PRAYER ALERT: With the US government spending almost twice as much as it receives and approaching a “fiscal cliff”, Congress struck a 150-page deal. It allowed taxes to skyrocket for 77.1% of households. It discriminated against married couples who are joint filers, because they now receive less than twice the standard deduction that individuals get. The $25.1 billion in spending cuts was offset by $330 billion in spending increases. To accommodate more spending increases, many in Congress are pushing to raise the “debt ceiling”, so the US can borrow more to spend more. The problem is, the economy will soon slam into a “debt wall” that will force it over the fiscal cliff: the entire world will run out of enough liquid capital to fund any government’s deficit, and governments will not be able to borrow money at interest rates they can afford. Printing money will just make money worth less.
In answer to prayer, Belize recently struck a deal with its creditors that would allow it to pay back its $1 billion Superbond debt in a sustainable way, assuming that its economy will grow significantly. But the economies of Belize and other nations depends heavily on the US. The US consumes 50% of all the world’s production and produces about 25% of the world’s GDP. And 30% of the US GDP comes through foreign trade. The old adage is still true: as the US goes, so goes the world.
The US economy would have to suddenly double in growth in order to catch up to its current deficit spending. But that would also suddenly raise the world demand for capital, spike up interest rates, drive up national deficits and deepen national debts. It would force the governments of the world into more painful austerity measures just to survive and avoid a steeper fiscal cliff. And yet there are few elected officials with the courage to promote such measures, knowing it will lose them votes. For deeper cuts will force people out of work. But higher taxes will drive up prices, crippling further economic growth, and throwing more people out of work. It’s a catch-22. Let’s find a time to pray for this, for no one has the answer except God.
A TIME TO PRAY: Father God, all power, authority and wealth belong to You. You have given us much wealth, and established authorities among men over the wealth of the nations. We confess that we, and the nations, have misused Your wealth, spending more than we have been given, and not giving enough back to You. Now we have less to give and less to spend. We, as whole nations, are staggering under heavy burdens of debts and obligations, toward a fiscal cliff that will plunge us into much lower standards of living. We are prodigal sons who face servitude to harsh masters and harsh austerity measures.
But Father, Your own people long to serve You. Many of us do not know that You are a loving Father who will take repentant prodigals into Your house, not as servants but as sons and daughters. Remind us of who You are, who we are, and what You have said: to pray “Our Father…Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Let there be an outpouring of forgiveness among Your people, and an outpouring of grace for debts to be paid. Show us how to be good and faithful stewards of this grace, that it may multiply. Raise up Josephs who will prosper in adversity—for You are with us—and show nations how to prosper and overcome debt and poverty.
Guide all leaders who are making decisions for the nations in this financial crisis. Do not use it to judge the nations, but to discipline them. We have evangelized the nations, but we must disciple them in Your ways. Help us to be financially disciplined disciples who make disciples. Help us be witnesses to the world that, as the world’s economies are shaken, You will establish what cannot be shaken. Help us to build Your kingdom on Your solid rock no matter what storms come, and to offer refuge to others. For the greater the tribulation, the greater we find our God to be. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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