HISTORY ALTERING PRAYERS
Consider Hezekiah who was "sick unto death", yet who sought God in His affliction and THE LORD ADDED 15 YEARS TO HIS LIFE!!! God has sovereignly set up a plan whereby He does things according as His people pray and seek His face.
From Scripture we understand that God changes things in this life. He changes the course of destiny for those who confess and repent of their sins, pray, and seek His holy face. Here is an example of how one man sought God and the Lord answered His prayer with a 15 year dividend:
Isaiah 38:1-7 "In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And
Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying, Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears (brokeness): behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city. And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken."
It is clear from this episode with King Hezekiah, that God can and will change His plans as a result of our response to His Word. Note that when Isaiah the prophet "said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live" that "Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD." Hezekiah sought God and God heard his cry and answered his prayer.
Concerning Hezekiah's incident, the late Donald Stamps writes:
"God's statement that Hezekiah must prepare for death and Hezekiah's prayer to God (v.2) have important implications for our relationship to God. (1) All the things that God declares about the future are not necessarily irrevocable (cf. Jonah 3:1-10). When believers are confronted with tragedy, we can rest assured that God cares about what happens to us. He is compassionate and sensitive to our experiences. (2) Our prayers do have an effect on God, His purposes, and the outworking of His sovereign plan. Thus what happens in our lives or in the life of the church is determined by both God's plan and our prayers. We must always maintain the Scriptural conviction that prayer does change things (Isaiah 38:4-7; 1 Kings 21:29; Ezekiel 33:13-16; James 5:14-15)." (taken from the Full Life Study Bible, p. 1039 - this is a highly recommended Study Bible with a very accurate and balanced commentary.)
Consider Abraham. God did not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah before He consulted with His servant and friend Abraham! Try this on for size! Think about how wicked these people (sodomites) had been. But wait, Abraham's desires meant something to God. "And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do." Genesis 18:17
God changes things (heals) when we repent, pray, and seek His face. Check this out:
2 Chronicles 7:14-20 "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways (repent); then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father..."
EFFECTUAL FERVENT PRAYING AVAILS MUCH: "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16 "Effectual fervent" here means: The active, inworking prayer, consistent with inward conformity to the mind of God.
Consider Elijah, a man with passions (human weaknesses & limitations) just like us: James 5:17-18: "Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit."
The course of HIStory has been altered countless times by those who dared and chose to obey God by repenting, praying, and seeking His face. Will the course of history be changed because of your relationship with and fervent prayers to Him? Will your legacy be one of life-changing, course-altering, destiny-directing prayers?
In the early Church, many miracles occurred due to the relationship-based prayer that was lifted up to Heaven by God's people. Here is a sampling:
- Because of a praying Church, Ananias and Sapphira were killed by God for lying to the Holy Ghost. Acts 4:31-33; 5:5,10 Here we see that the precious communion between God and His people in this organization of disciples, yielded His miracle power. In this case, the death of Ananias and his wife.
- "Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him." Acts 12:5 The Church prayed fervenly without ceasing when Peter was taken and jailed by Herod. Herod had just killed the apostle James and was about to kill Peter, but the Church prayed to God and He changed the course of history as it would have been if Peter had been killed. In prison Peter was chained down with two chains, sleeping between two soldiers, and the outside of the prison doors were defended by more guards. Because God's people were seeking His face in prayer for Peter, an angel from God brought light and woke Peter and led him out safely. God also killed Herod who had killed the apostle James and was going to kill the beloved Peter (v23). Many miracles happened in this episode as a result of the prayers of God's people. See Acts 12:1-25.
- "But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and PRAYED; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive." Acts 9:40-41 God raised Tabitha from the dead when one of His people prayed. This little girl's existence upon earth would have ended, but somebody touched God and history was altered.
- JAILBREAK PRAYER: "And the multitude rose up together against them (Paul & Silas): and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And sudde
nly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed." Acts 16:22-26 Just what if the great apostle Paul, and Silas, would have perished in this prison? The damage would have been untold. God, who worked in conjunction with the obedient prayer of these two servants, rescued them, altering the course of history for ever.
BEWARE OF DEBILITATING THINKING: If you know anything about the unbiblical, heretical teachings of John Calvin, you realize that his teachings work to produce complacency in believers, including in the area of fervent prayer and seeking God. They rob from the recipient's heart the fear of God, and foster complacency. Let me encourage you to relinquish ALL unfounded philosophies which teach that whatever will be will be. This is the lie of the devil himself. Biblically speaking: Whatever God wills and we prayerfully agree in obedience to, will be! Numerous texts of holy Scripture could be cited to develop this truth. Here is one:
Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
According to Hebrews 11:6, the reward of the Lord is with them that seek Him diligently. Go! Jesus said:
"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." Mark 11:24
"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers." 1 Peter 3:12
The whispered prayer of the righteous causes an earthquake in Heaven.
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