Substance Abuse: A Historical Perspective on Intercessory Prayer for Native America


Historical References and Anniversaries:

October 27, 1986 – 25 USC Chapter 26 –
link (

Which includes the following information:

The Congress finds and declares that—

(1) the Federal Government has a historical relationship and unique legal and moral responsibility to Indian tribes and their members,

(2) included in this responsibility is the treaty, statutory, and historical obligation to assist the Indian tribes in meeting the health and social needs of their members,

(3) alcoholism and alcohol and substance abuse is the most severe health and social problem facing Indian tribes and people today and nothing is more costly to Indian people than the consequences of alcohol and substance abuse measured in physical, mental, social, and economic terms,

(4) alcohol and substance abuse is the leading generic risk factor among Indians, and Indians die from alcoholism at over 4 times the age-adjusted rates for the United States population and alcohol and substance misuse results in a rate of years of potential life lost nearly 5 times that of the United States,

(5) 4 of the top 10 causes of death among Indians are alcohol and drug related injuries (18 percent of all deaths), chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (5 percent), suicide (3 percent), and homicide (3 percent),

(6) primarily because deaths from unintentional injuries and violence occur disproportionately among young people, the age-specific death rate for Indians is approximately double the United States rate for the 15 to 45 age group,

(7) Indians between the ages of 15 and 24 years of age are more than 2 times as likely to commit suicide as the general population and approximately 80 percent of those suicides are alcohol-related,

(8) Indians between the ages of 15 and 24 years of age are twice as likely as the general population to die in automobile accidents, 75 percent of which are alcohol-related,

(9) the Indian Health Service, which is charged with treatment and rehabilitation efforts, has directed only 1 percent of its budget for alcohol and substance abuse problems,

(10) the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which has responsibility for programs in education, social services, law enforcement, and other areas, has assumed little responsibility for coordinating its various efforts to focus on the epidemic of alcohol and substance abuse among Indian people,

(11) this lack of emphasis and priority continues despite the fact that Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service officials publicly acknowledge that alcohol and substance abuse among Indians is the most serious health and social problem facing the Indian people, and

(12) the Indian tribes have the primary responsibility for protecting and ensuring the well-being of their members and the resources made available under this chapter will assist Indian tribes in meeting that responsibility.

It is the purpose of this chapter to—

(1) authorize and develop a comprehensive, coordinated attack upon the illegal narcotics traffic in Indian country and the deleterious impact of alcohol and substance abuse upon Indian tribes and their members,

(2) provide needed direction and guidance to those Federal agencies responsible for Indian programs to identify and focus existing programs and resources, including those made available by this chapter, upon this problem,

(3) provide authority and opportunities for Indian tribes to develop and implement a coordinated program for the prevention and treatment of alcohol and substance abuse at the local level, and

(4) to [1] modify or supplement existing programs and authorities in the areas of education, family and social services, law enforcement and judicial services, and health services to further the purposes of this chapter.

Scripture References:

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.”
Ephesians 5:18 Amplified

KJV: excess / NIV & Amplified: debauchery.
Greek meaning – an abandoned, dissolute life.

“Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble,”
Titus 2:3 Amplified

KJV: given / NIV: addicted.
Greek meaning – to make a slave of, reduce to bondage.

Other references to the word #1402 in the Greek: Acts 7:6 – God foretells about bondage; Romans 6:18 & 22 – servants of righteousness & servants to God; 1 Corinthians 7:17 & 9:19 – not under bondage to unbelievers & made oneself bond servant to everyone; Galatians 4:3 – in bondage under elements of the world, and 2 Peter 2:9 – servants of corruption & brought in bondage.

Additional Scripture:

Those that are drunk mourn along side ministers when God’s people are suffering.

