PRAYERS THAT MOVE THE WORLD

Pastor Mike called out: “North Korea, Somalia, Libya, Eritrea, Yemen, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Iran, & Afghanistan.” He asked the significance of these names. Maybe you know they are the names of the top ten offenders of the 50 countries that make up the World Watch List 2024. Believers in these countries pay the cost of following Jesus. Extremists exploit instability in Africa, foreign influence bolsters autocratic regimes, and there are unprecedented attacks on churches. Over 365 million Christians around the world face discrimination for their faith. My mind boggles with the sheer numbers. Yet, despite this, the Christian Church grows.

THE PRACTICE OF PRAYER

Every morning, I read and pray for one of the countries on the World Watch List. In my Global Prayer Guide I follow an additional different country. My geography skills have proven very inadequate as countries change names and shapes. God knows the locations. My heart breaks as I follow the testimonies of Voice of the Martyrs.

I DON’T PERSONALLY KNOW THESE PEOPLE

I do not personally know these people I pray for. Their situations are unimaginable to me. Yet I pray and then pray some more. Why? Because of this passage: “This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us. And if we know [for a fact, as indeed we do] that He hears and listens to us in whatever we ask, we [also] know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted to us] the requests which we have asked from Him.” (I John 5:13-14)

OUR SAVIOR HEARS

God understands each situation and every individual on this earth. He knows about the believers who spend years in solitary confinement in metal shipping containers in the heat of Eritrea. The Holy Spirit groans for those in Korea, imprisoned in concentration camps because they possessed a Bible. Our Savior hears the cries of refugees from Sudan whose homes are destroyed by militants.

NOT WISHFUL THINKING

It is easy to get discouraged and think that our little prayers do not matter. Did you ever wonder why James 5:17-18 points out that Elijah had “a nature like ours”? Matt Bradson writes that we are to pray for huge movements of the Holy Spirit: “Even Elijah was only human. God can answer our big, rain-stopping, holiness-pleading prayers just like his.” If as a righteous person you pray according to God’s will, expect God to answer the prayer. He will grant what you ask. That is based on God’s promise, not wishful thinking.

WHAT TO PRAY FOR

How can you know exactly what and how to pray? Check out the resources I have already mentioned. Even more, learn to plunder Scripture as you pray, interceding for people using the words of the Apostle Paul or the Psalms. “Plunder” means “take goods violently from a place, especially during a war.” Do you open your Bible with force and realize that this is your sword for global warfare?

SPEAK INTO GOD’S EAR

Notice the Apostle Paul didn’t mess around only tiny requests. He drives right to the heart of what people really need. At the beginning of Philippians, he writes, “It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Why not begin today using this as your prayer for believers in North Korea, Somalia, Libya, Eritrea, Yemen, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Iran, & Afghanistan? God has offered His ear. Speak powerfully into it!

Click here for the miraculous testimony entitled “A Die-hard Shia Muslim Becomes a Believer”

PRAYERS THAT MALFUNCTION

Where was God? His Word was dust; her prayer life shriveled up.

Adults in Peanuts animated cartoons are only heard by the unintelligible sounds of a muted trombone (“mwah-mwah-mwah”) That’s how Sandy’s family hears her. A believer. Sandy ardently wants to share Jesus with family, but whenever she does, they roll their eyes. Her prayers are not answered. Something is malfunctioning. “Mwah-mwah-mwah!”

GOD SEEMED FAR, FAR AWAY

Sandy shares her story: “This past year has been an ongoing crisis. My daughter had an accident and I ended up being the caregiver, 24/7, for both daughter and newborn grandson. Included was being a nanny-on-demand for other relatives. The pressure never let up. My car went caput. I lost all sense of independence and was at the mercy of others for transportation. In my exhaustion. In the mix was my ex-husband, a constant thorn in my flesh. God seemed far, far away.”

HER PRAYER LIFE SHRIVELED UP

Where was God? Sandy’s life consisted of a constant cycle of exhaustion and anger toward her family, her ex, and her non-helpful church family. The Word of God was dust; her prayer life shriveled up.

THE DESIGN OF PRAYER

Finally, after a year of anguish, God spoke in a way which she did not anticipate. In the midst of her rants regarding her ex, God reminded her of her own sins. Sandy had never forgiven her ex or asked for his forgiveness regarding her own livid behavior towards him. John Piper writes: “God answers prayers for people who believe in his Son and who love each other. Prayer has a specific design, and if you misuse it, it malfunctions. What is the design of prayer? Prayer is designed by God to be the effect of faith and the cause of love. If we try to pray when our aim is not to love, prayer malfunctions.”

PRAYER IS THE POWER TO LOVE

The Apostle John states in I John 3:18-24: We receive from Him whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments. John Piper explains: “Not because keeping his commandments earn answers to prayer, but because prayer is designed to give power in the path of obedience. Prayer is God’s way of making himself available for us when we are pouring ourselves out in love for others. Prayer is the power to love. Therefore, if we do not aim to love, we pray in vain.”

THE 10% RULE

Bitterness had to be knocked off Sandy’s throne. The dam of unconfessed sin broke as God let her glimpse what and who she is: a ragged daughter of God who refused to aim to love. It is said, “If you have confessed 90% of your sin to God but knowingly keep back that 10%, that 10% is the 100% of what is hindering your prayer life and relationship with God.” Sandy gave up the 10%. A miracle has occurred. Her loved ones no longer hear “mwah-mwah-mwah” when she both speaks and acts. Her prayer life has been revived.

THE WAY TO THE PRAYER ROOM OF GOD

Are you holding back any 10% in confession to both God and man? It is humbling to make things right, but untold beauty from God can be yours. “And whatever we ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.  This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. Love is costly, but love paves the way to the Prayer Room of God.

Click for further great info on unanswered prayers.