Newspaper Prayers: Monday, February 13th

Headlines from the New York Times for Monday, February 13, 2017

Below is an article that appeared in Saturday’s edition of the New York Times. I feel the story is striking and worthy notice. Rosa Maria Ortega has been convicted of voting illegally in November’s election. She was sentenced to eight years in prison for her crime, leaving her children in the care of family members and costing taxpayers between 18,250 to 34,675 dollars annually (depending on the location of her prison) to punish her for the crime. The headlines and a few paragraphs from the story are below.

Illegal Voting Gets Texas Woman 8 Years in Prison, and Certain Deportation

Despite repeated statements by Republican political leaders that American elections are rife with illegal voting, credible reports of fraud have been hard to find and convictions even more rare.

That may help explain the unusually heavy penalty imposed on Rosa Maria Ortega, 37, a permanent resident and a mother of four who lives outside Dallas. On Thursday, a Fort Worth judge sentenced her to eight years in prison — and almost certainly deportation later — after she voted illegally in elections in 2012 and 2014.

The sentence for Ms. Ortega, who was brought to this country by her mother as an infant, “shows how serious Texas is about keeping its elections secure,” Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, said in a statement. Her lawyer called it an egregious overreaction, made to score political points, against someone who wrongly believed she was eligible to vote.

“She has a sixth-grade education. She didn’t know she wasn’t legal,” said Ms. Ortega’s lawyer, Clark Birdsall, who once oversaw voter fraud prosecutions in neighboring Dallas County. “She can own property; she can serve in the military; she can get a job; she can pay taxes. But she can’t vote, and she didn’t know that.”

Ms. Ortega was a registered Republican. “She voted for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in the 2012 election. In 2014 she voted for our current attorney general, Ken Paxton,” Mr. Birdsall said. “And guess what? He’s the one responsible for prosecuting her.”

Reading from Isaiah 7.10-17 for Monday, February 13, 2017

The theme of Isaiah chapters 7-39 is the trust of God.

Isaiah 7.9b is a key verse. There Isaiah speaks God’s word to the nation’s leader, “If you do not stand firm in faith, you shall not stand at all.”

Isaiah invites this leader to trust God by putting God to the test. God’s word to him was: “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven” (Isaiah 7.11).

Sadly, the leader responded with these words, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test” (Isaiah 7.12).

To this Isaiah expressed tragic disapproval, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also?” (Isaiah 7.13).

As we pray the front page of the newspaper and also read the prophet, Isaiah, the issue of trust is central. Do our prayer express trust in God? Are we asking God for local, state, national and international leaders to enable them to trust God’s direction? Let’s not rationalize our disbelief, as did the nation’s leader in Isaiah’s day. Let’s choose to deepen our relationship with God and pray in faith.

Prayers for Monday, February 13, 2017

Dear God, please deepen our relationship with you. Please reveal to us your character in such a way that we trust you in every aspect of our lives. We pray this for local, state, national, and international leaders, as well as for ourselves.

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Bob Spradlingrose-quote

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