History, Prayer, Uncategorized

Why pray through history?

τοῖς οὐρανοῖς Ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά

In my devotions this morning, I was reading “The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard. I was bumping along in Chapter 7, (it is a wonderfully dense book), and I was stopped in my tracks by the following excerpt about the holiness of G-d’s name and why the Savior underscored that we uniquely respect it:

“This request is based upon the deepest need of the human world. Human life is not about human life. Nothing will go right in it until the greatness and goodness of its source and governor is adequately grasped. His very name is then held in the highest possible regard. Until that is so, the human compass will always be pointing in the wrong direction, and individual lives as well as history as a whole will suffer from constant and fluctuating disorientation. Candidly, that is exactly the condition we find ourselves in.” (p258-259, HarperCollins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007) http://harpercollins.com

These words rang through my heart; this, at its root, is why I choose to pray through history. All our offenses, human to human, are first an offense against The First Cause. I simply want to be on record that, whether acting as antagonists or protagonists of history, we have denied the Imago Dei (Image of G-d) of our fellow humans, therefore denied and offended The Name. Conversely, I want to make it a practice to record for my children that when individuals or societies reverence The Name, they indirectly revere, respect and better love His creation, and fellow man.

 

 

 

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19th Century, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government, war

U.S.-Dakota War Battle at Wood Lake Sep 23, 1862

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“For what reason we have commenced this war I will tell you it is on account of Major Galbraith. . . .” Taoyateduta (Little Crow), September 7, 1862

In early September, Col. Henry Sibley tries to negotiate a settlement with Taoyateduta (Little Crow). Sibley hopes to exploit major disagreements within the Dakota community about continuing the war. But Taoyateduta is not ready to quit. He explains why the Dakota started the war, and states that he is willing to release prisoners. Sibley demands surrender. Taoyateduta refuses.

The Dakota leaders reconvene and decide to ambush the U.S. troops. They hide in the prairie grass overnight, anticipating the Army troops’ morning moves. At 7:00 a.m. on the 23th, a group of U.S. soldiers approach an abandoned Dakota village, in search of food. “They came on over the prairie,” said Wamditanka (Big Eagle), “right where part of our line was. At last they came so close that our men had to rise up and fire. This brought the fight on, but not according to the way we had planned it. Taoyateduta saw it and felt very badly.” Some of the U.S. soldiers run back to camp to get help. A fierce fight ensues. The reinforcements fire a cannon non-stop, forcing the Dakota to retreat. In two hours the battle is over, and with it all hopes of Dakota victory.*

This event is a classic, “us versus them” conflict. It is clear that Sibley and Little Crow are the representational heads of the parties of this conflict. We cannot know the hearts of these men, but can see some of it in their actions.

Lord, we are like Sibley. We draw battle lines, and attempt to divide the camp of our enemy. We do battle and demand surrender of those whom we oppose. Will You forgive Sibley the errors of his judgments in this moment? Will You forgive His blood offense to You for the acts of injustice in this battle committed by U.S. troops?

Master, we are like Taoyateduta (Little Crow). We offer concessions to our enemy, yet cannot surrender. We make our stands in conflicts for both just and unjust motives. We reach the point of abandonment where we accept we either live victorious, or die fighting. Will You forgive Taoyateduta (Little Crow) this very understandable and human assessment? Will You forgive His blood offense to You for the acts of injustice in this battle committed by the Dakota?

Give us Your eyes of compassion for these men; they are but leaders trying to the best for their people. We are no different or better than them. The same potential to squelch our offender lives in us. The same potential to make a brave “last stand” is in our hearts today. Have mercy on our conflicts today. May we remember You, the Author of Mercy and Justice, before we demand surrender or fight to the death this day.

Will You take up these mutual offenses, though long past, up from this battlefield, out of the hearts and memories of all ancestors of the Battle of Wood Lake, and onto the Cross of Christ?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

 

 

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19th Century, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government, war

U.S. – Dakota War Battle of Birch Coulee Sep 2, 1862

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Just before sunrise the sharp crack of a warning shot signaled the start of the Battle of Birch Coulee, one of the hardest fought battles of the U.S.-Dakota War. The Dakota kept U.S. soldiers under siege for 36 hours before a relief detachment arrived from Fort Ridgely.*

A coulee is a three-sided valley, and they are fairly common in Southern Minnesota. It seems a fitting symbol for this chapter of history. In conflict, we often take the easy road into a valley, find ourselves surrounded by high ground, and try to fight like mad to get out from a position of disadvantage.

Lord, will You intervene in long-term aftermath of this battle? We have sinned against You and the place of Birch Coulee. Will You forgive the bitter judgments of all participants; whether those charging from high ground, or looking  uphill in terror? Will You make this place a holy site of conflict resolution? To the Minnesotan, American, and Dakotan of this event, and their generations, I speak this truth; “…A Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

To many of my contemporaries, even the concept of a Savior, or needing a Savior, is offensive. Yet, I wish to add a confession of behalf of myself, my peers, and especially the Church of this State. We live in a time where “self-determination” is esteemed as a political right, and sometimes as a worldview that shapes much of our decision-making. Will You forgive us this offense, and the places we have become imbalanced in terms of “self”?

We correctly see that we have a right to our “self”, but our trust is broken and incomplete . We don’t see another’s right to “self” because we trust in our rational human abilities, or irrational human emotions. We do not seek, believe in, or rely on an “other” perspective greater than our “self”. So, we do battle, both parties attempting to preserve their precious “selves”.

