I cannot imagine the pain of parents who lost children this week in the shooting in south Florida. I pray that they may somehow be comforted. However, I am alarmed by the numbers of people who are openly mocking prayer in such situations. That, I believe, reveals the fundamental problem that leads to events like the shooting in south Florida. The root problem is that we have lost consciousness of God. We have lost consciousness of God’s standards of right and wrong, God’s love and forgiveness to those who humble themselves before Him, and God’s wrath and judgment upon those who perpetuate evil.
Prayer is powerful not because we are powerful but because the God to whom we pray is. Some mock prayer, but they plea that we let our voice be known to politicians. We can make a plea to a much more powerful One than politicians. We can pour out our hearts to the eternal King of all Kings, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Here are some things that happened in Scripture because of prayer.
Nations were spared from destruction because of prayers- Exodus 32:7-14; Psalm 106:23; Isaiah 37:14-21; Amos 7:1-6; Jonah 3:8.
Even when whole nations or cities were not spared, certain individuals were due to prayer. Abraham interceded for Sodom- Genesis 18:20-33- and even though the city was not spared, Lot was rescued because of prayer- Genesis 19:29.
People were delivered from death because of prayer- Peter in Acts 12:3-17, especially vs. 5, and Daniel in Daniel 6, and Hezekiah in II Kings 20:1-6.
Fierce battles were won because of prayer- II Chronicles 13:14-15; 14:11-12; 20; 32:20-23.
The weather was altered because of prayer- James 5:17-18.
Women bore children because of prayer- Genesis 20:17-18; 25:21; 30:17, 22; I Samuel 1:9-20; Luke 1:13.
People who were hopelessly lost returned home safely through prayer- Psalm 107:4-9.
Some who were imprisoned and had no way out were delivered by prayer- Psalm 107:10-16.
Some who were on their death bed were lifted up and healed through prayer- Psalm 107:17-22.
People who were caught in violent storms were rescued because of prayer- Psalm 107:23-32.
The hearts and policies of rulers were changed because of prayer. Artaxerxes, king of Persia from 464-423, gave the command that building on the city of Jerusalem cease in Ezra 4:7-23. However, he also later gave the decree that Nehemiah return and rebuild the city- Nehemiah 2:1-8. This is after four months of fervent prayer on Nehemiah’s part- compare the months of Nehemiah 1:1 and 2:1. Proverbs 21:1 “The heart of kings is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.”
This does not mean the prayer of every sincere and godly person will be answered just like it was prayed. That was not the case for Paul- II Corinthians 12:7-9- or even Jesus- Matthew 26:36-46. A people may become so wicked that intercession of even the most godly will not be effective- Jeremiah 15:1; Ezekiel 14:14, 20. We cannot expect God to listen to us if we pay no attention to Him- Proverbs 15:29; 28:9; Isaiah 1:15; 59:1-2. However, God said, “the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” James 5:16. Our prayers are powerful because they are addressed to a God “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” Ephesians 3:20.