The Results of Fervent Prayer
A friend of mine was going through a very difficult time in her life. Her marriage was being destroyed by her husband's unfaithfulness. My heart hurt for her, and I prayed for her continually for the next few days. I was connected to God in prayer, striving in my spirit to lift her up. It was as if the Holy Spirit had taken me over, and in the background, He was praying through me. It's hard to explain it unless it's happened to you, but I know lots of people who have done this. Even at night, I felt that the Spirit was still praying for her.
One morning my kids were all crying and hitting each other. I got mad. I stopped praying. I was ruled by the flesh for an hour, and I was fed up with them and yelled for them to behave. After breakfast, the phone rang. The friend that I had been praying for said that a cloud of despair descended on her an hour ago. I was shocked. I looked at the clock. I was too ashamed to tell her I stopped praying for her an hour ago.
Can that really happen? I asked myself after I hung up the phone. Can my fervent prayer actually uphold someone like that? I was shocked at the power of Christ though me. Apparently prayer has power, especially if it is fervent. (James 5:16) It is a spiritual reality.
What are other results of prayer? There was a woman from my church who hurt me deeply, even though she was not aware of it. I prayed for her every day, for specific ways that God would bless her. After two years of praying fervently for her, God gave me a deep love for her. Prayer helps us to love people who have hurt us. More than that, God changed her and gave her a love for me, too. To this day, every time I see her, I know that our genuine friendship is a miracle.
Another time I was praying, and while I was still praying, I knew that God had answered my prayer. I had just finished putting my husband through college, and I was having a baby. I had quit my job as a teacher, and my husband didn't have a job yet; so here we were, with a new baby and neither of us with a job. I could have easily panicked and stressed out, but I prayed that my husband would find a job in Spokane, and that we would find a house there. Before I was finished speaking, I was certain that God had already completed it. It was so odd. That's never happened to me before or since. But God knew that I needed that assurance at the time. I sent Alan from Texas to Spokane, and he phoned me on the same day that we were packing boxes into the truck in Texas. He said he had gotten a job. Then he flew back, and we drove the car to Spokane. After arriving in Spokane, we bought a house the very next day! It seemed so ridiculously impossible, but I already knew that it was done. Furthermore, God provided a Christian family (they were complete strangers to us) that we could stay with until we were able to move into the house. God worked out every detail.
In a similar way, when my sister was a nurse in Haiti years ago, a woman was running down an alleyway towards my sister. The woman's baby was screaming with a high fever and was about to die. My sister prayed for the baby, and while she was still speaking, she knew that the baby was healed, so she thanked God for healing the baby. When she opened her eyes, the baby was completely fine: no fever, no screaming...completely healthy.
Impossible stuff happens when we pray. I'm serious. Prayer is powerful stuff.