Prayers that Change History

2013 – I almost have to pause and reflect every time I write the number thirteen after the month and day. It seems like only yesterday the world was anxiously preparing for the computer apocalypse referred to as Y2K. Countless discussions and rumors from skeptics and pessimists alike occurred at every coffee shop and water cooler across the land. Many gathered rations while others overindulged as though 1999 was the end of society. The watching world gathered at events and around television sets and radios to be the first to witness the collapse of modern civilization or at the very least some spectacular occurrence where our foundations would be shaken. But January 1, 2000, came and went with little interference in the activities of the global economy and the media was left with little to report. We went back to old habits, content to talk about the moment as though we were the only ones without concern and a schoolyard, “I told you so” flowing from our lips. We were celebrating victory over judgment day – naïve, content in the perceptions of our own strength as though we had beaten the prophecies of ancient civilizations or even God Himself.

Then almost two years later the United States witnessed first hand the horror of terrorism and the barbarism of extremists willing to take any and all life. America the great, an impervious super-power with military might, scientific knowledge and society-altering advancements had been beaten – at least for a moment. Yet as a result, prayer became commonplace with faith demonstrated in the public square as a tolerated and even accepted practice. As a people under a common flag, we were hurt and scared. But confidence that God would grant us victory over our enemies reaffirmed our bold expressions of alliance with the Almighty. Christians were coming out of the woodwork with little opposition. We were united, focused and diligent – welcomed attributes in a time of uncertainty.

One would naturally think that after countless trials, even as recently as the beginnings of the great recession, we would learn to be consistent. But alas, back to old habits, back to self–aggrandizement. Thus, the only consistency in our history, not only as Americans, but as Christians, is our willingness to concede and close the book on God when the urgency of the moment has passed.

The trials in our nation today are very real. Unfortunately a hopeful decrease in the unemployment numbers will not resolve the hardened hearts of God’s people. God will not be content being treated as a compartmentalized apparition in the retirement home (or basement) of our priorities. He will not sit by hopeful that one day we will pick-up the phone and call or stop by for an annual visitation when our actions have clearly stated our unspoken perspectives. God is the Almighty, the I AM. The heavens declare his majesty and if we will not praise Him, the rocks will.

God should be in all our decisions and fill our minds as we arise in the morning and close the day in the evening. We should long to be in His presence just as our lungs grasp for air. King David said, “Oh God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” Psalm 63:1. Many blessings are released through this relationship and God wants to reveal the deep things of His nature to us. In this fellowship, nothing will be impossible for you. In fact, the flaming arrows of our adversary are extinguished against the walls of His protection.  Remember, the trials will come and the Scriptures are clear on this:

  • “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

  • “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship…” II Timothy 4:5a

  • “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b

The Lord knew we would experience difficulties in this world and so He gave us His armor (Eph. 6:10-18). However, He also built us a fortress in Himself.

“I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2

We are not alone in our struggle. He is our stronghold and our rock! This is the place where we stand firm against tribulation. It is offered freely to those He marks as His own by the blood of Jesus Christ. However, one does not find this solace from adversity when the keys to the door are lost in a shuffled pile of to-do lists. Rather, God must be invited daily into our lives. Paul reminds us, in Philippians 3:10, “For my determined purpose] is that I may know Him that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly…”

There is an incredible connection that happens between believers and the heavenly Father during prayer. It is something that intersects the physical with the spiritual and goes far beyond human comprehension. The ability for humankind to speak in the throne room of the Almighty is awesome in and of itself. But the fact that God, in all of His splendor, will stop and listen intently to our every word, as if nothing could be more important to Him at that moment, is truly breathtaking. God desires relationship with us, and our dialogue with Him through prayer is where He reveals the deepest characteristics of His nature.

I have, recently, been reading “Sun Stand Still” by Steven Furtick and I was empowered to pray as I had never prayed before. Do we understand the heart and will of God so personally that we would be so bold to pray in command to the elements or even the sun to do the rationally unthinkable? Joshua prayed very clearly. He said, “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon” Joshua 10:12. Then God answered with action. “The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since…Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel! (verses 13-14). Steven then added the following commentary, “The skeptic in me has all kinds of questions. Did God actually stop the earth on it axis? Did he create some kind of substitute sun to extend daylight? In other words, what really went down here? I don’t know the answers to those questions. There are other books written by much smarter people that address the practical implications of this event. But my faith is pretty simple. I choose to believe that the same God who intervened to bring His Son back to life intervened on this day in history to help his people. He chose to answer Joshua’s outrageous prayer. He did what only He could do. And He did it in a way that His people would never forget – in a way that we’re still marveling at to this day.”

God is still a God of miracles! He is still doing the outrageous across the world. We just have to open our eyes to see it and believe that our prayers can change the course of history. You can move mountains in your prayer! May this year you find such fulfillment in your exchange with the Almighty that you are never content with mediocrity in your fellowship ever again. Dare to pray the impossible prayer and stand boldly on the front lines for the King of Kings. Grab the plow and never look back!

John Bornschein