“Awake, you drunkards, and weep; wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the [fresh] sweet juice [of the grape], for it is cut off and removed from your mouth. For a [heathen and hostile] nation [of locusts, illustrative of a human foe] has invaded My land, mighty and without number; its teeth are the teeth of a lion, and it has the jaw teeth of a lioness. It has laid waste My vine [symbol of God’s people] and barked and broken My fig tree; it has made them completely bare and thrown them down; their branches are made white. Lament like a virgin [bride] girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth [who has died]. The meal or cereal offering and the drink offering are cut off from the house of the Lord; the priests, the Lord’s ministers, mourn. The field is laid waste, the ground mourns; for the grain is destroyed, the new juice [of the grape] is dried up, the oil fails.”
Joel 1:5-10 Amplified

Those who are drunk or intoxicated are equated with gluttony, poverty, numbness, staggering, falling, slander, ridicule, robbery, lack of restraint, sexual immorality, disobedience, disrespect, wallowing in filth and a general disregard for Creator’s guidelines and instructions. I have not found anything in the Word that says that having a drink of alcohol is a sin. However, there is plenty of instruction illustrating how being intoxicated can cause followers of Christ to compromise their convictions, reap the consequences of a compromised lifestyle and to be rejected. In addition, current studies and statistics show that substance abuse contributes to suicide.

Note that Titus 2:3 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-13 refer to substance abuse as bondage. The others just refer to an unrestrained, degrading lifestyle.

“And they shall say to the elders of his city, This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey our voice. He is a glutton and a drunkard.”
Deuteronomy 21:20 Amplified

“For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty, and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.”
Proverbs 23:21 Amplified

“Like a thorn that goes [without being felt] into the hand of a drunken man, so is a proverb in the mouth of a [self-confident] fool.”
Proverbs 26:9 Amplified

“The earth shall stagger like a drunken man and shall sway to and fro like a hammock; its transgression shall lie heavily upon it, and it shall fall and not rise again.”
Isaiah 24:20 Amplified

“But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person.”
1 Corinthians 5:11 Amplified

(Raillery meaning to ridicule)

They who sit in [the city’s] gate talk about me, and I am the song of the drunkards.
Psalm 69:12 Amplified

Woe to [Samaria] the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim [the ten tribes], and to the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome and smitten down with wine! Behold, the Lord has a strong and mighty one [the Assyrian]; like a tempest of hail, a destroying storm, like a flood of mighty overflowing waters, he will cast it down to the earth with violent hand. With [alien] feet [Samaria] the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden down.
Isaiah 28:1-3 Amplified

Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality, Nor cheats (swindlers and thieves), nor greedy graspers, nor drunkards, nor foulmouthed revilers and slanderers, nor extortioners and robbers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God. And such some of you were [once]. But you were washed clean (purified by a complete atonement for sin and made free from the guilt of sin), and you were consecrated (set apart, hallowed), and you were justified [pronounced righteous, by trusting] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God. Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power. Food [is intended] for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will finally end [the functions of] both and bring them to nothing. The body is not intended for sexual immorality, but [is intended] for the Lord, and the Lord [is intended] for the body [[a]to save, sanctify, and raise it again].
1 Corinthians 6:9-13 Amplified

Genesis 9:21 – drunken and uncovered; Ruth 3:7 – drank and was merry (does not say intoxicated and compromised); 1 Samuel 11:12-14 – David made Uriah drunk in an attempt to cover his own sin; 1 Samuel 25:35-37 – Nabal was drunk so Abigail waited to talk to him until he was sober; 1 Kings 16:8-10 – Elah was drunk and vulnerable to being slain; Ecclesiastes 10:17 – feast for strength, not for drunkenness; 1 Timothy 5:23 – drink wine for stomach and illness; John 2:1-10 – Jesus turned water to wine; etc.

