God-forsaken behavior.  But all of us need God's grace, hope, and love.  Prayer especially for those severely lost and wandering has to be a blessing.  

Prayer: Lord, Give me grace to pray for the least, the last, and the lost today.  Incline your ear and answer me, O Lord, for I too am poor and needy.  (Psalm 86:1,2)




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10/20/13- Prayer for Those Over Us

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (1 Timothy 2:1,2)

In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water
    that he channels toward all who please him. (Proverbs 21:1)


Thoughts:  It is important to pray beyond ourselves and those with whom we rub elbows.  There are decisions that others make that effect us in denomination, affiliation and in our community, state, and nation.  However, we are not helpless in such decisions.  The Lord is King of kings.  He is the director of events, the Lord of all history and the molder and architect of life.  

So let us make a list of those we should pray for- our mayor, our town/county council, our school district, our state congressional leaders, our national congressional leaders, those in the courts (especially the state supreme, federal appellate, and the supreme courts), the president and cabinet.  

Prayer: Lord, give me grace to pray for those who govern that they would govern well and listen to you, the greatest governor of all.  We pray for church decisions that are beyond our control as well, O Lord. Help your Church to be holy and follow you with peace, unity and purity.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

10/28/13- The Need to Intercede

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:18)

Thoughts: 
Christ intercedes for us (Heb. 7:25) - the Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Rom. 8:26).  But we are also called to intercede for one another (Eph. 6:18; Jas. 5:16 et al.).  Christ and the Spirit help us to pray to the Father, so if our words do not seem eloquent or proper, we do not need to worry.  There is grace in prayer.  But to focus our minds and our prayers on others is important in order that we may grow in love for each other and in order to grow in our love for God.  The language of prayer is not Hebrew, Greek, Latin, English or Russian.  It is the language of love from the heart.  Prayer comes from the heart and soul of a person directed to the heart and soul of God.
     We are to pray for everyone- on every kind of occasion.  So when we read of an earthquake/fire/ tornado/cyclone/hurricane/terrorist attack/war/plague/famine- we do not simply worry or weep- we should use this occasion to pray for those in need.  In our day the news travels quickly so prayers can go up quicker still.
    But we are especially to pray for "the saints" or all the Lord's people.  This is our family, and we should not neglect them.  Pray for their joys- when a baby is born, or a wedding occurs, or a blessing is seen.  Pray for their sorrows- when there is a sickness or a hurt.  Praying allows us to share in their joy and sorrow- and helps us to care for them- in our hearts- but also to care for them by lifting them up to the Lord. 


Prayer: Lord, thank you for those who have interceded for me in my times of joy and sorrow.  Help me to care for those going through the transitions, pains, and joys of life.  Keep me focused on prayer, you, and others. 

Practical tips: Use a church directory (a pictorial directory is better) to pray for people by name.  Keep a list of your intercessions for others.  Send out a card saying you prayed for someone- to encourage them.   

Saturday, October 26, 2013

10/27/13- Prayer for the Particular Church and its Leaders

PRAYER FOR CHURCH MEMBERS ANDLMPC LEADERS:
 
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.  (Colossians 4:2-4)

Thoughts: We are called to pray for each other and pray for our leaders in scripture.  The Church is not simply a human organization- organized into existence.  If the Church is anything meaningful, then it is formed by faith and exists by the power and will of God.  Therefore prayer to God is essential for the church.  Prayer is our talking to God and develops love for God.  When we pray for each other- we are opening ourselves up to love each other as God wills us to.  

Prayer: Help me to pray for those over me in the Lord, supporting them.  Help me to pray for those in my immediate church family.  




Friday, October 25, 2013

10/25/13- Prayer Tips


A Month in Prayer
Praying Our Prayers

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23,24)


We are almost at the end of our month-long focus on prayer.
It is our prayer you have gained much from this experience.

Prayer is extremely important.
It does change things. Here are a few examples.

