God’s Power Through Our Prayer
By Rich Carmicheal
In helping prepare this issue of the Herald on the theme of prayer, I came across this very significant statement by E. M. Bounds regarding the potential of prayer: “…Its results lie outside the range of human possibilities – they are limited only by the omnipotence of God.”
Are we not living in a time in which we desperately need answers outside the range of human possibilities? Is it not true that we need to see the omnipotent power of God at work in our own lives, our families, our churches, our communities and in our nations? As we seek the Lord in prayer for His wisdom, His resources and His power, we can expect situations to turn to remarkable ways. As the Apostle Paul shares, our God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).
Dramatic Answers to Prayer
The Bible is filled with examples of how the Lord works dramatically through prayer. Consider the case of Jehoshaphat when combined armies – “a great multitude” – threatened to overwhelm and conquer the people of Judah (see Second Chronicles 20). From the standpoint of human possibilities, the situation was hopeless. But Jehoshaphat gathered the people to seek the Lord in fasting and prayer. The king openly admitted their powerlessness to deal with the situation: “O our God…we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chr. 20:12). The Lord answered their prayer according to His unlimited power, defeating the enemy supernaturally in a way the people could never have anticipated.
Or consider the remarkable transformation that happened in Jerusalem during the time of Nehemiah. At the beginning of the story, the situation in Jerusalem is grievous: “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire” (Neh. 1:3). But by the end of the book, the wall is rebuilt and the people are rejoicing with great joy, “so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off” (12:43). And what brought about this dramatic turn of events? The power of God in response to the earnest prayer of Nehemiah and others (see 1:5-11).
And what about Hannah? Her story starts with misery and bitterness as she remained childless year after year, until she “prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish” and poured out her soul to Him (see First Samuel 1). The Lord answered her prayer and gave her a son whom she named Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:20). Her deep despair turned to great rejoicing in the Lord (2:1-10), and yet she did not even begin to know the full impact of her prayer and the tremendous role Samuel would play as a prophet of Israel. Once again, the results of prayer were “outside the range of human possibilities.”
Psalm 107 also comes to mind as it contains several examples of the power of prayer. In that psalm, people are in a variety of desperate and seemingly hopeless situations and yet when they cry out to the Lord, He intervenes in supernatural ways and delivers them out of their distresses. He brings them out of darkness and the shadow of death, breaking their chains (v. 14); He sends His word and heals them, and delivers them (v. 20); He calms the storm and guides them safely (v. 30); He “turns a wilderness into pools of water, and dry land into watersprings” (v. 35).
“If My People…”
The familiar passage from the seventh chapter of Second Chronicles is yet another reminder of the power of prayer. In that case the Lord makes this promise: “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chr. 7:13-14). Is there hope for a nation under judgment? Yes, when the Lord’s people turn to Him in humility, prayer and repentance. What may seem impossible for man is not impossible for God!
The early disciples understood the power of prayer, and so they devoted themselves to prayer (Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:4). In response, the Lord poured out His Spirit and gave the believers supernatural power to reach the lost and to expand the kingdom of God throughout the world.
Who Will Pray Today?
Of course, there are many more examples throughout the Bible of how the Lord works powerfully through prayer. The issue before us today is whether or not we are going to be faithful to seek Him in prayer. The Lord not only can, but desires to do powerful things through prayer in our day that reveal His glory and draw people to Him. The gift of prayer is one of His precious gifts to us.
Earlier I mentioned the statement by E. M. Bounds. He goes on to write this: “Few Christians have anything but a vague idea of the power of prayer; fewer still have any experience of that power. The church seems almost wholly unaware of the power God puts into her hand; this spiritual carte blanche on the infinite resources of God’s wisdom and power is rarely, if ever, used – never used to the full measure of honoring God.”
So the question for us is: Where are the Jehoshaphats, the Nehemiahs, the Hannahs, the believers today who will turn their full attention to the Lord and pray earnestly for displays of His omnipotent power in situations and lives all around us? May we be among those praying people – according to His wonderful purposes and all to His eternal glory!
Thank You for Your Prayers!
With the power of prayer in mind, we thank everyone who prays on behalf of Herald of His Coming. We continue to ask for your prayers for the Lord to fill this ministry with His life and power, and to work through Herald materials to help many prepare for the Return of Christ!