Prayer Regarding Substance Abuse

“Father and Merciful Creator of All, as we pray about suicide, we must also pray about drug and alcohol abuse. It seems, as we review Scripture and as we read studies, that substance abuse opens the doors to so many paths of ruin, including suicide. Yahweh, Great Mystery and Sovereign Deliverer, just as You guided us in prayer regarding suicide and indigenous people, guide our prayers regarding substance abuse. It is also a subject clouded by poor doctrine and misunderstandings. Teach us to pray in ways that are significant and effective. It is clear You desire that we refrain from becoming enslaved to anything that overcomes us. The only exception is that we become enslaved to You, as servants of righteousness. Is it possible that when we pray against bondage in a general sense, we somehow hinder people becoming bonded to You? Teach us and guide us in this prayer according to Your perfect will. Father, how do we tease it all out? Your Word clearly illustrates that drinking wine, for example, is not a sin. However, You strongly teach us to refrain from drunkenness that leads to gluttony, poverty, numbness, staggering, falling, slander, ridicule, robbery, lack of restraint, sexual immorality, disobedience, disrespect, bondage, wallowing in filth and a general disregard for Your guidelines and instructions. Timothy drank wine for his stomach. Jesus turned water into wine. Justice and Mercy, Grace and Wisdom, teach us to pray according to Your perfect will. Father, how often have we prayed about the tool of ruin, rather than the heart of ruin? You have clearly showed us that the concept of ‘bondage’ can be for good or for ruin. You have clearly showed us that the concept of ‘wine’ can be for good or for ruin. Lead us in prayer. Set our hearts and minds according to Your will. Keep us from being misguided in our energy and prayer. Father, we pray that counter-productive myths, stereotypes and stigmas of illegal and harmful substances, and the abuses and bondages of substances become powerless. Father, we pray that the truths about illegal and harmful substances, and the abuses and bondages of substances be revealed and widespread. We pray, Father, that you will replace every desire for substance with a desire for You and Your paths. We pray that every path to ruin be revealed and exposed. We pray that every path to life and righteousness be lifted up and accepted. We pray, Father, that every indigenous person in North America who has been enslaved by drugs and / or alcohol, be delivered and become a devoted servant to You and Your ways, according to Your perfect will. We pray that every desire for debauchery be destroyed and we pray that every desire for reconciliation, deliverance and holiness be met abundantly according to Your perfect will. We pray that You destroy every bond of addiction to drugs and alcohol according to Your perfect will. We pray that You breath life into every bond of commitment and service to You according to Your will. We pray that every evil spirit of bondage be removed according to Your will. We pray that every empty place in a person’s heart, mind, soul, spirit, and body be filled with Your spirit, every void filled with eternal life. Father, we pray You will lead all those in authority and influence who can lead people to healing and deliverance from worldly addictions be filled with wisdom, knowledge and supernatural favor, empowering their works unto You to be fruitful. Father, we pray that society’s views on substance abuse will change, so that it is no longer glorified, empowered and something to be sought after. We pray that the very ideas of substance abuse and bondage to substances will become so putrid, that no living soul would become overcome or entrapped. Father, we pray that Your indigenous people will be healed so thoroughly, that there is no longer a need to ‘escape’. We pray that You will become so thoroughly real to Your indigenous people, that all will know that You are the source of all strength, healing, hope and happiness. Father, we thank you for every outreach and program, every ministry and work that has purposed to empower Your indigenous people. We pray that You will stop every slander and judgment and curse against Your indigenous people. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Rev. Jeny Running Brook Covill
First Nations Monday

(Note: This is Part 2 of a study that was originally prepared in October 2012 in partnership with NIAP Prayer Shield)

Books Used in this 12 Month Study

The Holy Bible in the following translations: KJV, NIV, Amplified, NASB, CEV and The Scriptures.

“Church History in Plain Language” by Bruce L. Shelley

“Encyclopedia of Native American Wars & Warfare”. General Editors William B. Kessel, Ph.D. and Robert Wooster, Ph.D.

“This Day In North American Indian History” by Phil Konstantin

As with the First Nations Monday prayer and Scripture studies, I like to study with 5 translations. As you go through these studies, I encourage you to do the same. “The Scriptures” is a translation that includes the original Hebrew names and has the books in chronological order. The Contemporary English Version (CEV) is a translation that is written for ‘oral tradition’ peoples and it flows well while reading it aloud. The Amplified version is one where meanings of words and phrases are ‘amplified’ for better understanding. The King James Version (KJV) is the translation that works well with Strong’s Concordance. The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) is a great companion version that I find gives great insight.

In addition, consider the following:

First Nations Version Project
A retelling of the Sacred Scriptures for Native Americans and all English speaking Indigenous peoples.

Cherokee Bible Project – ONLINE – New Testament

Cherokee Bible Project – ONLINE – Old Testament

Cherokee Bible Project Titles in Book form:
(A joint mission of the Cherokee Bible Project and Four Rivers Native American Church)
Genesis in Cherokee
Haggai in Cherokee
Jonah in Cherokee
100 Days Of Indigenous Wisdom
Cherokee New Testament
New Cherokee Hymnal
Matthew’s Gospel in Cherokee
Mark’s Gospel in Cherokee
Luke’s Gospel in Cherokee
John’s Gospel in Cherokee
The Acts of the Apostles in Cherokee
ROMANS in Cherokee
JAMES to JUDE in Cherokee
John’s Revelation in Cherokee
Pastoral Epistles in Cherokee (coming)
General Epistles in Cherokee (coming)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: