Can’t get this off of my mind since Wednesday. During our Wednesday gathering of the church I taught from Isaiah 38 about Hezekiah. I talked a little bit about prayer and the fact that our prayers can and do make a difference. It seems that in my tradition we almost want to downplay the fact that our prayers can really change anything. In fact what we would say is, “Prayer changes me.” Now, I don’t want to down play that, but can or does prayer change more than just me? Consider the following:
Isaiah 38:1-8. God sends Isaiah to tell Hezekiah he is going to die. Hezekiah cries out to God. God sends Isaiah back to Hezekiah to tell him that He has heard his prayer and will add 15 years to his life. As a sign, God will move time backwards. Hezekiah’s prayer resulted in the brief reversal of the earth’s rotation and orbit! Wow!
Exodus 32:1-14. While the people waited on Moses to come down from Mount Sinai they got impatient and made a calf of gold to worship. God’s anger burned against the people. God told Moses He was going to destroy them and make a new nation from Moses. Moses interceded for the people. The scripture says in Exodus 32:14 that, “…the Lord changed His mind…” (NASB). Really? God was going to do something and then at the interceding of one of His servants he relented? Wow!
Daniel 10:1-12. Daniel has this vision. He begins to seek God diligently and desperately to know the meaning of the vision. An Angel comes to Daniel to bring him the meaning. In verse 12 he tells Daniel that he has come in response to Daniel’s words! In response to Daniels’ prayer. A prayer cause the one of the hosts of heaven to act? Really? Wow!
James 5:17-18. This verse says that Elijah was a man with the same human nature as all of us. He prayed that It wouldn’t rain and it didn’t for 3 ½ years. Then he prayed again for it to rain and it poured! Elijah’s prayer caused God to change the weather? Really? Wow!
Luke 18:1-8. Jesus told the parable that Luke clearly tells us it’s purpose is to teach us to persevere in our prayers. The story is about a judge who really wasn’t concerned about justice, fairness or doing the right thing. A woman went to him again and again begging for justice. Finally the judge, because of her persistence gave her justice. Jesus then asks a rhetorical question. Won’t God give an answer to His children who cry out to Him and never give up? Really? Wow!
Luke 11:5-13. This is the story Jesus told about the guy who went to his neighbor’s house in the middle of the night asking for some bread because another traveling friend had come to his house. Jesus said that the neighbor won’t get up because he is his friend, but because of the man’s persistence. So he immediately follows that up with that we should keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking…. Really? If I keep on asking I receive? Wow!
Should I keep going? Like with John 15:7-8 where Jesus says that if I stay connected to Him, the vine, I can ask for whatever I desire and it will be done for me. Really? Wow!
I know that if you are from my tradition you have immediately begun to think of all the biblical reasons that keep God from answering our prayers. You are right they are there and they are truth. That’s another blog entry. For today let’s not downplay the fact that the truth is also that our prayers make a difference! That is why we pray! So just for today let’s ask in prayer believing Like Matthew 21:22 says and believe that we can receive it. Oh wait, I have a great personal story about that, but I’ll save it for tomorrow!