Change happens within us as God’s Word takes root in our hearts. Change happens in others as His Word touches them through us. Finally, change happens in the world as we call forth the Lord’s Word through prayer!
“Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Luke 11:1–4)
There have been times when I wondered why prayer was necessary. Why does God tell us to ask for things as if He is a divine vending machine ready to take our orders? Many times my prayers have gone unanswered, so what’s the point? I may not completely understand why God asks us to pray, but I know from experience that He hears our prayers!
Having suffered due to a cross-country move and family trauma, my oldest son, Charlie, began experimenting with drugs when he was only twelve years old. One day he came home on the school bus with marijuana and before long he was addicted to cocaine, crystal meth, cigarettes, alcohol, and anything else that could numb his pain. My heart broke as I saw him turn to the wrong crowd and self-harm for comfort.
So I did what every self-respecting but desperate Christian mom does: I prayed. At first my prayers were loud and confident, but as the months turned into years, nothing changed in Charlie’s life, and I grew weary. Even the police, who knew us all too well, told me that Charlie stood little chance of getting free of drugs and would either die or land in prison. Finally, after five years of prayer, I had all but lost hope.
Falling on my knees, I cried out, “God, I know it’s not Your will for my son to die of drug addiction. Please show me Your strategy to win this war!” The Lord answered my prayer by reminding me of a story in the Bible. It was the account of Moses instructing the Israelites to paint the blood of a lamb on their doorposts and lintels. As the blood was applied, all in the household were saved from death (see Exodus 12:13). At that moment I knew God was telling me that I had spiritual authority over my household. Although I didn’t understand much about spiritual warfare, I believed that I had authority to fight for my son’s life through prayer!
The next few days were spent listening for the Lord’s marching orders. While praying, I kept hearing the number five in my mind and so I told a few friends I would fast for five days. Four of them joined me and we spiritually painted the blood of the Lamb on the doorposts and lintels of the house! We believed Satan had no right to my children, and so we fervently prayed that the stronghold of addiction in Charlie’s life would be broken.
As we prayed and fasted, the atmosphere in the house was intense, like fingernails on a chalkboard. Charlie came to me, pleading for us to stop. He was hearing voices saying they would kill him if we continued. If I didn’t believe in the demonic realm before, I certainly did now! I told Charlie the voices were lying to him and that we would not stop.
By the fifth day, we were all hungry and exhausted and Charlie was still addicted. That night, he went to bed high on cocaine and I went to bed feeling low and hopeless. But the next morning he woke me saying, “Mom, get up, something happened. Jesus appeared in my room last night!”
My son who had gone to bed intoxicated was now completely sober. He proclaimed, “I threw my cigarettes and drugs away. He set me free!” I wasn’t sure I believed him at first, but the next thing I knew he was at the shopping mall giving Bibles away. He was looking for drug addicts to tell them what Jesus had done for him!
So after five years of praying and five people fasting for five days, my son was set free in 2005 from the bondage of drug addiction. I later learned that the number five represents grace in the Bible, and grace is what we received! The Lord showed me how to fight the battle not in my own strength, but in His.
I tell this story to encourage you to keep praying until you see God’s kingdom established in your life, your marriage, your home, your community, and your world. Often we don’t pray because we don’t really believe our prayers are effective. True, our prayers accomplish nothing if they are just words, but when we pray in agreement with God’s will by the power of the Holy Spirit, miracles can happen!
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16b)
I hope you are encouraged to believe that with God all things truly are possible. His kingdom will come in our lives and the lives of our loved ones as we call it forth in prayer!
Lord, teach me how to pray so I may lay hold of Your perfect will for my life and for my world. Give me the strength and perseverance to pray and keep praying until Your Word is established on earth! In Jesus’ name, amen.
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