"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

God Calls You To Prayer

By Wesley L. Duewel

    God has a wonderful plan by which you can have worldwide influence. This plan is not just for a chosen few. It is for you. Let me tell you about it.

    Through prayer you can stand beside Billy Graham as he preaches in crusades anywhere in the world. You can strengthen him, bless him, lift him up at the very moment he is bringing the Good News to thousands. Through prayer you can stand beside Luis Palau in his Latin American crusades. Through prayer you can stand beside George Beverly Shea as he sings the glorious Gospel.

    Through prayer you can accompany any missionary to remote reaches of the earth. Through prayer you can walk through crowded bazaars, minister in steaming jungles, feed millions of starving men, women, and children, hungry for bread for their bodies and for the Bread of Life.

    Through prayer you can contribute to the ministry of any pastor or evangelist in a church or Gospel hall anywhere in the world. Many a time I have felt that through prayer I was at the side of some man or woman of God.

    Through prayer you can take a suffering infant in your arms. Through prayer you can touch a fevered brow in any hospital, mediating the healing love of Jesus.

    God has given you a way to make your presence count, a way to be a true partner in His kingdom's work, if you really want to be.

    True, there have been outstanding praying saints over the centuries. By no means do we forget them or the tremendous history-changing role they played through prayer. Thank God for James, the half-brother of Jesus, who spent the latter years of his life praying for the churches God was raising up. When he died and his body was prepared for burial, it was found that his knees were so calloused from hours and hours of kneeling that they almost resembled the knees of a camel. He became known as "Camel-knees."

    Thank God for Savonarola in fifteenth-century Italy, who prayed down revival in that corrupt age. Thank God for Brainerd, missionary to the American Indians, and his life of prayer and tears. Thank God for "Praying Hyde," the missionary to India, who was perhaps the greatest prayer warrior of this century.

    But God does not depend solely on a few staunch saints. He has planned for ordinary Christians like you and me to become mighty in prayer for the blessing and salvation of people and the reaping of Christ's harvest among the nations today.

    There is no reason in the world why you cannot become so steadfast in your personal prayer life that Christ will count on you to help build His church and advance His kingdom in many parts of the world. Beginning with your family, your church, and your community, you can play a significant part through normal daily prayer that will make a difference, even in distant lands.

    Again and again God has used persons like you and me to help Him meet special emergency prayer needs on a particular day or occasion. When He calls on someone for this special and temporary role, He usually selects one of His children who has been praying faithfully and consistently.

    You don't have to spend hours each day to qualify for God's prayer army. Thank God for those who can and do pray like that. But He knows the limitations of your own situation, your schedule, your home and employment responsibilities. His plan is intended to add a whole new dimension to your prayer life. Whether you are a business executive or a housewife, a factory worker or a student, a layman or a minister of the Gospel – God desires for you to begin a thrillingly new and more effective life of prayer.

    I do not claim to have a magic formula to transform you into a spiritual giant overnight. But I do want to point out the possibilities of this simple plan as outlined in the Bible. You can have new power and effectiveness in prayer. You can play a significant part in Christ's plan. You can be the praying person God wants you to be – you can, if you will. Will you try?

God's Wonderful Plan for You

    God has great expectations for you and me. He has every right. The average person has more ability to influence others today than ever before. This is especially true for Christians. Billy Graham has said he would rather be alive today than to have lived when Jesus was on earth. I fully agree. The average Christian can have a greater influence for God than the average Christian of any previous generation.

    This is an exciting time in our history. More believers are living today than at any other time. Christ's church has spread into more areas of the world, praises God each week in more languages, and is witnessing to or is in contact with more people than ever before. There are more Gospel workers, more local churches, more Bible training institutions, more Christian organizations, and more missionary societies.

    Through the tremendous media of radio, television, and literature we have the facilities to speed up God's work beyond anything we have yet known. We can reach the farthest nations more quickly, we can present the Gospel in more languages, and we have the means to recruit and guide prayer for the whole world more efficiently. We can reach our world, if we will. The greatest lack today is not people or funds. The greatest need is prayer. Without increasing the number of Christian workers or their financial support, we could see multiplied results if we would only multiply prayer.

    Prayer is the greatest resource of the church. It is the most effective means of preparing the way of the Lord available to us as Christians today. You yourself can influence more people for God and have a greater role in advancing Christ's cause by prayer than in any other way. It is not the only thing you must do, but it is the greatest thing you can do. It has often been said,

    The Devil trembles when he sees

    God's weakest child upon his knees.

