As we pursue our goals and visions in life, you don't want to forget that spiritual realities are what will help you out of life’s struggles; and someday, it is what will count when you are dying and living this world. Prayer becomes the greatest link God provided for humans to solve their problem. When we are stuck in the ditch, our material opulence, fame, political ingenuity, intellectual acumen, high-tech and information advancements, etc., will not solve your problem. At that point, only God helps us in desperate times in life.
I do not know what you are going through: joblessness, fear of sin you have committed, alienation, sick and dying and you need healing, you have no money to pay your rent, and you are being evicted, you are afraid of been shot, you need money for college, etc. Don’t give up. God is in control and still gives miraculous victories and deliverances.
At a time like this when tension and fear pervade the minds of people, we resort back to God who delivers and protects the righteous and the wicked alike, not like humans who don’t care about each other: but God is compassionate and kind. He instructs us to pray to Him as our father so He will revive the nation, give us hope again and prosperity.
Let us look at the classic prayer deliverances in the Bible. These cases were so hopeless and you can’t imagine it as you read them. But prayer changed the impossible situations and divine deliverances occurred in fatal and desperate circumstances. We will look at 3 instances of these situations.
Jacob & Esau: Genesis 27-33
Jacob and Esau were twin brothers born to Isaac and Rebecca in the Scriptures. Esau was older and loved to hunt. Jacob was clever, cunning and shrewd,, and stayed home with his parents. Although they were problems of favoritism in the home - Isaac loved Esau and Rebecca Jacob; and also a prophecy that stated the older will serve the younger, but Jacob went on his way to cheat his older brother.
First, he deceitfully took Esau’s birth right and finally the blessing meant for Esau, a moving sensitive and powerful story. Esau vowed to kill his brother, while Jacob fled to his Uncle Laban his mother’s brother. Many years have passed and Jacob has acquired much wealth, married and had many children; deceived his Uncle and was coming back home to Canaan. He had to pass through Edom where Esau lived. Then he sent a letter to Esau his brother that he was passing by and Esau threatened to kill him and vowed to revenge act of many years.
Jacob was so afraid. Sometimes, the sin we have committed trails after us through life, for whatever a man sows, he reaps; but God forgives and sets us free. We don’t have to carry the guilt of sin throughout life. We can lay it down on the shoulder of Jesus because of what He did for us on the cross, and be set free. That was what Jacob did. Esau was coming with huge army of four hundred to slaughter his family and he was scared. Who will not be? He had no other alternative plan than to plead God’s mercy and grace. He had no other hope but God. He has lived cheating and thought he was smart. Now….
The covenant blessing through Abraham’s seed, that God promised He would bless the world with salvation rests on him, and he has lived a lie carrying this awesome responsibility many years. He spent all night pleading and praying to God for forgiveness and deliverance, because he had to face death sentence for his sins. He wrestled with an Angel and said he will not let him go until he received a blessing. God heard his plea and gave him deliverance, forgave him and even changed his name to Israel, no longer Jacob, the cunning one.
Without God’s forgiveness, Jacob and his family would have been slaughtered, but God changed the impossible situation and gave him favor. When he finally met Esau, he forgave him and allowed him to pass.
Esther In the Times of the Jewish Exile: Esther 1-10
In the times of the Jewish Exile- 587 to 538 BCE: modern secular dating: a turbulent and precarious time in Jewish history: they were living under king Ahasuerus of Persia. In a twist of fate, Esther, a beautiful young Jewish girl, was brought into the throne of Persia. The king had put away his beautiful wife Vashti because the queen refused to show her beauty to the king’s guests. She was said to be very beautiful and fair to look upon.
Esther’s Uncle Mordecai who groomed Esther and raised her up was also a gate keeper in the king’s court. But Haman was the chief of the princes in the king's court and wanted Mordecai to bow to him. Mordecai being Jewish who doesn’t believe in bowing to any human except God refused to do that. Out of pride, jealousy and anger, Haman plotted to kill all the Jews in Persia. He lied to the king about Mordecai and Jewish people scattered all over the kingdom of Ahasuerus to be destroyed, because they refused to obey the king’s laws. The king sealed the plot with his signet, not knowing Haman was lying. So the fate of the Jews was sealed and condemned for death- every Jew living in Persia.
