Does prayer change things, or does it merely change us?
Have you ever wrestled with that question? I have. Let me explain.
When I was only twenty-four years old, I was privileged to serve as the Campus Pastor of a large Christian college. I was in way over my head. I was significantly under-prepared, over-busy, under-staffed, and thoroughly overwhelmed by the immensity of the responsibility. As a new husband, a fulltime graduate student, and a fulltime campus pastor, I went into Christmas break drained, discouraged, exhausted and empty. My weak faith was wavering.
To combat it, I began three days of fasting and reading through the words of the Psalms. The third day, I was reading Psalm 106 about how the Lord was recounting the ways He had blessed Israel in delivering from slavery in Egypt. The Psalm described that despite their many blessings, the Israelis rebelled against the Lord.
God had had enough. He was prepared to destroy them and start over with a whole new group of people, people who would be the children and grand- children of Moses.
Then I came to a verse that changed my life.
Psalm 106:23 So he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them.
Had not Moses - Those three words in the middle of Psalm 106:23 spoke to my soul. Destruction would have come had not Moses. History would have been terribly altered had not Moses. Thousands would have died, had not Moses.
Prayer made a difference, a big difference. Prayer changed history! It also changed me.
The rest of the story
As a college, we were to launch the new semester with four days of special services. We had scheduled a guest speaker to come in a lead us.
The student dorm leaders returned to campus a few days early to prepare for the semester. When I spoke to them, I shared with them what I just shared with you about my faith struggle and Moses’ prayer in Psalm 106:23. I called them to pray for the struggling students in their dorms as Moses had prayed for his nation.
They did. Many of them led all-night prayer meetings in their dorms.
The next couple of days, the rest of the students arrived. On Sunday night, I picked the speaker up and drove him to speak at the first service of the special meetings. I was concerned because he was obviously not ready to lead us spiritually into a new semester.
But it did not matter. God powerfully showed up that night. Dozens and dozens of students made things right with God, not in response to his preaching, but in response to the prayers of their dorm leaders.
Prayer made a difference, a big difference.
Prayer does not only change us. It changes history.
James 5:16-18 says, The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
Prayer changed the weather and it changes history. Never underestimate the power of your prayers. As you go to pray today, be bold, ask God for big things. Prayer has the power to change history!
Adapted from the book, 28 Days to Powerful Prayer, Dave Earley, Barbour Books,