Does Prayer Make a Difference?
By John Snyder - CPC Mission Partner with Sower's Field (Switzerland)
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
It began as a small gathering in Leipzig to pray for a peaceful resolution to the Cold War, respect for human rights, and an end to the Iron Curtain that separated millions of families in East and West Germany.
On September 20, 1982, Pastor Christian Führer organized "prayers for peace" on Monday nights. Often less than a dozen believers gathered faithfully in Nikolaikirche (Nicholas Church) each week, braving to pray under the watchful eye and suspicion of the "Stasi," the Secret Police. It was a risk, but against all odds, they stayed the course year after year.
The turnout of believers wasn't impressive, but the faithfulness of those who showed up to pray every Monday night for seven years inspires us today. They prayed for God to deliver them, saying no to evil and trusting in his time and sovereign power.
Then seven years later, the impossible happened.
On October 9, 1989, approximately 8,000 people crammed into Nicholas Church—and more waited outside. After the worship service, defying the Stasi and risking their lives as shadowy figures watched with guns from the rooftops, Pastor Führer led the worshipers out of the church and joined the crowd of protestors, holding candles in their hands. They marched past the Stasi headquarters and joined 70,000 to 100,000 people peacefully demonstrating in Augustusplatz at the eastern end of the city center—the largest impromptu demonstration in Eastern Germany in the largest square in Leipzig.
People began to sit up and take notice.
The Monday prayer vigils continued, and by October 23, 1989, about 320,000 people joined the protest in Leipzig. These protests were replicated in other parts of the country (and neighboring countries). On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down.
And the rest, as they say, is history—prayer history.
As the Gospel light is dimming and almost extinguished in many countries, let us look to what God has done and continues to do through prayer. Prayer moves mountains, breaks Satan's hold on hearts, and drives people to seek the One True God. We've experienced the power of Jesus' light shining vibrantly in dark places and bringing hope to those in despair.
Let us keep our eyes on Jesus, pray for more laborers to hear his call, and ask him how we can be a part of his plan. What can each of us do to make a difference for his Kingdom? What has happened so many times in history can happen again. It's never too late for fervent prayer to change things in our darkening world. We serve a sovereign God whose power extends over every city, nation, earth, universe, and every detail of our lives.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
My prayer for today:
Father in heaven, thank you for the long record of your incomparable power exerted over the world's nations to heal, rescue, and transform. We call upon you to send more laborers into the field to contend for the faith and restore the freedoms it has brought into the world. Grant us the knowledge of your plan for this generation and time as we commit ourselves to bold and faithful action for your glory and Jesus' sake, in whose name we pray. Amen.