When God’s people pray, things happen

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Mighty Prevailing Prayer”
Our Bible verse for today: “We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our afflictions that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed – beyond our strength – so that we even despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt as if we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “When God’s people pray, things happen”
Yesterday I encouraged all of us to consider giving some special person the gift of our prayers every day for the coming year. I even suggested you make it your Christmas present to them by sending them a note in a card telling them that you will be praying for them every day in 2022.
That suggestion carries with it the assumption that prayer works. If our prayers for other people are at all meaningful, it must mean that God listens and acts based upon our prayers. Some people wonder if that can really be true. They doubt that we can change God’s mind about things or influence Him to do something that He wasn’t already planning to do anyway. If God can be influenced, if He does in fact act based upon the prayers of His people, that then raises all sorts of complicated theological questions about the sovereignty of God. I’m not going to attempt to address those issues this morning. I’ll simply point out that the people in the Bible obviously believed that their prayers mattered and that God acted in response to those prayers.
In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (above) we read of the Apostle Paul recounting for the Corinthians a very dark and disturbing time in his life. It was a time when he was so low, so down, that he thought he was going to die. In this passage he explicitly tells them that it was in response to many prayers for him that God carried him through that deep valley, and therefore he urged the Corinthians to keep praying for him. He wanted and needed those prayers!
In Genesis 18:16-33 we read of Abraham negotiating with God on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah and not only does God listen patiently to Abraham’s request, but He agrees to go along with it and adjust His own plans based upon Abraham’s request for those people.
Likewise, in Exodus 32:14 Moses pleaded with God not to follow through on His threat to destroy the nation of Israel. The Bible tells us, “So the Lord relented concerning the disaster he had said he would bring on his people.” The Lord “relented”. He changed His mind and did something other than what He had planned to do, and He made that change based upon the passionate plea made by Moses.
In many ways prayer is a mystery. There’s much more about it that we don’t understand than what we do understand. But what we do know, from the Bible and from our own experience, is that when God’s people pray, things happen. The pray-ers in the Bible clearly expected that their prayers would be answered and would make a difference. This is why James 5:16 tells us “The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.”
I encourage you to persist in prayer until you prevail. Your prayers matter and they do make a difference.
God bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2021 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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