John Wesley, whose followers eventually founded the Methodist Church, was controversial in his day. Eggs and tomatoes were often thrown at him as he walked the streets of England, sharing what God had shown him in His Word.
One of his controversial statements concerned prayer:
I am convinced that God does nothing on the earth, except in response to believing prayer. –John Wesley
Let’s think about that for a moment.
In Genesis we see that God gave man authority (dominion) over the earth – and He also gave him free will. He doesn’t force you to obey Him, and He doesn’t control your life apart from your permission. God places great weight on people asking Him for His intervention. We can choose to run our race with Him – or not!
So what was Wesley saying?
Wesley’s point was that when God is ready to put a new piece of His plan in place, He first impresses upon the hearts of His true prayer warriors to pray for it. And He always has those who are willing to pray for His purposes.
Sure, God’s ways are so much higher than ours, He will surprise us with His methods and details. But I am talking about God’s overall plans. For your life – and for your world. The plans He reveals in the Bible.
The Word is full of examples of this concept.
One of those we can find in Daniel 9:2.
In the first year of his (Darius’s) reign, I, Daniel, observed in the Books the number of years which was revealed as the Word of the Lord to Jeremiah the Prophet for the completion of the desolation of Jerusalem, namely seventy years. So I gave my attention to the Lord to seek Him by prayer and supplication.
Interestingly, Daniel saw in God’s Word that their captivity was to be for 70 years. And the 70 years were complete! So Daniel prayed for this promise to be fulfilled.
And it was!
In Ezra 1, we see that God stirred up the heart of Cyrus the King to facilitate the return of God’s people to Jerusalem. Cyrus was not even a believer, but God still impressed upon him to grant favor to the Jews. And thus the return to Jerusalem began – just as Daniel had prayed.
Let’s look at one more example.
If there was ever anything which God would have done without any prayer from man, it would have been the birth of Jesus. That was God’s design from the very beginning. So did He have people praying for that?
Indeed, in Luke 2 we can see that He did. On the 8th day after the birth of Jesus, His parents brought Him to the temple to be circumcised. There He met two of God’s Prayer warriors who immediately recognized Him as the Messiah. First, Simeon, who was told by God that he wouldn’t taste death until he saw the Messiah.
When he saw Jesus, he proclaimed:
Now, Lord, you are releasing your bond servant to depart in peace, according to Your Word,
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples.
A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the Glory of your people Israel
Next comes Anna, a prophetess.
Anna was an 84 year old widow, who stayed in the temple night and day fasting and praying. When she saw Jesus and heard Simeon, Anna rejoiced greatly, thanking God for the Messiah having been born.
God always has His intercessors. While many of the church leaders were parading around in their priestly robes, trying to impress their subjects, God had some seemingly less significant people praying for His purpose.
Yet to God, they were the most significant! These intercessors were the ones who saw and recognized Jesus when He was only 8 days old.
Neither of them was a person of high position or great honor; they were simple people. Both of them were advanced in years and both spent lots of time praying. These two were the first in the community to recognize the Messiah because of their prayers.
Each of these people had seen in God’s Word that the Savior would come, and they were praying for it to happen. The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he wouldn’t see death until he had seen the Christ, and that’s exactly what took place.
The joy which came from this man was evident as he recognized Jesus and proclaimed God’s Word. Overhearing these words, Anna agreed, and her joy exuded to others – the Savior had come!
God’s methodology hasn’t changed. There are many today who parade around in their pride and arrogance, ignoring God’s plan, and even discounting his Word. Even some leaders are caught up in their own importance, and ignore God’s desires.
Then there are others. There are those who love God and His Word, and who spend time praying for it to come to pass. Sometimes these people are unrecognized, even by those around them. But God knows what they are doing, and He is pleased.
Our world is in great need of awakening – a promise God has made to His people. There are those who believe God, allowing Him to direct their prayers, and increasing in their ability to pray. Those are the ones who will recognize what God is doing, as they work with Him for His great plans to come to fruition.
They take the Word which God impresses to them, and they pray it back to Him. They thank Him for the manifestation – and they decree that Word into the atmosphere. And they don’t give up!
Great moves of God can take time, so patience is necessary. Yet significant change is on the way.
We have already begun to see trickles of it, but we will see more. We will see God move in the hearts of people, calling them to a greater life in Him.
And it all happens because of prayer!!
As I talk to people who are going through tough times, one of the primary problems they face is confusion. Why is this happening? And what can I do about it?
When we are under pressure, it’s hard to think clearly. Our thoughts become cloudy as we deal with the emotions of the moment.
But there are a couple of verses nearly hidden in the 5th chapter of I John which start to push back those clouds. As we ponder those verses, we remember that God is on our side – and He answers our prayers.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.I John 5:14
When I see that verse, I want to meditate on it – let its meaning saturate me.
If what we are praying is God’s will, and if we know that it is His will, then we will have that for which we pray. We’ll have faith in what we are praying and we’ll have whatever we ask.
