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|Articles - Prayer|
|Written by Lynne Hammond|
What is it that makes a locomotive move? It has a shaft, wheels, an engine, and much more. But the locomotive will be nothing more than a statue if the engine doesn’t work. That is what makes the locomotive move.
Scripture tells us in Matthew 7:8, “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” We can see there is mighty power available to us through prayer.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been studying the connection between prayer and miracles, and I have noticed that they often work together.
I want to show you some examples in the Bible of God’s miracle-working power as divine demonstration that God in heaven hears the prayers of those on the earth, which gives Him entrance into the affairs of men.
As you consider these stories, picture them in your mind and allow the Lord to speak to you through them.
We’ll start in Joshua chapter ten. The Israelites had been fighting a prolonged battle all day against their enemy, the Amorites, and night began to fall. Joshua, their leader knew how much the nation of Israel needed this victory and they were in need of more daylight.
Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.Why did this miracle take place? Joshua spoke unto the Lord and said, “In the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou.” The Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man and a miracle for the nation of Israel took place.
We can look at many more examples in the Old Testament where prayer is connected with a miracle. Elijah prayed for it to stop raining, and it did for 3 ½ years. Then, Elijah prayed for it to rain again, which it did. One man’s prayers and these two miracles changed a king and a nation.
Because of Isaac’s prayers, God gave Jacob and Esau to Rebekah. Joseph was the child of Rachel’s prayers. Hannah’s praying brought forth Samuel the prophet at the time of the backsliding of the nation of Israel. Ezra’s praying brought conviction to the entire city of Jerusalem. In response to Hezekiah’s prayers, an angel slew 185 thousand of Sennacherib’s army in one night.
Now let’s look at the story of Daniel. In chapter two of Daniel, we find that the glory of Judah and Jerusalem had departed. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had come into Jerusalem and destroyed the temple, confiscated some of the vessels of God, and taken captive some of the choicest people including Daniel, and his three friends, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego) and carried them off to Babylon. We see in Daniel 2:1 that God started to work with Satan’s number-one man.
In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams by which his spirit was troubled and agitated and his sleep went from him. (AMP.)In his dream, Nebuchadnezzar saw the image of a man, and at the end of the dream, a stone had rolled onto the feet of this image and crushed them. Awakened from fright and desperate to find the meaning of the dream, Nebuchadnezzar woke all of the wise men in the palace. He demanded them to tell him what the dream was as well as the interpretation of it.
Of course, none of his astrologers, diviners, magicians, or wise men could do so. Their feeble attempts to convince the king of the impossibility of the task only made him angry and so furious that he commanded all of the wise men of Babylon to be destroyed. With the decree having gone forth, Arioch went to Daniel’s house, as he and his friends were also wise men, that they too might be slain. Daniel, of course, was a different sort than the rest of these people. He was from the kingdom of light, schooled in the scriptures, and a tremendous man of prayer. Probably of all the people in the kingdom, Daniel most esteemed the voice of God.
Daniel asked Arioch why the decree was so urgent, and Arioch explained the matter to Daniel. In spite of the decree and the fact the king refused the “other” wise men’s request for more time, Daniel went without hesitation to request more time. Somehow Daniel’s faith must have been communicated to the king because his request was granted.
Daniel then went to his house and told his friends the situation and this little prayer group went to the Lord about this situation “so that they would desire and request mercy of the God of heaven concerning this secret, that Daniel and his companions should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon” (Dan. 2:18).
They pled their case before the Lord. They had no other alternative. Only God could give the interpretation to them.
You see, this is what God intended from the very first. He was waiting on the prayers from Daniel and his friends. God will never do apart from prayer what He can do through prayer.
That very night, the dream and its interpretation were revealed to Daniel in a vision. Daniel then worshipped the Lord.
Blessed be the name of God forever and ever! For wisdom and might are His! He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding! He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him! I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers, Who has given me wisdom and might and has made known to me now what we desired of You, for You have made known to us the solution to the king's problem. (verses 20-23 AMP)Daniel called Arioch and said, “Bring me in before the king, and I will show to the king the interpretation” (verse 24). Daniel did exactly that.
In response to Daniel’s interpretation, King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and paid homage to Daniel [as a great prophet of the highest God] and ordered that an offering and incense should be offered up to him [in honor of his God]. (Dan. 2:46 AMP)
It started with a dream and a prayer by four people. My, does that speak!
Because of prayer, the structure of a nation’s government was rearranged. Through one prayer, God took Satan and stripped him of his power in that situation. Jeremiah 33:3 says:
Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand). (AMP)Call unto me and I will answer you—isn’t that what happened to Daniel?
In the New Testament, we see Jesus lived prayer before His disciples: Luke 6:12, Mark 1:35, Mark 6:46-47, and Matthew 26:36-46, to name a few. Answered prayer is one of the most convincing and faith-creating forces in the Word of God.
It’s interesting to me that Jesus, the Son of God, was also under the law of prayer. He came on a direct mission from the Father. His only life and the law of His life was to do the will and mission of the Father. The blessings, healings, and power that He displayed across the world were because of how much His life was centered around prayer. His perseverance and steadfastness in prayer were the process by which the wealthiest supplies from God were gained.
The early Church is also filled with examples. The first assignment Jesus gave them was to go to the upper room and to pray. What were they praying for? They didn’t know it, but they were praying for the outpouring of the Spirit. In Acts chapter four, the whole Church came together and prayed that signs and wonders would be done in the mighty name of Jesus. In Acts chapter five, we see an outpouring of healings in Jerusalem. They brought the sick out and laid them in the sleeping porches and Peter would pass by and his very shadow upon them would heal them. Even foul spirits came out of the sick because of the prayers of the saints.
Think about Paul. The words that formed the backbone of prayer for his ministry and his churches were: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit watching there unto” (Ephesians 6:18 KJV). Paul also talks about the importance of prayer in Ephesians 6:12:
For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. (AMP)The history of the Church has been one of conflict. The attacks that we come under, even though they seem to stem from the natural realm, are merely symptoms of the real hostility of the rulers of darkness. When leaders of nations are not given over to the power and presence of God, demonic forces can come in and rule a nation. Paul puts it in perspective when he states:
First of all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, … for such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior….Remember that the fall and rise of every nation lies with prayer. Let your prayers start with authority figures, and then follow the Spirit’s leading from there. This is how and where God joins us in the action.
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