Mordecai hears the plot, comes to Queen Esther to intervene and do something to stop the plot by telling the king. She can’t because there is a law in the land that you can’t go to the king even if you are the wife unless you are called or summoned to him. Mordecai warns Queen Esther with these words:
“Think not with thyself thou shalt escape in the king’s house more than the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall thy enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews another place, but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed; and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom as such a time as this.”
Esther 4: 13&14
Esther accepts the challenge, surrenders her life to save her people:
“If perish I perish.” Esther 4:16
Esther declares a three day fast before she went in to talk to the king. After the fast, she went to the king. The Lord changed the kings’ mind and gave Esther favor. The law that could have killed her and the Jewish people was reversed and the Lord gave queen Esther compassion before the king. When the king saw Esther, he said this to her:
“What will thou, Queen Esther? and what is thy request? It shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom.” Esther 5:3
God had completely changed the huge problem through the power of prayer. The king then discovered the plot and lies of Haman and his family were destroyed instead of the Jewish people. A law unfavorable to Esther earned her God’s grace and mercy, and Jewish people under death sentence were miraculously delivered. That is the power of prayer.
Peter’s Deliverance From Prison: Acts 12
In the times of King Herod Agrippa, one of the kings who ruled Rome between 10 BCE- CE 44, the Church was under heavy persecution, and the word of God was spreading all over the world. James, the brother of John, one of the apostles was killed by King Herod Agrippa; and he put Peter in prison to be executed the following day. It was a real hard time and suffering for the new Church; very uncertain and turbulent. Stephen was stoned to death. Peter was in prison waiting to die. You can imagine him sleeping and hand cuffed, breathing his last breath. But the Church was praying for miraculous deliverance for Peter.
While Peter slept, a heavenly light shone in his room and an angel of the Lord touched him, woke him up and told him to put his shoes quickly: and the angel broke the chains. The angel led him out the first gate, the second gate and lastly the heavy, big and iron gate. Peter saw himself out of the dungeon and on the street. He thought he was having a vision. Then it dawned on Him God has sent an angel to deliver him:
“Now I know the Lord has sent his angel and hath delivered me from the hand of Herod, and all the expectations of the people of the Jews.”
Then Peter went straight to the house of the mother of John, who was surnamed Mark where the Church was praying for him. He knocked at the door and Rhoda saw him and ran and told the disciples Peter was at the door. They told her to shut her mouth up. How can that be? Peter was in prison they told her waiting to be killed. But Peter was standing at the door to be let in. It was true, and God had delivered Peter because the Church was praying. They were shocked to see Peter and his narration of his miraculous escape. The following day, King Agrippa‘ s staff were in uproar- where was Peter? This was awesome, divine and miraculous escape from prison. Each time I read this story, I am moved by the mighty, power and glory of God.
That is what God does when the Church prays; when individuals pray; when we pray collectively. The God who delivered Jacob from his sin; delivered the hopeless situation of sealed Jewish death sentence and Peter is still the same God yesterday, today and forever; He does not change and will never change.” He wants us to pray for our needs; to pray so He will deliver us from whatever needs we have. He is righteous and compassionate. We don’t have to live in fear, restlessness and alienation because we have problems, but can always pray and take the problem to God.
The only thing that hinders prayer is sin. We saw it in Jacob as his sins committed many years came to hunt him: but when he confessed and asked God for forgiveness; he was fully restored, healed and forgiven. Come to God, confess your sin, ask Him to come into your life, and that you accept He died for your sins, and you will be forgiven. Then you can lift up holy hands in prayer. Only sin blocks our prayers. But when we pray, God gives miraculous deliverances.
A song writer says:
“What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and grieves to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
O what peace we often forfeit
O what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in Prayer
Have we trials and temptation?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Can we find a friend so faithful?
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus know s our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer”