Prayer Changes Things

The most powerful word in the world pops up everywhere. Ironically, this is on Sandown Pier on the Isle of Wight (UK) — a place that has not changed for 30 years.

Several years ago, my wife and I were members of a terrific church in Ocala, Florida. One of their initiatives was 24 hours of prayer. From time-to-time, the church would post a sign-up sheet for people to pick a time on a specific day to come to the church and pray for an hour.

These 24-hour prayer times were wonderful. I think we picked 1:00 AM – 2:00 AM. When we walked into the sanctuary there were people on their knees, praying. I went to the front pew to kneel and pray and my wife selected a pew towards the back, and we prayed. We didn’t leave until the next shift arrived.

As we walked to our car, we began talking about our prayer time. To our amazement, the Holy Spirit had impressed on both of our hearts that we should move from Florida to Oregon. A company that I’d worked with for ten years had asked me to join them as an employee; neither of us were keen on the idea. But as we prayed for others, God spoke guidance to us.

Remember who you are

It seems to me that many Christians have forgotten that Christianity is beyond-nature; Christianity is divine. We serve Jesus, the one who redeemed us and seated us in heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6) Our daddy is Father God.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:15

Now I know that there is a false teaching held in the hearts of many Christians. It says that prayer doesn’t actually change anything. Everything that happens was inevitable. This belief can be dressed up to look quite godly. When this teaching is embraced, believers feel less of an imperative to pray prayers that require faith. After all, it really doesn’t matter if you use your faith. God will do it anyway, right?

Prayer changes things

Well, let’s consider something that Jesus taught His apostles:

Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.

Matthew 24:20

Jesus is giving clear direction to His apostles about the end-times. And what He tells them is to ask God to change the timing of an event. If the time was set, pre-ordained, then Jesus would be telling His apostles to pray against God’s will. No way!

So, why even bring this up if the time for the event is immovable? No doubt, there were plenty of other things the apostles (and us) should be praying for. No, the only reason for Jesus to say this to His apostles was to tell them to pray, in God’s will, about the timing of this event – to ask God to withhold this event from happening in winter or on a Sabbath.

Likewise, when we pray, we should anticipate God intervening for us. God created nature, God created the laws of physics, God created everything, both seen and unseen. (Colossians 1:16) So let’s remember to:  “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Good News

Pray simple, specific prayers because God changes times and circumstances in response to our unselfish, loving, obedient, faithful prayers, prayed in the name of Jesus.

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

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