Several studies have found a connection between prayer and healing. Patient who were prayed for had better outcomes than those who had no prayers on their behalf. This proved true even when the patients did not know that prayers were said on their behalf.
Patients from the San Francisco General Medical Center were randomly divided into placebo and test groups. Patients in the test group were prayed for by Christians; the placebo group received no prayer. There were no statistical differences between the placebo and the prayer groups before prayer was initiated. The results demonstrated that patients who were prayed for suffered "less congestive heart failure, required less diuretic and antibiotic therapy,
had fewer episodes of pneumonia, had fewer cardiac arrests, and were less frequently intubated and ventilated."
 (Rich Deem, GodandScience.org)
Prayer also improves marriages.
There is an often-cited statistic that 50 percent of marriages
 end in divorce — even among churchgoers.
But that statistic is misleading.
When studies that distinguish between couples who claim a nominal faith and those who prioritize church attendance and faith, one finds a much lower divorce rate among committed Christians.
Here are a few examples of the role of prayer in sustaining a marriage:

Baylor University did a study that showed a 0-2% “fear of divorce”
for couples that pray together daily.
Gallup did a study in 1991 that showed praying together as a couple is “the most powerful correlate to marital happiness.”

The University of Virginia and Bowling Green State University independently found that regular church attendance cuts the likelihood of divorce by 30 to 35 percent.
When you add prayer into the mix, divorce plummets.
A 1998 survey by the Georgia Family Council found that among couples who prayed together weekly, only 7 percent had seriously considered divorce, compared to 65 percent of those who never prayed together.

Hours of Prayer

Within many Christian faith traditions there is an official set of daily prayers. These prayers consist primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns and Scripture readings. The early Christians continued the Jewish practice of reciting prayers at certain hours of the day or night. The Apostles continued to the Jewish custom of praying at the third, sixth and ninth hours and at midnight (Acts 10:3, 9; 16:25; etc.).  Christian prayer in the early church consisted of almost the same elements as Jewish prayer: recital or chanting psalms and reading the Scriptures. By the time of the Roman Empire, the Jews (and early Christians) began to use the Roman system of conducting the business day to schedule their times for prayer. In Roman cities, the bell in the forum rang the beginning of the business day and noted the day's progress by striking again around the hours designated for continued. By 60 AD the oldest known Christian liturgical manual recommended praying the Lord's Prayer three times a day. By the second and third centuries the Church fathers had firmly established regular times of prayer throughout the day.


Hours of Prayer

By the third century, the Desert Fathers (the earliest monks),
 began to live out Paul's command to "pray without ceasing.”
 One group of monks would pray one fixed-hour prayer
while having another group pray the next prayer
so that prayer would occur continually.
Over time as Christian monastic communities developed in both the East and West, longer prayers were used.
The cycle of prayer became the norm of daily life in monasteries.
 By the fourth century, the characteristics of the canonical hours more or less took their present shape. Secular (non-monastic) clergymen and lay people also prayed shorter prayers at fixed hours.
Bede’s Rule further codified these prayers and the hours of prayer grew more elaborate until the Reformation.
After the Reformation, the Catholic Church simplified these prayers and Lutherans and Anglicans continued to use modified versions of praying the hours.
Reformed people embraced this ancient tradition during the last century’s liturgical renewal movement though modifying it.


This week there are no set prayers. We will make suggestions about things for which to pray,
but you will create your own prayers each day.

Bring your prayers and share them at our prayer walk
this Saturday.

Also use them during theprayer vigil
we are holding Saturday 11/2.

Pray Ya’ll!!

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TODAY WE WILL PRAY FOR MISSIONS- Below is a little prayer guidance to help us in our own prayers.  

So, how do we pray for missions?

1) Remember the importance of why we pray for missions- Jesus said the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few- pray for laborers to go into the harvest field.  (Matthew 9:37; Lk. 10:2).  Instead of just saying, "Go out and reap the harvest" Jesus asks us to pray- giving it to God.  Prayer is so important to the work of God. 

2) Pray for Missionaries- Here is a great link on how to pray for missions by Wycliffe (founded by Presbyterian Cam Townsend). Pray for Open doors; Boldness in Witness; Spreading of the Word; Protection; Ministry; Guidance; Refreshment; Partners in Prayer; 

 Our specific missionaries are: Mark and Jesse Bodman (Peru), Those who have gone out from our church into ministry:
Ryan McCrary (GOAT ministry); Casey Washington (Rock Hill and Winthrop ministry); Beth and Steve Moody (Campus Ministry with Omega Chi at NC State);  


3) Pray for the spreading of God's love and knowledge in the world.  Jesus taught us to care not just about our local surroundings but our world (Mt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).  So whenever you read of a tragedy - an earthquake, hurricane/cyclone/tornado; war/terrorist act; persecution of believers- pray for the spreading of God's Word and Christian witness there. 

4) Pray for our partner church in Peru- Casa De Dios in Iquitos.  Pastor Guillermo. 

5) Pray for our regional missions: Thornwell Home for Children; Newberry Boys Farm; Presbyterian College and the campus ministries in SC; Presbyterian Home; 

6) Pray for our local missions:  GOoDWorks, We Care, Snackpack (food for students on weekends), Christgate Women's shelter; Tutoring at the HUB.  

7) Pray for our new daughter church that will come up in the next few years.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

10/24/13- Prayers post Reformation

A Month in Prayer
Praying the Prayers of the Reformers          October 25
"This is how you should pray...Forgive us Our Debts as We forgive our debtors."  Mt. 6:12

John Wesley (1703-1791)

Forgive them all, O Lord:

Our sins of omission and our sins of commission;
The sins of our youth and the sins of our riper years;
The sins of our souls and the sins of our bodies;
Our secret and our more open sins;
Our sins of ignorance and surprise;
And our more deliberate and presumptuous sins;
The sins we have done to please ourselves;
And the sins we have done to please others;
The sins we know and remember;
And the sins we have forgotten;
The sins we have striven to hide from others;
And the sins by which we have made others offend....

Forgive them, O Lord,
forgive them all for HIS sake
Who died for our sins
And rose for our justification,
And now stands at YOUR RIGHT HAND
To make intercession for us,
Jesus Christ our Savior!
Amen Amen Amen!!!


John Wesley (1703-1791) was an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian. He is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement. Methodism stressed personal piety and used itinerant preachers who travelled widely to evangelize and preached often in open spaces to those who would not otherwise come to church. Under Wesley's direction, Methodists became leaders in many social issues of the day including  prison reform and abolition. Throughout his life Wesley remained within the Established Church and insisted that his movement was well within the bounds of the Anglican tradition. At the age of five, Wesley was rescued from his father’s burning rectory. This escape made a deep impression on his mind and he regarded himself as providentially set apart, a "brand plucked from the burning" (Zechariah 3:2). After being ordained, he and his brother both traveled to Savannah, Georgia with George Whitfield to work among the colonists and Native Americans. It was on the voyage to the colonies that the Wesleys came into contact with Moravian who influenced them with their deep faith and piety. Returning to England after a troubled time in America, Wesley’s life changed on May 24, 1738 a Moravian meeting on Aldersgate Street, London. He heard a reading of Martin Luther's preface to Romans, and "I felt my heart strangely warmed.” The rest of his life Wesley preached wherever he could, formed Methodist, societies, opened chapels, examined and commissioned preachers, administered aid charities, superintended schools and orphanages, and received at least £20,000 for his publications but gave most of it away. He travelled usually on horseback, preaching two or three times each day. It was recorded that he "rode 250,000 miles, gave away 30,000 pounds ... and preached more than 40,000 sermons.” Wesley married at the age of 48, but the union was not happy and produced no children. When his wife left him after fifteen years, Wesley wrote in his journal, "I did not forsake her, I did not dismiss her, I will not recall her."  Toward the end of his life he was widely respected and referred to as "the best loved man in England.” When he died at the age of 87, Wesley’s last words were "The best of all is God is with us.”



Sojourner Truth (c. 1797 – 1883)

Oh, God,
you know I have no money,
but you can make the people do for me,
and you must make the people do for me.
I will never give you peace till you do, God.



Sojourner Truth (c. 1797 – 1883) is the self-given name after 1843 of an African-American abolitionist and women's rights activist.  She was born in New York, and was sold at the age of nine at an auction with a flock of sheep for $100. She was owned by four people some of whom treated her very harshly including daily beatings with a bundle of rods.  Around 1815, Truth met and fell in love with a slave named Robert from a neighboring farm.  Robert's owner forbade the relationship, and Robert was savagely beaten. He died from those injuries.  Truth was forced to marry an older slave named Thomas. She bore him five children. Late in 1826, Truth escaped to freedom with her infant daughter, Sophia. She had to leave her other children behind She found her way to the home of Isaac and Maria Van Wagener, who took her and her baby in. Isaac offered to buy her services from her owner for the remainder of the year until the state's emancipation took effect for $20.00. Truth learned that her son Peter, then five years old, had been sold illegally by her former owner to an owner in Alabama. With the help of the Van Wageners, she took the issue to court and, after months of legal proceedings, got back her son, who had been abused by his new owner. Truth was one of the first black women to go to court against a white man and win the case.  She had a life-changing religious experience during her stay with the Van Wageners and became a devout Christian. "The Spirit calls me, and I must go," she said.  Truth became a Methodist and preaching about the abolition of slavery, women's rights, prison reform, and against capital punishment. More than 3,000 people crowded into the Battle Creek Tabernacle to pay their last respects to the black heroine when she died. In 2009 Truth was first black woman honored with a bust in the US Capitol and in 1997 NASA named the Mars Pathfinder's robotic rover "Sojourner" after her.
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Karl Barth (1886-1968)

Lord, our God,
 you know who we are:
People with good and bad consciences;
satisfied and dissatisfied,
sure and unsure people;
Christians out of conviction
and Christians out of habit;
believers, half-believers, and unbelievers…
But now we all stand before you:
in all our inequality equal in this,
that we are all in the wrong before you
and among each other…
but also in that your grace is promised to
and turned toward all of us
through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ.



Karl Barth (1886-1968) was a Swiss Reformed theologian and professor of theology. Both the most prolific and influential theologian of the twentieth century, his thought emphasized the sovereignty of God, the sinfulness of humanity, and the "infinite qualitative distinction between God and mankind was professor of theology. While teaching in Germany, Barth became a leader in the Confessing Church which actively opposed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. The Confessing Church sought to prevent the Nazis from taking over the existing church and establishing a state church controlled by the regime. This struggle culminated in Barth's authorship of the Barmen Declaration, which fiercely criticized Christians who supported the Nazis. The Barmen Declaration is in our PCUSA Book of Confessions.  Barth had to leave Germany in 1935 after he refused to swear allegiance to Adolf Hitler and went back to Switzerland and became a professor in Basel. Barth’s systematic theology, Church Dogmatics, runs to over six million words and 8,000 pages in English. It is over 9,000 in German making it one of the longest works of systematic theology ever written.  Barth’s influence expanded well beyond the academic realm to mainstream culture, leading him to be featured on the cover of Time on April 20, 1962.




Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10/24/13- Prayers of the Reformers


A Month in Prayer   Praying the Prayers of the Reformers           October 24
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  (1 John 1:9)


Thomas Cranmer (1489–1556)

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name.
Amen.

                                                                                                                                      
Jeanne d‘ Albret (1528-1572)

O God, my Father,
deliver me from this body of death
and from the miseries of this life,
that I may commit
no further offenses against Thee
and that I may enjoy the felicity
Thou hast promised me.                                          


Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
Adapted from the first 21 resolutions by Trevin Wax.

Lord God Almighty,
I understand that I am unable to do anything without your help,
so I ask you to enable me by your grace to fulfill your will.
Give me grace to do whatever brings most glory and honor to you,
pleasure and profit to me, and life and love to others.
Help me to number my days, spending my time wisely,
living my life with all my might while I still have breath.
Humble me in the knowledge that I am chief of sinners;
when I hear of the sins of others,
help me to not look upon them with pride,
but to look upon myself with shame,
confessing my own sins to you.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
Adapted from  the first 21 resolutions by Trevin Wax.

When I go through difficulties and trials,
remind me of the pains of hell
from which you have already delivered me.
Place people in my path who need my help,
and give me a compassionate and generous spirit.
Fill my heart with such love
that I would never do anything out of a spirit of revenge,
nor lose my temper with those around me.
Hold my tongue when I am tempted to speak evil of others.
Thank you for the gospel and for the hope of glory.
Help me to live in light of these truths every day of my life,
so that when the time of my death arrives,
I will rest assuredly in you,
and you will be most glorified in me.
In Christ’s name…Amen.


