Episode 1. The Power of Your Prayer
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With the terrorism, the atrocities, the calamities going on around the world today, not to mention the trials that each one of us faces in our own lives, you could be tempted into thinking that God, …
With the crazy things, the atrocities, the calamities going on around the world today, not to mention the trials that each one of us faces in our own lives, you could be tempted into thinking that God, if He exists at all, has seriously lost the plot. Yep, you could be seriously tempted.
With the terrorism, the atrocities, the calamities going on around the world today not to mention the trials that each one of us faces in our own life, you can be tempted into thinking that God, if He exists at all, has seriously lost the plot. Yep, you could be seriously tempted.
Yeah a few people have commented to me, ‘Berni, it is a bit of a weird name for a series of messages, When The Lion Roars’. Normally you talk about stuff happening in our own lives, down to earth, real life stuff but now you’ve kind of zoomed out to look at events sweeping across the globe.’ That’s true, that’s exactly what I’ve done.
Many people are concerned, even fearful, over global events. Terrorism, which unlike the super powers slugging it out during the Cold War, can strike very close to home. The rise of religious extremism, in particular the rise and rise of Islam which seems to be impacting hitherto so-called western countries in detrimental ways.
The rise of secularism which is impacting on the religious freedom of Christians. I saw a news article just recently where two Christians in the US were fined $13,000 for refusing to host a same-sex wedding at their reception centre. Well things are certainly changing.
Things are sweeping across the globe which are scaring a lot of middle class people who have lived safely in the comfort that their freedom affords for generations. Okay there have been wars and depressions and recessions but there’s something different about what’s going on in the world today, at least in the western world. It feels more insidious, it feels more threatening than before, it’s closer to home.
A tide has turned and whereas before Christianity represented if not the default religion then certainly the default basis for the morals and rule of law. That is less and less becoming the case and people are worried and in the middle of all that Berni comes along with this crazy series of messages called When The Lion Roars.
Well I’m hoping that it ain’t quite as crazy as it appears because that title makes reference to a passage of Scripture in the Book of Revelation. The one Book of the Bible that comprehensively, beyond any shadow of any doubt, tells us exactly how all this stuff is going to end, in the end. Have a listen, Revelation chapter 5, verses 1 to 8.
Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back sealed with seven seals and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ And no one in heaven nor in earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it.
And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Don’t weep, see the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David has conquered so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals’.
Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered having seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne.
When he had taken the scroll the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the lamb each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of saints. (Revelation chapter 5: 1-8)
Anyway on it goes to describe the power and the might of Jesus as He brings history to an end as all Creation bows down to Him.
Yeah okay, it’s written in rather vivid picture language, something in our culture we’re perhaps not quite used to. But the point is that in the end Jesus wins, in fact He already has and we’re simply waiting for the end to come. And the truth be known, Jesus foretold great persecutions before the end, exactly what’s happening now.
So let me ask you, ‘Why are we surprised exactly?’ I know that may sound a bit off-handed, particularly to those suffering persecution right now and there are plenty of those people listening in today. But in the end Jesus wins, He won actually on that cross and through that empty tomb when He rose again two thousand years ago.
One of the great litmus tests for how people see the world these days is social media and as you can imagine I connect with more than a few people who would call themselves Christians on Facebook and Twitter. And I receive a lot of emails from people from the four corners of the earth.
And one of the very clear trends that I sense in all of that communication is a sense of foreboding, of fear and in some cases of desperation and a big factor in that is that people feel that they’ve lost control of global events, people feel that there’s nothing they can do. And when I say to them, ‘Well you can pray’ to many, that feels like a cop-out and my response to that is, ‘Really? Prayer a cop out?’ Yeah sure, they say, it seems like a feeble response to the terrible things going on in this world.
And so my answer to that is quite simply this, ‘If in the face of some terrible calamity, some terrible out of control force sweeping your life or indeed the globe, if in that place you are completely and utterly powerless to do anything, ANYTHING except pray then in your prayer, through your prayer, you’ve already done the single, most powerful thing that you’ll be ever able to do on this earth’. Listen to Jesus:
If you abide in me and my words abide in you ask for whatever you wish and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. (John 15:7)
Here’s the thing, when you and I pray it’s not about the eloquence of our prayer, it’s not about the size of our faith, it’s not even about how big the problem is that we’re praying into. No, it’s not about any of those things. When you and I pray – it’s about the power, the might, the love, the compassion of the God to whom we pray. It’s about the right standing that Jesus has purchased for us on that cross which is why we ask in His name. It’s about God joining hands with us through our prayer to see His will being done on this earth as it is in heaven.
I wonder how different this earth would be if you and I got really serious about that sort of prayer, I just wonder. But, but, but, I hear some people say, but, but, but, look at the persecution of Christians going on in this world today, I’ve prayed and look, it’s not working.
Almost in the very next breath after Jesus said that thing about praying this is what He said to His disciples.
If the world hates you be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belong to this world the world will love you as its own but because you do not belong to this world but I have chosen you out of this world therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master’, if they persecuted me they’ll certainly persecute you, if they kept my word they’ll keep yours also but they will do all these things to you on account of my name because they do not know him who sent me. (John 15:18-21)
Persecution is precisely what Jesus predicted would happen. Whether it’s the atrocities happening to Christians in some parts of the world or whether it’s the creeping secularism, political correctness and threat of religious extremism that’s disturbing those who are living comfortably in democratic western destinations.
It’s exactly what Jesus said would happen. It’s exactly what the Bible says would happen to usher in the end. Why are we so surprised? My friend your prayer has so much power because the God to whom you pray is a God of enormous power. And He’s a God who answers our prayers.
And remember this, in the end Jesus wins. In the meantime, He’s calling for His people to pray. And when you do, when you ask the Father for His will to be done in Jesus name you are doing the single, most powerful thing that you could possibly ever do to change the course of history.
So will you, will you pray in Jesus name?