    If that is true, think what could happen if every Christian really took his prayer role seriously and began to pray regularly and specifically, uniting with thousands or millions of others, all praying for the same priority needs around the world. Are you willing to be a part of such a prayer army?

The Urgency of Your Prayer Now

    God's timetable of the ages may be rapidly nearing the countdown toward Christ's return. God's great plan, for which He created the world and man, has been delayed and frustrated by the long reign of sin and Satan since Adam's fall. But according to the Bible, the delay of Christ's return is not so much because God is patiently waiting for the world to repent as because He is patiently waiting for us to lead them to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9).

    This is further emphasized by the fact that, of all the conditions and signs that must precede Christ's coming, perhaps only one remains to be fulfilled: "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matt. 24:14).

    We do not know what in God's view constitutes adequate witness to the comparatively unreached nations, but by means of radio we are today able to beam the Gospel message to practically every corner of the earth. Millions unreached by resident missionaries have access to the Gospel through missionary radio. Virtually every province and village in China has been covered this way. Millions of others in Muslim lands are known to be listening to Christian messages, broadcast in their own language or in one that may be understood in part.

    It is always far more effective when people can hear the Gospel in their mother tongue. Although it has been reliably estimated that 95 percent of the people in the world now have available to them some portion of the Scripture printed in a language known to them, may God speed the efforts of those giving their lives to completing the task of putting Scripture into all remaining dialects and languages. In addition, Gospel Recordings reports that Christian messages have been recorded in more than 4,435 of these dialects and languages.

    Delivering the Gospel message to every human being is not enough, however. The crucial factor is assuring that the message will be understood and accepted. Prayer is the answer. The Holy Spirit is given as God's people ask (Luke 11:13). Undoubtedly this is not only true when we ask for ourselves, but also when we ask for others. So the effectiveness of present mission efforts depends on our prayer, enabling the Holy Spirit to work in power.

    In other words, the key to world evangelization, thus clearing the way for Christ's return, may be your prayer and mine. If the main delaying factor is lack of prayer, do not be surprised if God makes special provision for prayer to be more effective today than ever before.

Your Indescribable Power

    The greatest privilege God gives to you is the freedom to approach Him at any time. You are not only authorized to speak to Him; you are invited. You are not only permitted; you are expected. God waits for you to communicate with Him. You have an instant, direct access to God. God loves mankind so much, and in a very special sense His children, that He has made Himself available to you at all times. There are at least seven elements to this amazing power He gives to you.

The Power to Contact Heaven's Throne Room

    As a child of God you have full authority to contact God, the Sovereign of the universe; whenever you desire. He is always enthroned in heaven; yet, through prayer, you have as much access to His presence as any angel or archangel. You need not wait for an invitation; the invitation is already yours. You need not make a prior appointment; you are already authorized to approach God instantly, God is never too busy to listen to you; He is never too involved to answer you.

    Before meeting Queen Elizabeth, I was told: "You must never speak first; wait until you are spoken to. You never ask royalty anything; you answer royalty." I was told, "In your first reply, you must add the words, 'Your Majesty.'"

    When you speak to the Lord of the universe, this is completely reversed. Jesus said, "When you pray, say 'Father'" (Luke 11:2). There are no formal titles which you dare not omit lest you dishonor God, no recommended phrases to make your prayer more sacred or certain of answer, no official words you are duty-bound to use.

    When Queen Elizabeth visited India, a little girl was selected to hand the queen a bouquet of flowers. For weeks the child practiced exactly how to curtsy before the queen, and how to back away from the queen (without falling over!), so as to be sure not to turn her back to her majesty. But you can be sure that the queen's own children did not have that restriction imposed on them!

    In prayer you come to God as His child. You need not wait for an angel to introduce you. You need not try to make yourself more acceptable. You need not first prepare carefully what you want to say. You come just as you are, opening your heart and telling Him how you feel and what you desire. There is no one prayer posture which is more sacred than another. You are God's child, and He is eager and willing to see you!

The Power to Cooperate with God

    God has chosen to accomplish many of His sovereign purposes with our help. Paul repeatedly reminds us that God has appointed us to a sacred partnership for the purpose of Gospel advance. Paul emphasizes our sacred responsibility to work with God. Every form of obedience to God is urgent, but there are many situations in which we are limited. We may not be at the place of need. We may lack special skills or training. But we can always work with God through prayer.

    Through prayer we can cooperate with Him in any place, at any time, and for any kind of need. We are created to pray. We were saved by God’s grace to enter into a ministry of prayer. We have the liberty, the right, and the position of official children of God, called to work with God, chosen for this specific purpose.