Thomas Cranmer (1489 –1556) was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI.  He helped build the case for the annulment of Henry's first marriage to Catherine of Aragon, paved the way for him to marry his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and saw Henry through his next four marriages. Cranmer supported the principle of Royal Supremacy which made the king was sovereign over the Church within his realm and ended official papal authority in England. During Cranmer's tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury, he was responsible for establishing the first doctrinal and liturgical structures of the reformed Church of England. Under Henry's rule, Cranmer did not make many radical changes in the Church, as Henry was basically a Roman Catholic in his theology and worship (aside from papal authority) and power struggles between religious conservatives and reformers. However, he succeeded in publishing the first official English worship service. When Edward, Heny’s young and passionately Protestant son, came to the throne, Cranmer was able to promote major reforms. He wrote and compiled the first two editions of the Book of Common Prayer, a complete liturgy for the English Church. Cranmer developed new doctrinal standards for the Eucharist, clerical celibacy, the role of images in places of worship, and the veneration of saints.  After Edward’s death in his teens and the accession of the Roman Catholic Mary I, Cranmer was put on trial for treason and heresy. Imprisoned for over two years and under pressure from Church authorities, he made several recantations and apparently reconciled himself with the Roman Catholic Church after being promised his life. Mary however refused to show mercy to the man who had enabled her father to forsake her beloved mother and declare her illegitimate.  On the day of his execution, Cranmer renounced the recantations that he had written or signed with his own hand and stated his hand would be punished by being burnt first.  As the flames drew around him, he fulfilled his promise by placing his right hand into the heart of the fire while saying "that unworthy hand" and his dying words were, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit... I see the heavens open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” Thus, Cranmer died a Protestant martyr.  

Jeanne d‘ Albret (1528-1572) was the queen regnant of Navarre (now part of France) and after her husband’s death she ruled as Protestant.  Jeanne was the acknowledged spiritual and political leader of the French Huguenot movement and a key figure in the French Wars of Religion. Jeanne was influenced by her mother who exposed her to humanist thinking and predisposed her to religious reform. This legacy was influential in her decision to convert to Calvinism.  Her husband however remained a staunch Roman Catholic. He ordered her to recant her Protestant faith and when Jeanne refused, he issued orders to have her arrested and sent to Paris where she would subsequently be sent to a Roman Catholic convent. She eluded her captors, and soon afterwards her husband was killed in battle leaving Jeanne to believe and rule as she pleased. Jeanne declared Calvinism the official religion of her kingdom after publicly embracing the teachings of John Calvin on Christmas Day 1560. This public conversion made her the highest-ranking Protestant in France. Navarre became a safe haven for Protestant refugees facing severe persecution. She commissioned the translation of the New Testament into Basque and BĂ©arnese for the benefit of her subjects.  In addition to her religious reforms, Jeanne reorganized her kingdoms and made long-lasting reforms to the economic and judicial systems.  She used her own jewelry as security to obtain a loan from Queen Elizabeth I of England to support the Protestants in the Wars of Religion and often accompanied her general Admiral de Coligny to the battlefield during intense fighting to inspect the defenses and rally the Huguenot forces. Jeanne also established a religious seminary.  She died shortly after negotiating the marriage of her son, Henry to the Roman Catholic sister of the French king. The two would marry in exchange for concessions to the Protestant. Her death may have been a great mercy as the wedding provided the pretense for a horrific killing of Protestants, the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. Much later her beloved son would convert to Roman Catholicism in exchange for the throne of France saying “Paris is worth a mass.”  Henry IV founded the Bourbon line of French kings. This prayer is from her deathbed.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), a preacher and theologian, is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian and one of the greatest intellectuals America has ever produced. His work is rooted in Reformed theology, and the Puritan heritage. Edwards also played a critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening, and oversaw some of the first revivals in 1733–35 at his church in Northampton, Massachusetts. Despite his brilliance he was dismissed from his congregation over disagreements. Throughout his life Edwards often went into the woods as a favorite place to pray and worship in the beauty and solace of nature as he viewed the natural world as evidence of God's masterful design. Edwards was married to Sarah Pierpont and they had eleven children. The Edwards opened their home to those in need on a regular basis. Edwards died from a smallpox inoculation shortly after beginning the presidency at the College of New Jersey (Princeton). He was hoping to demonstrate the safety of the vaccine especially to the Native Americans with whom he ministered.  He was the grandfather of Aaron Burr, the third Vice President of the United States, who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel.