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How Important Are We?

As the world gets darker and human efforts fail, many are turning to prayer. Does God need our prayers in order to act?

The people who are part of the Arctic Revival in our cover story say that it happened because of prayer. They tell of people who cried out to God because of the moral and spiritual decay that literally was sucking the life out of their communities. It was a vicious cycle of multiple problems that fed on their young, that shattered marriages, ravaged bodies, and turned God-given appetites into addictions. When nothing else was working—when social workers, doctors, politicians and even clergy were accepting the statistics of failure—people cried out to God, and He acted.

In February '99, in a service reminiscent of Pentecost, a small group of believers experienced an unusual move of God that has spread to other Arctic communities. It began when a loud sound like a mighty wind filled the room and people began to shake. In a mighty manifestation of the Holy Spirit, God touched a small, isolated church and people became spiritually alive.

This is just one of many stories over the last decade about amazing changes that have taken place in churches and cities—as a result of people praying. Did God need their prayers in order to act?

We forget how powerful it is for non-believers to experience being prayed for …

Since September 11 prayer is no longer an unusual topic for discussion. As the world gets darker, many are searching for answers. We've heard news reporters speaking openly about prayers for families and nations. Even CNN has broadcast testimonies of answered prayer in the midst of terrorist attacks. Who would have thought six months ago that so many Canadians would have expressed concern over the absence of prayer in public memorials? Prayer has gone public and this is good news for Christians.

Yet we often forget the longing others have for the opportunity to pray with us. We forget how powerful it is for non-believers to experience being prayed for and to hear another speak to God in their presence. This can, in itself, be the beginning of a fresh understanding of God.

… non-believers who had always resisted a religious discussion welcomed prayer.

Several years ago I was challenged to pray immediately whenever a person asked me for prayer. I was startled at how often Christians mentioned a need for prayer, but were surprised when I answered, "Let's pray together now." On the other hand non-believers who had always resisted a religious discussion welcomed prayer. The other interesting outcome was an increase in people telling me that God answers. Previously I received few such reports.

How important are we to God's actions? Jesus told us to keep asking. God seems to cherish our free will so much that He waits for an opportunity to act through our prayers, just as He waits for permission to first come into our lives as a living Saviour. Perhaps God does this for our own sake—so that we can experience the joy of partnering with God.

Gail Reid is managing editor of Faith Today and director of communications for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

Faith Today, Jan/Feb 2002,




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