I hate to admit it, but I sometimes have a hard time believing that the words I say to God in the privacy of my prayer closet can effect the rise and fall of governments and the course of history. I choose to believe intercessory prayer has that kind of power because the Bible says it does and history has shown it to be true, but it is not easy. So often my prayers feel small and irrelevant, more like an exercise in futility than a world shaping joint venture with God. Reminding myself that when you fill a pond with rocks the first one hundred loads disappear beneath the surface of the water without leaving a trace helps some, but I still struggle. What helps even more is to review what has happened in the last twenty years.
In the 1970’s a minister “prophesied” that the Soviet Union would collapse and that following its collapse, there would be a great spiritual awaking in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet block countries. I managed not to snicker when I heard about his prophecy, but just barely. I told someone that it was a good thing we didn’t stone false prophets or that man would surely be put to death.
As far as I was concerned there was no way his prophecy was going to come true. The Soviet Union was a super power, an atheistic government that persecuted Christians and the possibility of its demise was inconceivable to me. I should have reread Daniel, especially that part about a rock not made by human hands. Daniel put it like this: “This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands...the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:45, 44).
At this point, I pause in my writing to glance at the wall to my left. Prominently displayed among my memorabilia is a piece of the Berlin Wall, or perhaps I should say what used to be the Berlin Wall, for on November 9, 1989 that wall came down. Following that historic moment, Communist governments begin to fall in rapid succession. Finally the Soviet Union itself collapsed in August 1991.
What neither military might nor the threat of nuclear war could do, God did! Utilizing the intercessory prayers of politically powerless believers, He smashed the iron curtain and broke the strangle hold of the Communists. There followed a spiritual awaking in the former Soviet Union of nearly unprecedented magnitude. Old churches were reopened, new churches were planted, and Bibles were freely distributed in schools and hospitals. High ranking government officials made public confessions of their new faith in Christ. God’s kingdom was coming!
When we give ourselves to intercessory prayer we join God in doing battle against principalities and powers, rulers of this world’s darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12). The evil forces arrayed against us utilize many disguises, sometimes even masquerading as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:14). Some of their more effective strategies include the clever manipulation of words. They highjack noble concepts like tolerance, diversity, and inclusiveness, twisting them to their own ends; using them to promote an agenda based on values that are blatantly unscriptural.
No matter how offensive this is to us, we must always distinguish between these evil spiritual forces and those they have taken captive, those who’s minds and hearts have been blinded (see 2 Tim. 2:26), those who have become their unwitting tools. The unscriptural philosophies that are undermining the foundations of our Judeo Christian ethics are evil enemies to be sure, but the people who have been deceived by them are not our enemies. They are our mission and we are called to love them. That’s not always easy but it absolutely mandatory! And we must always be motivated by love not anger, by faith not fear.
“And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
No matter how grim the world situation looks at this present time we can rest in the certain knowledge that the Kingdom of God will ultimately triumph. Good will overcome evil. Truth will triumph. Righteousness will displace unrighteousness and love will conquer all.
This is Richard Exley straight from the heart.
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