    Furthermore, God said in Exodus 19:5-6, "Although the whole earth is Mine, you will be for Me a kingdom of priests." Isaiah prophesied, "You will be called priests of the Lord" (Isa. 61:6). Why did Jesus make us "priests" to serve God (Rev. 1:6)? Why are all Christians called "a holy priesthood" (1 Pet. 2:5), "a royal priesthood" (v. 9)?

    Obviously, part of God's purpose in designating us priests is that we are to worship and praise Him, but it includes far more than that. We are to be a "royal priesthood." Christ today rules the world through prayer. We are to share this rule by intercession for others even as Christ constantly intercedes for them (Heb. 7:25). We have been given official access to heaven's throne room so that we may join our intercession with that of Christ!

    If Christ intercedes, why is our intercession necessary? What could our puny prayers possibly add to His powerful intercession? God has been pleased to build into His eternal plan that we His children join with Christ in His intercessory role and rule today. If we are not using spare minutes in the ministry of intercession for others and for God's work, we are failing God in the special calling to which He has called us. If we will, we can turn any radio or TV newscast or newspaper article into a call to prayer. We can be alert to share God's heartbeat for a broken world. Prayer is the supreme way to be workers together with God.

The Power to Resist and Defeat Satan

    Satan is the archenemy of God and man. "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him" (1 Pet. 5:8). He is the master strategist behind all the evil in the world. His kingdom consists of fallen angels, demons, and sinners. He is constantly seeking to discourage, delay, and defeat Christ's workers and Christ's work. He is determined to oppose in every way he can. One of his names is "Destroyer" (Rev. 9:11). He seeks to destroy people, homes, nations, and the plan and work of God.

    Satan coordinates a host of unclean spirits called demons. They seem to have power to afflict people whom they indwell. Satan at times seems able to exert some control over forces of nature, and to counterfeit the work of God by demonic "miracles" (2 Thes. 2:9-10). He has such power and evil authority that even the archangel Michael called on the Lord to rebuke Satan (Jude 9).

    How could you and I possibly resist or defeat Satan? Surely only God can restrain, bring under control, and defeat such a powerful enemy. But no, the Bible clearly gives this power to ordinary Christians like you and me.

    We must not yield to temptation. Jesus set an example of how to do this by using God's Word (Matt. 4:1-11). He urged Peter to be victorious by watching and praying (Matt. 26:41).

    We must stand firm in faith. Scripture promises, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jas. 4:7). The Greek word for resist means "to stand against." When Christ is with us, we can resist Satan.

    We must pray. This is our most powerful weapon. Prayer brings the presence of Christ into manifestation, and Satan and his demons have to fall back like the mob in the Garden (John 18:6). Prayer grasps hold of the promises of God and erects them like a wall between us and the powers of darkness. Prayer can bring God's angels rushing to our assistance (2 Kgs. 6:15-17; Dan. 10:13; Heb. 1:14). Prayer can overthrow the plans of Satan. Prayer can battle any combination of Satan's forces.

    When Paul describes our spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6, he says, "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (v. 12). In the previous verse Paul had spoken of our need to take our stand against the devil's schemes. He then lists the various aspects of the spiritual armor which we must wear in the warfare with Satan. But when we are fully armed, how do we fight? Paul suggests two ways – with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and with prayer.

    Prayer is the master strategy that God gives for the defeat and rout of Satan. "Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayer and requests" (Eph. 6:18). Through prayer the Holy Spirit can so empower us that Satan's hold on lives is broken, his hindrances to the kingdom are removed, and his work is destroyed. Christ came to destroy the work of the devil (1 John 3:8). He did this potentially at Calvary, and Christ enforces Calvary's victory through the prayers of His bride, the church. That is why the people of God are also the army of God.

    If God's people would only accept their sacred role as the army of God, if they would call one another to God's priority of prayer, if they would join one another in militant, Spirit-guided, Spirit-anointed intercession, we could see Satan defeated and revival visitations descend from God. We could see the greatest harvest of souls we have ever known.

    We are called to stop Satan, to drive back Satan, to defeat Satan through prayer and fasting. But we are too prayerless, too passive, too content with the spiritual mediocrity and comparative spiritual barrenness. We seem content to let the devil gain the victory. God, wake us up! God, teach us to pray! God, lead us to such prayer warfare that we claim key people, whole families, and even entire continents for Him! To your knees, and world evangelization can be revolutionized! To your knees, and Christ's triumphs will be manifest!

