‘Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence ‘“ As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil ‘“ To make your name known to your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at your presence!’ Isaiah 64:1-2
Everything has been on the line for us. The time God’s people need to take critical action is now. If He intends to deliver us, the plan will be accomplished through prayer and fasting. However, we must also be realistic about it. Prayer is not a magical act to deliver us from trouble. Even with prayer, we may get sick, we may lose our life and the life of a loved one. Our death, however, does not negate the power of prayer. Prayer equips us to rest in the sovereign will of God.
It is easy to use prayer as a means of expressing our wish list for personal comfort and safety. Whenever stresses press in upon me and those I love, I go to prayer and beg for deliverance. If a trial continues, I shouldn’t erroneously conclude that prayer doesn’t work. I might be tempted to think that that God doesn’t care and this so-called perfect Father fails His children in critical times. Not true.
Prayer mobilizes God to act according to His sovereign plan for my life. Satan is always on the loose, driven to inflict death and destruction. If his war against us is ill-timed, prayer cripples the best of his strategies and renders him impotent, just as it did when the death sentence of the Jews in Susa was lifted. However, I must not be childish in my expectations. I am told that I will also share in the sufferings of Jesus. Most of the prophets and Jesus’ disciples were murdered and I need only read the first chapter of the Fox’s Book of Martyrs to clear up unrealistic expectations. If you and I perish, as Esther believed she might, and as Peter knew he would because of Jesus’ prophetic words over him, we need prayer to give us grace and peace. But if you and I are to be delivered, we need prayer to bring about the miracle.
My prayer life is characterized by two requests. “Deliver me if that is in your plan, Lord. Or, give me grace in the fire.”
You are not my fairy god-father. No matter what I experience at Your hand, Your plan for me and for Your people, at this time in history, was conceived in love and wisdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.