Yet there is an “other” way! You are the rightful Advocate and Mediator of all our relationships because only You completely see the Infinite worth of every human, every life, all matter, all Spirit under the sun! You would bring Infinity and timeless perspective to our moments of potential conflict if we only inquired, listened, and received Your insights. Will You show us the eternal “win-win”, “honor-honor”, and “mercy-mercy” of our negotiations? Will You teach us the ways of “other-determination”?

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3,4

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

 

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19th Century, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government, war

U.S.-Dakota War, Second Strike on New Ulm Aug 23, 1862

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In the morning, the Dakota soldiers surround the town of New Ulm; the fighting soon moves into town. Using outlying buildings for cover, the Dakota fire on the town’s defenders from windows and doorways. Taoyateduta’s (Little Crow) men set fire to buildings near the river. The smoke causes panic and confusion, but the defenders hold their ground. After hours of fighting the defenders make a desperate charge at the Dakota, even setting fire to the building the Dakota are using as cover. At sunset the Dakota retreat, leaving 32 townspeople dead and more than 60 wounded. More than a third of the town lies in ruins.*

Again, Lord, what is your heart for this moment of 8.23.62? I confess my heart of conquest Jesus, and ask to be made right so that I can be pure to pray with, and for, my brothers. I repent of the ways and practices in my mind and heart that wants to completely extinguish the will and thoughts of another to replace it with my will. I rebuke the heart of the enemy within in me that says,”My will be done.”

Jesus, I observe this to You:
1. The Dakota were hurt and offended by the representatives and people of MN and U.S.
2. Their hurt gets turned into shame. “This state of Minnesota does not care if we live or die. All it seems to want from us is cheap land and resources.”
3. The shame triggers the pain of the Dakota. “I will prove that I am a worthy man. I will prove that we are a worthy people. If the nation of Minnesota will not honor us, then at least it will learn to respect and fear us.”
4. The offensive words and thoughts of Minnesota and the U.S. towards the Dakotas’ manifest into their actual offensive. And the cycle repeats…and repeats.

Lord, as Your child, I want to ask that You forgive both parties their offenses against each other. We have sinned against You when we sin against our brother the Dakota, the Minnesotan, and the American. We have spoken words against his value as a man, as a people, and are therefore guilty of speaking against Your value as his Father.

“You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” Romans 14:10

Christ, we have responded in shame. Christ, we have responded in pain. Christ, we have let the enemy of our souls lead us to war with each other. Christ, will You stand between these forbearers  a second time? Will You restore the Dakota to New Ulm and vice versa? Will You give us a new mind of grace and truth for each other? Our generations? Our dwellings? Our (temporary) property?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

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19th Century, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government, war

U.S.-Dakota War, Second Battle at Fort Ridgely Aug 22, 1862

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“We went down determined to take the fort,” said Wamditanka (Big Eagle). “If we could take it we would soon have the whole Minnesota valley.” The Dakota soldiers fight hard on this fourth day of the war, but the U.S. soldiers give as good as they get. The Dakota retreat and strategize: should they wage a third battle or attack New Ulm for plunder?*

What shall I pray for this second day of battle, Lord? We, as human beings, have a long history of wanting “to take the fort.” We are discontent, we are offended, and we crave revenge. This day in history is an offense to Your majestic living masterpieces, whether of the Dakota tribe, or of the people of the state of Minnesota or the United States. Will You have mercy on our slaying precious lives You have created?

We have destroyed Your handiwork in another sense when we committed to this battle. We have desecrated Your lands also known as the Minnesota Valley and Fort Ridgely. We, human beings, are all squatters and temporary stewards of Your earth, but we continually claim it for ourselves?! Forgive our offenses against Your property, Lord of Minnesota. We harvest Your land, take our food, take Your game without price. Yet we want tribute from those who dare offend our kingdoms. Will You speak life and peace to every square foot of land defiled by our rebellion against You, and expressed in separation and bloodshed against our neighbors?

Under the authority of Jesus and as a co-inheritor of His mercy, “Wamditanka, I forgive You and Your men for your attack on my state and my country. Will You forgive me and my forbearers’ our bloodguilt, sins and failures, bitter words and curses against you and your nation? Will you wipe away the memory of bitter vows and judgments we have made over you, and you over us?” Holy Spirit, come and walk between us. Show the Dakotan and the Minnesotan how to be brothers. Will You change the atmosphere of our relationship! May You give us an heart to keep blessing each other until You return!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

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19th Century, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, Politics, State Government, war

U.S.-Dakota War, First Battle at Fort Ridgely Aug 20, 1862

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About 400 Dakota soldiers attack Fort Ridgely. “We did not fight like white men, with one officer,” recalled Hackinwakanda (Lightning Blanket). “We all shot as we pleased. We shot at the windows, mostly at the big stone building, as we thought many of the whites were in there. . . .” After running out of powder and bullets, the Dakota withdraw and regroup.*

Jesus, I wish to draw Your attention to the Battle of Fort Ridgely. Will You forgive Hackinwakanda and his men their aggression towards the laws of Minnesota and the U. S. government? Will You forgive the counter judgements’ of Minnesotans’,  and the U.S. government of these exact Dakota soldiers? Will You announce freedom to all parties in the spirit from the bloodguilt of this day?

Where Your spirit is, there is liberty. I want to replace this curse of judgment with blessing of all ancestors of Fort Ridgely on either side of the battle! Renew their trust, their dwellings, and their property forever! Lord have mercy on our battles, and all our known and unknown enemies! Will You give us lenience, then love,  for those outside our fortresses of race, class, gender, politics, religion, and culture?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

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