Prayer Changes Things
Over the last 7 lessons we have taken a look at prayer. We took a look at the power of prayer specifically in the book of Acts. They were committed and steadfast in prayer; they continued in prayer and God moved in a big way. 120 people prayed and 3,000 got saved, those continued in prayer and 5,000 got saved. All thru the book someone kept praying and answers kept coming. Prayer really changes things.
Then we looked at the results of prayer and saw how it can bring wisdom, direction for our lives and victory.
We looked at what praying without ceasing means, its benefits and how it is different from closet alone type prayer. We saw that there are different types of prayer. Scheduled dedicated prayer, closet prayer, public prayer, and intercessory prayer.
One of the main points here was since God created all these different types of prayer and since God has a purpose for each one, shouldn’t the Christian be involved in all of them. This was a major point because many miss this. Asked if they pray, some will say yes because they say a few light prayers thru the day and so they think they have it all covered.
However, they are neglecting private prayer, public prayer with the church body, and intercessory prayer. Each one of us should be involved in all of it.
We have seen many promises from God’s word about prayer. We have seen many instructions from God’s word on how to pray, when to pray, and what to pray for. How important faith is in prayer, as well as some of the hindrances to prayer.
To close this series we are going to take a look at how prayer changes things.
If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that our need for prayer is great. Our trials are beyond what we can control, we have no power in and of ourselves to change things. But prayer to an Almighty God can change things. To close this series on prayer we are going to look at how prayer changed things in the past and how prayer still continues to change things. The power of prayer has not stopped.
I. Prayer Changes Things
a. Prayer can bring victory in a battle
Asa’s Prayer – Asa was a good king for almost all of his reign. His faith in God was great. The children of Israel were in a bad situation. They were hopelessly outnumbered. The enemy’s army was vastly greater in number and they were better armed. Humanly speaking there was no way they could win. Asa wanted and needed victory, so he did the best thing he could do. He prayed.
2Ch 14:11 And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.
It was a short simple prayer. He acknowledged God’s great power to help. That God can even give victory to those with no power. He asks for help. Puts his trust in God. “we rest on thee” He dedicates the battle to God’s name. Reaffirms his allegiance to God, “O LORD, thou art our God” and closes with a request that wicked men do not prevail against God. He is asking that God would be glorified with the giving of victory.
There is a lot we can learn from that short prayer. But today we just want to look at the results.
2Ch 14:12 So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.
God gave them the victory. God smote the enemy. Of course Israel had to fight; they had to be involved; they had to go forth. But God did the work. He gave the victory. Without God working they would have lost.
We are a people with many battles. They can be different for each of us. Some have to fight bitterness, or anger. With others it is pride, or lust. Some have problems with depression. There are many who have a battle with addictions. Hard drugs, Alcohol, nicotine.
Whatever the battle is, it is not too big for the Lord. He can help those with no power. And He does. His help with the battle did not stop in Asa’s day. God still answers and does incredible things in the lives of His people. He still gives them victory over many problems. Prayer still changes things.
b. Prayer can change health situations
Hezekiah’s prayer – Hezekiah was so sick he was about to die. He prayed and God gave him 15 more years.
2Ki 20:1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.
2Ki 20:2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,
2Ki 20:3 I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now 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.
2Ki 20:4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying,
2Ki 20:5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD.
2Ki 20:6 And 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 for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.
Prayer changing Hezekiah’s medical situation is not limited to him. In fact the New Testament tells us to pray for medical situations.
James – any afflicted let him pray.
Jas 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
Jas 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
Jas 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Prayer changed Hezekiah’s situation in the Old Testament, and we are told to pray for the sick in the New Testament. It is important to get ahold of this fact. Prayer did not stop changing health situations is 1820. It still works today. Prayer still changes things.
c. Prayer can change eternal destinies
We have already seen in this series that the church prayed in the books of Acts and 3,000 got saved and then they continued in prayer and another 5,000 got saved, and it says it continued. God added daily to the church.
Prayer is connected to changing eternal destinies. This is one of the reasons why we are commanded:
Mat 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Prayer led to many souls being saved in the New Testament. We are commanded to pray for Labourers so that souls will be saved. If you look at the roots of every revival in history, you will find people praying. Prayer changes the eternal destinies of people. This did not stop in the early 1900’s.
Prayer changed the eternal destinies of souls in the Bible and all throughout the last 2000 plus years. And prayer still changes things today. Prayer helps in the work of God
There is quite a difference between the Corinthian church in 1st Cor. And 2nd Cor. They still had much growing to do, but they were improving. Prayer is one area where we see this improvement.
2Co 1:11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
Paul testifies that they were helping. Their prayers were changing things. Don’t miss this. It is obvious that they were not praying for themselves. They were praying for Paul and for the work of God.
In Eph chapter 6 we are told to pray with perseverance for all saints. And more than that, they were to pray for Paul’s preaching. That Paul would have boldness.
Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Eph 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
Eph 6:20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Again we have instruction to pray for the work of God. Why? Because prayer changes things. Prayer is needed for the work of God to go forth in power.
A man named Torrey took over Mr. Moody’s church. He says, “The first sermon I preached after taking the pastorate of the church was upon prayer. As I drew toward the close of my sermon I said, How glad your new pastor would be if he knew that some of you men and women of God sat up late Saturday night, or rose early Sunday morning to pray for your new pastor.
Many of those dear saints of God took me at my word. Many of them sat up late Saturday night praying for their minister, and many of them rose early Sunday morning to pray for their minister, and God answered their prayers.
When I took the pastorate, the church building would seat 2,200 people 1,200 on the first floor and 1,000 in the gallery. But in the preceding years, only the first floor of the church had been filled, and the gallery opened only on special occasions. Almost immediately upon my being instated, it became necessary to open the gallery.
Then in the evening service, every inch of standing room would be taken, until we packed 2,700 people into that building. Then we had an overflow meeting in the rooms below which would seat 1,100 and oftentimes into the lecture hall also.
But that was not the best of it. There were conversions every Sunday; indeed, there were conversions in and around the church practically every day in the week. The great majority of them were strangers passing thru the city, or people who came from other churches.
It came to be quite a custom for some ministers to send their people over to our church to have them converted, then they would go back and join the churches to which they properly belonged. The smallest number that we ever received into the church in any one of the eight years I remained there as active pastor was 250.”
The same thing went on with the preachers that replaced Torrey. It not so much the men who were preaching as the people behind them who were praying.
Brother Elliot is a man of God who has preached for decades. Before he went blind he was pastor of a church in Louisiana MO. A town of only 4,000 80 miles north of St. Louis. They had built the church to about 60 in a store front. After 1 ½ years they got property. A few more years they were running 100 to 120. Then the work stagnated.
They were still working, going door knocking. There were no problems in the church. But nothing happening. No salvations, no baptisms. Brother Elliot got grieved.
This went on a long time. One day it was more than he could take. He let the secretary go home after lunch and got alone with God until about 4 pm. Then he called the secretary and told her to call all the men in the first half of the alphabet. Then he called his wife and her call the 2nd half. He asked if they could come to the church at 6:30.
He unburdened his heart to the men and asked if some of them would stay and pray. Some had other commitments and left, but 24 stayed. Each man got alone with God that night and prayed. Brother Elliott and the assistant pastor watched the last man leave and 2:30 in the morning.
That Sunday God moved and souls were saved. The men that prayed got so excited that they told the pastor that they had to keep praying. So they met at 6 am every day to pray.
For 2 years they had not one Sunday were someone did not get saved. Usually it was 2 or 3. Every Sunday someone got saved for 2 years. In less than one year they went from running just over 100 to 400. It was standing room only.
Brother Elliot says lost people were coming out of the woodwork. Now think about this. In a town of only 4,000 to run 400 means that you have 1 out of every 10 people in the entire town coming to your church.
It really was a miraculous outpouring of the power of God doing what only He can. Bringing conviction and opening eyes. And He did it because the people got a heart to pray. Prayer changing things in the work of God. Prayer worked then and it still works now.
God wants us to pray. He asks us to pray. His word tells us to pray. He has many reasons for it.
He wants the closeness of relationship that prayer brings.
He wants us to see Him high and lifted up. God wants His children to know that He is Almighty.
God wants us to believe that He is a rewarder.
Heb_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.
He want us to believe in His goodness; that He cares; that He wants to move on our behalf.
Our Saviour want us to pray because He is glorified in the asking, and He is glorified in the answering.
He wants to show Himself mighty. But in His sovereignty He has determined that His people should have a part by asking. By praying.
There are many more reasons. Prayer teaches discipline, dedication, steadfastness, dependence, increases faith and closeness to God. It helps you to grow in many things. Your care for others for example. There are many reasons God wants us to pray.