    Prayer can transcend "the laws of nature." Prayer can bring God's miracle answers to man's desperate needs. It would be useless to pray for many problem situations if this were not true. If there are limits to what God can do when we pray, then prayer is playing games with God, trifling with human need, and deceiving ourselves. No! Never! Prayer is as real as God is real. There is absolutely nothing that God cannot do if it will advance His kingdom and is in accord with His will. Prayer releases God's power.

    Christ is the Creator and Preserver of the universe (John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17). He is a God of plan, regularity, and power. His normal ways of working we call "laws" of nature. He has so planned and created the universe that lower laws can be transcended by higher laws. The law of gravity, for example, can be temporarily transcended by the law of force. When we throw a ball, the law of force dictates that the ball will remain suspended in flight until the force is expended, at which time the law of gravity again takes over, and the ball falls to the ground.

    Lower laws regularly serve the purpose of higher laws and harmonize with and can be transcended by these higher laws. The laws governing matter can be transcended by the laws of biology and life. These, in turn, may serve physical laws of psychology. Moral laws transcend physical laws, and spiritual laws transcend all. God is Spirit, and He transcends all creation. He is absolutely free, the Creator and Sustainer and Governor of all. He is free to transcend any of His laws, for they are but the expression of His creative mind – the way in which He normally chooses to work in the world He has created. Transcending a "law" does not "break" or destroy the law, but temporarily supersedes it for a higher purpose.

    When God overrides His usual way of working ("the natural law") by some special expression of His will, we call it a miracle. To God it is just another of His works. Thus Jesus referred to His miracles as "works" (GK. erga; see John 9:4; 10:25, 32, 38). Prayer is possible because God is almighty, the Sovereign of all His works. He has eternal purposes and plans. He will always transcend any of His normal ways of working to accomplish His moral and spiritual purposes and His eternal plans.

    Thus prayer always has the possibility to cooperate with God's eternal purpose and to secure the miracle power of God. He does not guarantee miracle, but God is always open to our prayer for His will to prevail for His glory. Prayer is God's ordained way to bring His miracle power to bear in human need.

The Power to Obtain Angelic Assistance

    We live in an age which is skeptical of the supernatural. Many Christians seldom think of the Bible teaching concerning angels. Hebrews 1:14 assures us that all angels are "ministering spirits sent to serve" God's children. We do not know all the ways they serve, but the Bible specifically mentions these:

    They protect from danger. They protected Jacob after his night of prayer (Gen. 32:1). They protected Elisha, the man of prayer (2 Kgs. 6:17).

    They deliver God's children. Angels delivered Peter from prison (Acts 12:1-11). An angel came and assured Paul that he and all aboard the ship would be delivered (Acts 27:23) and their lives would be "graciously given him by God," indicating Paul's prayer request.

    They bring messages to God's children. There are many biblical examples of this. Angels brought the message to the shepherds (Luke 2:9-13), to the women at Christ's resurrection (Matt. 28:2-7), and to Cornelius in answer to his prayers (Acts 10:1-7). They can bring suggestions to you or others through thoughts.

    They renew physical strength. They strengthened Christ following His ordeal in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43).

    Undoubtedly the angelic assistance of God's children is usually invisible. But it is real just the same. Christian biography lists many examples of angelic help, both visible and invisible.

    While serving in India, I feel sure ministering angels helped me on many occasions, although I did not see them. In one of several examples I was made to sense danger and the need to change my direction, and later discovered I had barely missed a rioting anti-Christian mob. On another occasion I passed without fear through a mob shouting at me. Not a hand touched me, and I was unusually aware that I was surrounded by God's presence. In both cases I later discovered that one of God's children on the opposite side of earth was at that very time alerted and burdened to pray for me because I was in danger, although that person knew nothing of the circumstances at the time.

    God will gladly use whatever means are needed to protect His own, if we do our part and pray as He prompts us. We have the promise of God and have every right to claim it, asking Him for angelic guard to be assigned to His servants who minister in places of special danger – such as inner city ghettos or volatile mission posts. Nor should we hesitate to ask God for special angelic protection for loved ones.

The Power to Move Mountains

    In the Bible, mountains are sometimes used in a symbolic sense, typifying strength and stability. On the other hand, mountains often symbolize difficulties, problems and hindrances. Thus, if we would prepare the way of the Lord, the crooked must be made straight and the mountains leveled. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed (Isa. 40:3-5; Luke 3:4-6). When God's mighty Spirit works, mountains immovable in any other way are as nothing before the power of God (Zech. 4:6-7). The Holy Spirit, who alone can accomplish this, can turn the most impossible mountains into roads and highways for rapid advance (Isa. 49:11).