So then next question, how do we know God’s will?
Simply put, God’s will is His Word. His will is wrapped up in the fact that Jesus came to earth and died for our sins. Then He rose again and sent His Holy Spirit to live in our hearts and restore us to the blessings He had ordained for us. Peace in our families, provision, health – all the blessings we see enumerated in scripture.
So we approach our Handbook – the Words ordained by our Creator to tell us who He is and who we are – the Book otherwise known as the Bible. Then we ask for guidance in finding just that part of His Word which applies to our present moment.
Then we pray. And we know that He hears us and answers our prayer.
To illustrate, I want to tell you about a young man who did just what we are talking about.
This young man’s country had been invaded by a brutal army. He had been captured – along with all of his relatives – and taken into a far country. The times were tough, but he knew his God and remained faithful to Him.
He prayed everyday – and he lived a holy life – even though mean spirited, unholy people were all around him.
Have you guessed by now who I’m talking about? I’m talking about Daniel who had been taken to Babylon.
We can read his story in the Book of Daniel.
After he was taken captive, many years passed, and then…
As Daniel was reading the “Books,” the Holy scrolls which eventually became part of the Bible, he saw where God had spoken to Jeremiah. God had said that the Jews would be in Babylon 70 years, and then He would bring them back to their country.
Daniel sat up straight. 70 years were almost passed. God had revealed the timing, and it was almost time for the Jews to be sent back home.
Daniel began to fast and pray. He knew God’s will because he had seen it in the scriptures. (Jeremiah 29:10) So he prayed for God to send them home just as He had promised. Daniel had great faith for this to happen because He had seen clearly that this was God’s plan. God’s will.
When Daniel prayed this prayer, Darius was king of Babylon. Yet shortly after, Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon and became its king. Then God began to speak to this unbeliever named Cyrus. And Cyrus started the process of sending Jews back to rebuild the ruins of their beloved country. To restore the temple and the walls of Jerusalem. (See Ezra 1:1)
Daniel prayed for God’s Word to come to pass and it did!
What would you have done? Would you have prayed for the fulfillment of God’s Word, or would you have just sat around moping and wishing God would do what he said?
Many today are doing the latter.
But there are those who are rising up. They are not settling for status quo, but they are digging into God’s Word and they are praying it back to God. And these people are seeing many miracles.
Isaiah gave us an illustration of this.
Isaiah 55:10,11 For as the rain and snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
So shall My Word be which goes forth from My mouth. It shall not return to Me empty Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
His Word shall not return to Him empty – without accomplishing what He sent it for. And how does it return to Him? When you pray God’s Word back to Him – asking for its fulfillment – you are returning it to Him.
Your prayers help to accomplish God’s will in your life.
That’s what Daniel did.
Now what do you do? What do I do?
Let’s find those words our Father has spoken to us, and ask for their fulfillment. When we do that, we are agreeing with God’s will and we will see the results.
When we know that we are praying God’s will, we have faith for it, and we receive what we pray.
Enough for today, we’ll talk more about this next time.
In the meantime,
Keep on Soaring,
Guest Post by Mickey Estes
[ Note: A few years ago, my husband was led by God to start a Pastors’ Prayer Meeting in the area where we lived. He spent a lot of time locating church leaders in the several counties around, and he began the bi-weekly meetings. During that season, the Lord gave him many words about the significance of leaders coming together for God’s purposes. The next few blog posts grew out of those words.
I am sharing them again since these same concepts are so important for this present time. This word is important not only for leaders, but for all of those in the Body of Christ who truly want to see God’s plans unfold in the earth today.]
Recently, the Lord has been speaking to me concerning the body of Christ. There are so many divisions; so many walls. There are denominational walls, racial walls, gender walls, and cultural walls. It’s as if His body is divided into many pieces with no connections, and it grieves Him.
Why is this so? Why have we allowed Satan to divide us? God has some answers for us.
We are all believing for a great awakening, and there are some keys to our preparation for it. One of those keys is humility. (more…)
Everyone wants a confident prayer life. We want to know that when we pray, God hears and He answers. Yet many don’t know how to attain this. So let’s talk about that.
First we have to be honest with ourselves and determine where we are in our journey. with God. Is Jesus truly our Lord? We want our eyes open to God’s plan and we can only do this if we do it His way. For our prayers to be answered the way we want we have to have faith in God, so every step we take is part of the process of building our faith.
I once read about a highly successful fitness expert, Bill Phillips, whose training helped many people improve their health and their stamina. Yet he was always amazed at the numbers of out-of-shape people who would approach him and thank him for his books. It’s as if they didn’t realize that he could tell at a glance that they were not implementing his ideas. He began to challenge people to “face the abyss,” that infinite chasm between knowing and doing.
Our western society has become a “spectator society.” We watch our teams win, and we think we have accomplished something. We watch news and our favorite TV series, and we trick ourselves into thinking we are in on the action. (more…)