Crises are inherent to the human experience. How we respond determines whether we overcome them or succumb to them. At the time of writing, the world is in the throes of a global crisis of unprecedented proportions, the COVID 19 plague. Many people have lost heart. Many are despondent and are fearful of what is going to happen after this. Initially, some were unaware of the gravity of the situation, they were glib and flippant in the early days of the lockdown but soon realised the world was in trouble. Many were in denial and got bogged down in conspiracy theories galore. Yet none of these responses is appropriate.
How do we deal with this, how do we overcome this? God wants the lives of His people to testify to His faithfulness as Father and Friend. He has given us tools that will empower us to live exceedingly mighty and victorious lives. Consequently, children of God can overcome any crisis. First, as previously examined, with the tool of faith and secondly, with the tool of prayer, a mighty weapon indeed. Let’s dive into that.
A few general thoughts about prayer
- We pray and keep praying because we glean from God’s Word the understanding that prayer is a prerequisite for divine intervention.
- It is also an expression of our desire for intimacy with God.
- Furthermore, prayer, and many may never have seen it in this fashion, is a demonstration of God’s commitment to our well being. This is worth mulling over. In essence, the reason God wants us to pray is because he wants to help us. First, He knows that without fellowship with him, we dry up. And, He knows that He cannot intervene on our behalf unless we present our requests to Him. Man must pray for God to answer.
A few principles of prayer
Here a few quick principles that will empower us to step into a dimension of prayer that will make us literally invincible in this climate. This spiritual action of prayer must, of course, be accompanied with natural and reasonable steps of protection and abiding by the natural rules of hygiene in the case of Covid-19 but the same applies to all crisis situations.
Prayer is a requirement
1 1 Timothy 2:8 (HCSB) 8 Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument..
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (HCSB) 17 Pray constantly.
Not as a ritual or a mere act of obedience but in expectation of change, as agents of change.
Prayer is not suggested, it is commanded. It is essential for our well being, for God to be able to help us overcome. Prayer is not proof of growth but the instrument of growth; understanding that will release many to pray. And as said earlier, prayer is a prerequisite for divine intervention. So we cry out to the Lord. We have been praying long and hard over the current crisis, holding almost daily online prayer meetings. Don’t forget to download your free copy of the eBook ‘How to stand and pray against the pandemic’. So we pray, we cry out to the Lord.
- Father, intervene, Father move, Father, deliver; deliver the nations from this scourge of the coronavirus. Deliver people from fear.
- We break the power of the spirit of fear. May people be set free.
- Father, we ask you to intervene against the waves of suicide and to allay fears concerning the future.
- Father, as you destroyed the armies of Sennacherib, reveal your mighty arm. Send your angel to put an end to the scourge that is upon the face of the earth.
- And if there be anyone benefitting from this situation, let your vengeance come upon them. Avenge the thousands of people who have lost their lives.
- Father, we ask you that you console these families that are weeping and mourning right now. We ask you to intervene in favour of the orphaned and the widowed.
- We cry out to you that the nations be delivered from this plague. Let this wretched virus dry up from the roots in the name of Jesus. We obliterate it, we destroy its power and its impact upon our generation in the name of Jesus.
- Oh God, we cry out to you. Touch the leaders, give them wisdom. Give them understanding. You yourself have said that a man who counts on his own understanding, is a fool. So touch them, give them wisdom because they are lost. They do not know what to do but we cry out to you.
- And even as Jehoshaphat cried out to you in the face of the enemy armies, he said, will You not judge them? He said, we, we do not know what to do, our eyes are on you. We cry out to you, Lord; we do not know what to do. Our eyes are on You.
- Father, put an end to this wretched disruption of your plan for humanity in the name of Jesus.
Man must pray for God to answer. And because God wants to answer and God wants to bless, He commands us to pray. Obeying that command will eject stuff out of your life that is weighing you down and perpetuating crisis situations. To pray is not to dutifully follow a meaningless religious ritual imposed by God, it is to position ourselves for divine rescue. God wants to help.
The second principle of prayer is that it is effective.
Prayer is effective
James 5:13-16 (HCSB)
13 Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.
This passage leaves us in no doubt about the effectiveness of prayer. This is worth emphasizing since many people pray out of resignation not an expectation of good.
First, the examples given.
The apostle James clearly states that anyone who is suffering should pray. In other words, the solution that will alleviate their suffering is prayer. Then anyone who was sick should adopt the same solution, prayer. He would be anointed with oil and prayed over. The apostle gives no room for uncertainty. He says the prayer of faith will save the sick person; the certainty is that the prayer will be effective. Sickness, crisis, whatever, prayer will get you out.
As you pray your way through this crisis, believe that God hears and let Him fill you with peace and rest. If you need to, repent of sin. There is forgiveness, as the text says. Sin will not be a hindrance to divine intervention if it is renounced.
Secondly, the principle.
And the principle is, that the prayer of a righteous person is extremely powerful. It achieves the desired effect. A righteous person is a person who has been declared righteous because of the blood of Jesus. That fact turns him into a potential powerhouse of prayer, all prayer, not only physical healing prayer.
So not praying is missing the opportunity to exercise influence for God. For instance, if the elders had found other occupation at this time and refused to go and pray for the sick person, that person would probably have succumbed to the illness and gone the way of the grave. Unless they were to apply any of the other means that the Lord has given, like their own believing prayer.
So there are situations that persist in our lives, our nations and in the world, because we are not praying. Prayer is effective. It will get you out of any crisis. Prayerlessness is counterproductive. It causes and perpetuates problems that need not persist. It deprives God of one of the means he uses to establish his will in the earth while depriving you of the glorious future that could be yours. You have not because you ask not. Isn’t that powerful?
Not praying facilitates demonic blockage, leaves our loved ones stranded and is dangerous for our own lives. Many are endangering themselves by not praying. They live dangerously waiting for things to go wrong before calling on the Lord. Even in crisis, many wait till every desperate measure has failed before turning to God. Begin to pray now in this period of crisis. Beloved, pray, pray, pray, pray, double, triple, quadruple your prayer time.
God has spectacular things that He wants to pour into your spirit. He has amazing things that he wants to accomplish in you, during and after the crisis. Decide that you are going to spend time with Him and listen to Him lay out His plans.
We can testify in our ministry to God’s plans working out marvellously. We never planned to pray as much as we did but we followed His plans. The outcome has been continuing testimonies of changed lives, people have walked through the crisis with strength and peace imparted by God in those meetings. Many started terrified and confused but as they prayed with us, restoration came. Somebody called me the other day and she said ‘I have been completely transformed. I’m back on the right track.’ She just went on and on and on about what God had done for her through the times of prayer.
- If you really believed that God would change things, you would pray
(You can watch the corresponding video below)
Your prayer is effective
Not only is prayer effective, but your prayer is effective. Everyone must believe that their prayer is effective to be able to pray their way out of a crisis. That’s why the Word of God takes great pains to tell us that Elijah was no different from us and he held up and released the rain through his praying. The implication is that if he could do that through prayer, you can also have vibrant results to your praying.
James 5:17-18 (HCSB) 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours; yet he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its fruit..
1 John 5:14-15 (HCSB)
14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.
This is a vital point to keep in mind. Hezekiah’s life was extended through his praying, Hannah overcame the crisis of childlessness and reproach through her praying. She was an ordinary person with a painful problem and God heard her. Pray then, as He heard Elijah, He hears Philip and Jimmy and Cora and Gbemi. Think what you can achieve in prayer, and continue to pray, never stop praying, pray and pray and pray and pray, pray, pray, pray, pray, and you will overcome every crisis of your life.