God Smuggler’s Take on Hopeful Prayer.
One of my good friends who’s involved in ministry like me is Brother Andrew. Brother Andrew is called God’s smuggler. He’s famous around the world and he wrote a very important book that affected me called And God Changed His Mind. That title got me right away, And God Changed His Mind. He tells a story of listening to two women discussing hostages being held for ransom in the Middle East. One lady said, “Well, I feel sorry for the terrorist. This is God’s problem, not ours. He’s already decided how these stories are going to turn out.” The other lady smiled, patted her arm, and said, “But we know that God has his reasons for allowing these things because we can be sure that nothing happens outside of the will of God.”
I don’t know if that statement negatively affects you when you read it, but it troubles me. When I first read it, I thought the same as Brother Andrew who wrote: “That’s heresy! I felt indignation rising within me. I couldn’t believe these ladies were saying things that were so foreign. You’re not helpless! God has given you the power to change the situation. Now, why don’t you do it? Why don’t you use that power? Why don’t you just pray?”
Brother Andrew’s thoughts have stayed with me through the year. I believe Christians don’t pray often and they use God’s sovereignty as their excuse. “Nothing will happen outside of what God wants,” they believe. But friends, Abraham proved that thinking wrong. When Abraham was concerned about a Lot and his family living in Sodom, Abraham pray about it. He said, “God, if there are 50 righteous in Sodom, would you change your judgment?” And the Lord said, “All right, for 50 I’ll do it.” Then Abraham went on and said, “Well, how about 40?” And God said okay. “How about 30? 20?” They went down to 10, and you know what’s amazing is that God didn’t stop moving the number, Abraham did. Abraham stopped praying and God destroyed Sodom because there weren’t 10 righteous people in the entire city.
Prayer is biblical. We pray because we have hope in god. We have to have hope in prayer, the kind of hope that believes God will answer even before we pray. Therefore, when we pray, we are to expect God to make the difference. When we ask God to change circumstances, like COVID-19, by faith we will see him move because we have hope that he is listening.