Progressive Baptist Church's Website
Prayer Changes Things
by Lillian Bell
Throughout the year of 2006, our mission lessons will be in the area of Exemplary Prayers, which are prayers worthy of being imitated. Our continuous theme is Biblical Prayers.PRAYER FOR SELF
Today I'm going to look at the entire month of January, which deals with Biblical Prayers and how we may use these prayers in our daily lives. I will use for a sub-topic: Prayer Changes Things or Prayer Changes Conditions. These prayers will be examples in three areas: Prayers for Self, Prayer for Others, and Prayers for our Leaders.
(Genesis 15: 1-6, 17: 18-21) Abram (Abraham), we are told that after rescuing his nephew Lot from Sodom, God spoke to him in a vision, saying, "Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." During the conversation Abraham let God know that he wanted a child he could call his heir. Abraham asked the Father, "Lord, what will thou give me seeing I go childless?" (Gen. 15: 2a) Abraham told God that since he had no child of his own, his servant, Eliezer, of Damascus would be his heir. Abraham told God he wanted a child by his wife Sarai. Both Abraham and Sarai were of a great age at this time. God told Abraham to count the stars in the heavens. They were too many for Abraham to count. God promised Abraham that he would have a son by his wife Sarai and that his seed would be too numerous to count.
Abraham believed God and his faith was counted unto him righteousness. When we pray to God we must believe that our request will be granted. Though both Abraham and Sarai were of great age when his request was made, God kept His promise to Abraham by giving him Isaac, his son by his wife Sarai.
We must remember that we can take anything to God in prayer. No situation is too small, too large, or too trivial to take to God. God tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all our cares upon Him; for He careth for us. Yes, Prayer Changes Conditions.
Another example of praying for self is Cain's prayer for mercy. God announced a punishment upon Cain after he had taken his brother Abel's life. In Genesis 4:11-12, God said unto Cain, "And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brothers's blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth." Although Cain murdered his brother, he thought his sentence from God was too harsh, cruel, and unusual.
Cain complained about how he would be treated and wanted God to be merciful unto him. Cain told God that he would be like a vagabond, running from place to place to save his own life, although he didn't give much thought to his brother's life. Cain knew he was wrong for taking Abel's life, but he still cried out to God to lighten his sentence. Cain feared death and he thought that someone would recognize him and kill him.
Even though we bring serious trouble upon ourselves, we should not let that stop us from seeking God's understanding, mercy, and deliverance. God is a merciful God, even to the unmerciful. God commanded that, if anyone tried to slay Cain, vengeance should be taken on him sevenfold. (Gen. 4:15) We will reap the consequences of our sin, but we can be sure that God will be with us. For God said in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Yes, Prayer Changes Things.
PRAYER FOR OTHERS
In Matthew 8:5-15, we are told that the centurion came to Jesus as He entered Capernaum on behalf of his servant. He told Jesus that his servant was sick with the palsy, and his body was racked with pain. The centurion had heard about Jesus' compassion for healing others, and he knew that Jesus was well able to do anything that he desired to do. The centurion made his way to Jesus on behalf of his servant, who, perhaps, was too sick to go see Jesus himself. I'm sure that we have all sought Jesus' help for someone other than ourselves. Just as Jesus answered the centurion's request on behalf of his servant, He also will deliver on our request. Just ask Jesus and believe. Yes, Prayer Changes Conditions.
In Acts 12:5-12, we learn that the church prayed for Peter. After King Herod had murdered James, the brother of John, he had Peter arrested. This was during the Passover celebration. King Herod intended to execute Peter following the Passover. Many of the believers had gathered at Mary's home to pray for their spiritual leader. King Herod had squads of soldiers (he even had soldiers handcuffed to Peter) guarding Peter. The believers knew that physically or politically there was nothing they could do. But they knew that God could help them if they would only believe.
Peter's friends began to pray without ceasing. Prayer was the most powerful weapon available to the believers. As they were praying through the night, God sent His angel to deliver Peter from prison. The angel loosed the chains that bound Peter, including the ones that bound him to the guards. Peter and the angel walked past the guards, and the doors opened, allowing deliverance to God's servant, Peter. Again, Prayer Changes Things.
PRAYER FOR OUR LEADERS
Who are our leaders? Leaders may include parents, teachers, pastors, older siblings, principals, and government officials. Leaders are faced with many issues and they often must make choices that affect others.
Paul says it is good for us to make "requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings" for all people. (Timothy 2:1) We should pray for our leaders to operate with God as their leader and the Holy Spirit as their enabler. We must pray for godly and ungodly leaders so that "we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." (Timothy 2:2) God requires us to respect authority and to pray for those who hold office. So, we must pray for all in positions of authority for their sakes and for ours. Yes, my brothers and sisters, Prayer Changes Conditions.
Our prayer life should include, but by no means be limited to Prayer For Self, Prayer For Others, and Prayer For Our Leaders. May God bless each and everyone of you, I PRAY. AMEN.