This morning at 10 a.m. the Supreme Court will hear the final appeal from Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties as these corporations seek relief from a “contraceptive” mandate in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. This particular mandate would require businesses to provide health coverage for FDA-approved devices that can cause abortions (like IUD’s and morning-after pills).
Well-known seminary professor Denny Burk refers to this as “the most consequential religious liberty case in a generation,” and he has an excellent rundown on some of the misconceptions about the case that have already been perpetrated in the media. Here’s an excerpt from the website of the ERLC (Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) of the Southern Baptist Convention with some guidance on how to pray for this important case:
As Christians who live all of life under the lordship of Jesus Christ, we are compelled to bring our vocations under the direction of our faith. The owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga are making their complaint under the umbrella of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bipartisan law designed to provide extra layers of protection for citizens who believe their religious liberty has been infringed.
This is a supremely important case, and will likely set a precedent for how religious liberty is thought of and prioritized for decades to come. Because religious liberty is a bedrock constitutional principle found in the First Amendment, the integrity of this “first freedom” isn’t limited just to Christians, but to Americans of all faiths.
For that reason, Christians should pray that the outcome of these cases would result favorably toward those who wish to exercise their constitutional right to religious liberty. How should Christians pray? Here is a sample prayer guide:
God wants people to be free to seek him and to serve him (Acts 17:24-28). Pray for a favorable outcome. The cherished principle of religious freedom should receive the strongest constitutional protection it deserves.
God is Lord of the conscience, not government (Acts 5:29). Pray that the justices of the Supreme Court will understand the importance of the separation of the state from the church.
God can give understanding to make sound decisions (Prov. 2:6-8). Pray for those who disagree with us, that God would help them understand and respect the consciences of people of faith.
God can turn the hearts and minds of the justices to do his will (Prov. 21:1). Pray for the Supreme Court justices, that they would be receptive to the arguments being made passionately before them.
God can guide the mind and speech (Exod. 4:11-12). Pray for lead attorney, Paul Clement, who will be arguing on behalf of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood. Ask God to give him clarity and wisdom, for his arguments to be persuasiveness, and for God to give him favor before the justices.