    Jesus used this Old Testament illustration in several of His teachings. When His disciples had failed to cast out the demon from the afflicted boy, Jesus told them that if they had possessed faith even as small as a mustard seed, they could speak to "this mountain" (symbolic of any insurmountable situation or problem) and "it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" (Matt. 17:20). He immediately added that this kind of dramatic display would be the result of prayer and fasting (v. 21).

    Again, when the disciples were amazed at Jesus' power to wither the fruitless fig tree, He repeated that not only could they do the same, but also could even command mountains to throw themselves into the sea for "if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer" (Matt. 21:21-22). Mark records the same incident and quotes Jesus as saying, "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours" (Mark 11:24).

    God expects His children to face mountains of difficulties and to move them. He does not intend for us to be stopped by them, but to accept them as a challenge – either to turn them into highways for God's greater glory or else to cast them into the sea, completely removed from sight, as if they had never existed. Jesus assures us that this is fully possible when His children confront the mountains, believing, but reminds us that such mountain-moving may require prolonged prayer and fasting. The Holy Spirit will do the miracle. It will not be done by our might or power (Zech. 4:6).

    Hundreds of mountains are impeding the advance of missions and Christ's church today because we are relying almost completely on our own wisdom, skill and effort. We had rather do almost anything but really give ourselves to prayer and fasting!

    Prayer has mighty power to move mountains because the Holy Spirit is ready both to encourage our praying and to remove the mountains hindering us. Prayer has the power to change mountains into highways.

The Power to Bless

    The God of the Bible is a God who blesses. His Word is full of multiplied promises that He will do just that. We can be assured that, except in cases where God must discipline or punish, it is always His will to bless people, especially His obedient children.

    "[Jesus] went around doing good" (Acts 10:38). Like Him, we are to go through life blessing everyone we can. We, His disciples, are to be known for our good deeds of blessing to others (Matt. 5:16; Eph 2:10). We are to be rich in good deeds (1 Tim. 6:18). We are to be "thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:17).

    The greatest way in which Christians can mediate blessing is through prayer. We have the opportunity to pray for those we can contact in no other way. From the leaders of our nation and the leaders of our church to the poor, the needy, and the suffering – we can bring blessing to all through prayer. From our family and closest friends whom we see often, to those we may meet but once or only hear about – we can be God's agents of blessing. The often-repeated request, "Pray for me," is really a plea for blessing and help.

    As a Christian, you should go through life blessing others. You can bring streams of blessing, and refreshment and encouragement wherever you go just by punctuating your days with unceasing prayer for others. As time and opportunity permit, you should bless in every possible way as many as you can (Gal. 6:10). Your presence should always bring a blessing. But this will be most true if you are faithfully asking for God's blessing on all about you. You can find opportunities to fill your day with prayers of blessing if you are observant.

    General Stonewall Jackson said, "I have so fixed the habit in my mind that I never raise a glass of water to my lips without asking God's blessing, never seal a letter without putting a word of prayer under the seal, never take a letter from the post without a brief sending of my thoughts heavenward, never change my classes in their lecture room without a minute's petition for the cadets who go out and for those who come in."

A beloved English physician of the 1600's, Sir Thomas Browne, was an example of constant prayers of blessing. He said, "I have resolved to pray more and pray always, to pray in the places where quietness inviteth, in the house, on the highway and on the street; and to know no street or passage in this city that may not witness that I have not forgotten God….

    "I purpose to take occasion of praying upon the sight of any church which I may pass, that God may be worshipped there in spirit, and that souls may be saved there; to pray daily for my sick patients and for the patients of other physicians; at my entrance into any home to say, 'May the peace of God abide here'; and after hearing a sermon to pray for a blessing on God's truth and upon the messenger; upon the sight of a beautiful person to bless God for His creatures, to pray for the beauty of such an one's soul, that God may enrich her with inward graces and that the outward and inward may correspond; upon the sight of a deformed person to pray God to give them wholeness of soul, and by and by, to give them the beauty of the resurrection."

    Abraham was promised that God would bless him and make him a blessing (Gen. 12:2). This should be the experience of every Christian – the more God blesses, the more each of us should bless others. Prayer is the certain route to blessing, and prayer is the greatest means of being a blessing to others. Prayer is God's gift of power to bless others. Oh, fill every day with prayers of blessing and take hold of the tremendous power God has given you!

    – Quoted from Touch The World Through Prayer by Wesley L. Duewel. Copyright 1986 by Wesley L. Duewel. Used by permission of the Duewel Literature Trust, Inc., Greenwood, IN.

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