A Tradition Continues...

Covenant Keepers will continue our annual tradition of shifting the focus of Halloween and turning it into a day of fasting and prayer for our nation, our homes, and our families. Yellow Ribbon Day is observed in and around the month of October and, instead of decorating with symbols of death, we tie yellow ribbons around trees, lamp posts, or on doors as a symbol that the captives have been set free and there is forgiveness awaiting.

The origins of the ribbon, although white in this instance, can be dated back to the Puritan Era, but consider this slightly more modern story, told by prison warden, Kenyon Scudder, about a young man being released from prison in a 1961 article in Reader's Digest.

"A friend of his (Scudder's) happened to be sitting in a railroad coach next to a young man who was obviously depressed. Finally, the young man revealed that he was a paroled convict returning from a distant prison. His imprisonment had brought shame to his family, and they had neither visited him nor written often. He hoped, however, that this was only because they were too poor to travel and too uneducated to write. He hoped, despite the evidence, that they had forgiven him."
"To make it easy for them, however, he had written to them asking that they put up a signal for him when the train passed their little farm on the outskirts of town. If his family had forgiven him, they were to put up a white ribbon in the big apple tree which stood near the tracks. If they didn't want him to return, they were to do nothing, and he would remain on the train as it traveled onward."
"As the train neared his hometown, the suspense became so great that he couldn’t bear to look out of his window. He exclaimed, 'In just five minutes the engineer will sound the whistle indicating our approach to the long bend which opens into the valley I know as home. Will you watch for the apple tree at the side of the track?' His companion said he would; they exchanged places. The minutes seemed like hours, but then there came the shrill sound of the train whistle. The young man asked, 'Can you see the tree? Is there a white ribbon?'"Came the reply, 'I see the tree. I see not one white ribbon, but many. There is a white ribbon on every branch. Son, someone surely does love you.'"

Wikipedia also describes how the use of this ribbon became popular in the late 70's, this time using the color yellow. "During the Iran hostage crisis, the yellow ribbon was used as a symbol of support for the hostages held at the United States embassy in Tehran. In November 1979, a committee headed by Suzan E. Garrett of the Jaycees ladies service organization in Leitchfield, Kentucky organized a campaign to "Tie A Yellow Ribbon" around public trees as well as encouraging people to wear tied ribbons on lapels in support of the U.S. hostages being held in Iran."

"This symbolism continued and gained further recognition in December 1979, when Penelope Laingen, wife of Bruce Laingen who was the most senior foreign service officer being held hostage, tied a yellow ribbon around a tree on the lawn of her Maryland home. The ribbon primarily symbolized the resolve of the American people to win the hostages' safe release. Yellow ribbons featured prominently in the celebrations of their return home in January 1981."

In both of these stories the sentiment is the same.......freedom and forgiveness.

It wasn't until 1987 that the first ever Yellow Ribbon Day for Covenant Keepers International was planned. Marilyn Conrad, our founder, had been in prayer about the idea of using the yellow ribbons to mark a day for the hope of marriage restoration. A day to symbolize what we pray for our spouses and ourselves....the same sentiments of freedom and forgiveness as used in the past, but this time related to marriage. One evening, she turned on the television to watch The 700 Club. Ben Kinchlow, the co-host at the time, happened to be praying and had a prophetic word for Marilyn through the television. He said, “I am seeing something ‘yellow.’ I don’t know what it is or what it means, but God wants someone to know that what you are doing is right and it will be blessed by Him.” Hallelujah! God confirmed His Word and our Covenant Keeper Yellow Ribbon Day was birthed. Since that year, we have observed Yellow Ribbon Days each fall in remembrance to pray for the freedom and forgiveness of our spouses.

CK has designated specific prayer targets for this time of the year:
  1. National, state and local leaders and pastors. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
  1. Salvation for spouses and children. Isaiah 44:3; Ephesians 6:12; Acts 16:31
  1. Protection for children, especially from abortion. Leviticus 18:21
  2. Healing and restoration of families around the world. Pray for children and parents to be reconciled and broken hearts and emotions healed. Pray for bitterness and unforgiveness to be removed. Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 3:12, 13, 18-20; Malachi 4:6
  1. Pray for all newly reconciled couples. The enemy always tries to attack, especially during the first year. Cover them with the blood of Jesus, bind any attacks from the enemy and loose the will, plan and purpose of God to be done in their lives. Pray that both spouses will be open and teachable. Pray especially for the covenant keeper to NOT stop doing what they know to do! Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9
  1. Remember to praise the Lord for all that He has done and will do for you and your family. Hebrews 13:15; Psalm 30:11; Jeremiah 31:13

Please join us as we celebrate the return of the captives from the curse of divorce. There have been announcements of several Yellow Ribbon Days in the newsletter emails that we send. Be sure to sign up to receive yours here. Eventually, we will be announcing those celebrations on our website under "Get Involved" and then "Events."

If you are not yet involved in a Covenant Keeper group, we would love to have you join one. We have found, over the years, that CK groups are where healing begins. Our biblically-based curriculum will give you the tools to stand strong for your covenant. Our group leaders are highly trained and compassionate. We think you will find that many people in our group settings know exactly what you are going through. Conversely, we find that people who try to go at standing alone, without group support and teaching, end up angry, frustrated and stagnant. We know that that is not God's plan for you or for your marriage.

So this fall, we celebrate not only freedom and forgiveness, but the peace and calm it brings when rooted in the Word of God, through Jesus Christ. We are praying for you. We are praying for your marriage. And we are praying for your family to be restored in the name of Jesus. We believe that there will be many captives set free in the coming months. Join us in praying that Jesus will be the reason and the desire of all of our hearts.

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