Summary: We are hearing alot these days that prayers are worthless; just meaningless platitudes. This message refutes those claims and shows through Scripture that when a Christian prays, things really do change.
Prayer That Avails Much
2 Chronicles 7:12-16 says, “And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, ‘I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself for a house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people; if My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now My eyes shall be open, and My ears attentive unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever: and My eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually.” When King Solomon dedicated the Temple, he prayed to God for His continual presence and blessing. In answer to Solomon’s prayer, God appeared to him in a dream and told him what we just read. I believe what we read also applies to us and I want you to keep this mind as you listen to this message this morning.
Last week as we stood in our circle to pray to close out our service, I shared with you the testimony of Pastor John Ramirez who was a former Satan worshipper. In his testimony he said that he was most effective in Satanism when believers were prayerless. When he talked about the things he was doing for Satan in neighborhoods, cities, etc. he said, and I quote, “I was able to go in there and capitalize and take a stand and a position in the spirit realm against the Christians that were not praying. I took that territory away so I owned your neighbor; I owned your neighborhood; I owned your region because you didn't saturate with prayers. I beat you to it.” He also shared how when Christians did pray that it stopped his evil plans in their tracks. He said, “It is those believers, it's that group of people, those intercessors that gave me such a beat down in the spiritual. When I came into the neighborhood and they were in the spirit together holding hands….And, they were able to chase me out the neighborhood. No mission accomplished. Mission aborted, weakened my assignment and no mission accomplished because they knew something: they had the power in that neighborhood that I didn't have.” He wrote a book detailing why Christians need to pray more effectively.
Since the start of this Church we have ended our services standing together in a circle, holding hands and praying. I believe in the power of prayer and if there ever was a time when prayer was needed, it is today, right now. It was my plan on this Sunday to start my short series on being born again, but this week the Spirit has laid on my heart that I must encourage all of us to return to prayer – not just the basic prayer for blessings or for our needs being met, but the effectual, fervent prayer of those who call out to God for a miracle – for a change to happen. The title of my message this morning is “Prayer That Avails Much.” If you take nothing else from this message please take this with you: when Christians pray, things happen in the spiritual realm that is eventually manifested in this physical realm. This belief is under attack today and we need to reassure ourselves and others that prayer changes things.
In 2015, after a shooter left 14 dead in California, the cover of the New York Daily News shouted “God Isn’t Fixing This! As the latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards (referring to politicians) who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes.” The meaningless platitude the newspaper was referring to is this: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families.” I shared with you a couple of weeks ago that after the shootings in El Paso, TX and in Dayton, OH, several members of Congress almost echoed the exact same thing. Most said “Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We have to take action.” However, one US congressman and presidential candidate said “We are not going to give thoughts and prayers, which are bull****.” This tells four things. One, we need to get back on our knees! Two, there are people out there who have no idea about the power of prayer or what prayer (our personal conversation with our heavenly Father) is all about. Three, it tells me that maybe some people do not pray because they do not believe it changes anything. And lastly, people do not think to earnestly pray until something bad happens which means their prayers are reactive versus being proactive. If we want to see things changed, we must be proactive in our prayers. Pray before the bad happens versus just praying afterwards. We should also be praying for those who have the power to change the path we are currently on as a nation. We must start blanketing our nation with prayer.