If God responded supernaturally to Moses, Solomon and Elijah, we can expect Him to respond supernaturally to us. I have often said, "The only thing unchangeable in this world is the God who said, 'I am the Lord; I do not change' (Mal. 3:6)." Everything else is subject to change, especially when God's people pray in faith and the Almighty responds.
Don't minimize yourself. Elijah was a man who faced temptations and human frailties like the rest of us, but he walked in the supernatural. In fact, God was so appreciative of Elijah that when Elijah finished his time in this world, God carried him supernaturally to heaven in a chariot of fire.
How did he become such a history maker and world changer? The biblical explanation is, "He prayed" (James 5:17). Other people in the past have prayed with such power that the world was changed forever, including the following intercessors.
Abel—Drawing Heaven to Earth
After the insurrection in Eden, spiritual darkness settled on the world like a thick, impenetrable fog—that is, until Abel, attempting to offer God true worship, presented a lamb without blemish as a burnt offering to God on an altar.
As far as we know, his was a wordless prayer, yet that sacrificed animal, consumed with fire, was a prophetic statement representing Abel's desire to present his life as a sacrifice to God and to be consumed with on-fire devotion to Him. The Most High honored his faith, and "Abel ... was approved as righteous, with God testifying concerning his gifts" (Heb. 11:4).
By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain offered. Through this, he still speaks through his faith, though he is dead.
What was this "witness"? We don't know for sure, but supernatural fire quite possibly fell from heaven and consumed Abel's sacrifice, since that happened later when God found a sacrifice acceptable (1 Kings 18:38; 2 Chr. 7:1; Lev. 9:24). Whatever took place, there must have been shrieks of terror among the evil principalities that thought they had erected an impassable barrier of satanic control in this fallen world. But God responded to Abel's prayer, the spiritual wall was breached, and a stream of blessing began flowing downward.
Like a barely burning ember coming back to life, renewed hope started glowing in this world from that moment forward. Things may look impossible for you now, but don't you think they looked even more impossible then? Yet one praying person made the difference.
Noah—Lifting a Curse
After the flood was over, Noah's family and all the animals exited the ark. Genesis 8:20-21 says, "Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. The Lord smelled a soothing aroma; and the Lord said in His heart, 'I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the inclination of man's heart is evil from his youth, nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.'"
Another wordless prayer had profound global impact. It seems that up until that time, it was almost impossible to grow any kind of substantial crop. Gripped with a suffocating curse, the ground primarily brought forth "thorns and thistles" (Gen. 3:18). Once again, though, a single individual touched the heart of God with his worship, and this time, a debilitating curse was lifted from nature.
Prior to the flood, there had been only a mist rising up from the ground (Gen. 2:5-6). From that point forward, however, nourishing rain fell from above. After He saw Noah's reverential act, consecrating the new world, and He "smelled" the "soothing aroma" of passionate praise, the Most High God pledged: "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease" (Gen. 8:22).
Mary, Jesus' Mother—Releasing God's Will
The most monumental event ever to happen was the incarnation of the Son of God. Each major stage of His journey through time was activated by intercession. His first coming took place because many thousands of Jews had prayed for centuries that the Messiah would come.
When the angel Gabriel announced that the ordained time had arrived, a humble Jewish girl prayerfully confessed: "I am the servant of the Lord. May it be unto me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).
That was a prayerful outburst, not only toward Gabriel but toward God Himself. The will of the Almighty was released, and nine months later, God became flesh, born of a virgin in a manger in Bethlehem.
Jesus' Disciples—Interceding for Salvation
Approximately a third of a century later, at Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, His disciples jubilantly heralded the coming of the King of kings to the city of God, exclaiming, "Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' Hosanna in the highest!" (Matt. 21:9).
What a moment for a unique worship word to surface in the Bible: Hosanna. You won't find it anywhere else, except in its original form in the Hebrew language. You see, the New Testament word "Hosanna" actually evolved from a fusion of the traditional Hebrew praise words hoshiah na, which are a prayerful plea meaning, "Save now, I beseech You" (translated this way in Psalm 118:25 of the King James Version). The Jewish worshippers of that day understood this was a prophetic plea for the Messiah to set up His reign.
Even though "Hosanna" is a prayerful request, strangely, it is never spoken in a pleading tone of voice, as a petition. Instead, it is normally an ecstatic shout of praise. When I was first confronted with this paradox, I couldn't quite wrap my mind around it. So I brought up the subject to a dear Messianic Jewish friend, and he explained, "Oh, yes, hoshiah na is a request, but it is made in full expectation of performance. It is similar to a wife asking her husband, 'You will take out the garbage, won't you?' She may be 'asking,' but she has no doubt that her spouse will comply with her wishes and the action will take place."
And so it is with the beautiful praise word "Hosanna." Technically, it is an appeal, but it is spoken with an assurance of divine response. Though the strict translation is, "Save us, we beseech You," the implied meaning is: "Lord, we fully believe You will save us and so we praise God for our deliverance in advance!"
When worshippers tag the phrase "in the highest" after the word Hosanna, it becomes an even more powerful proclamation: "Lord, I believe You are going to save me in every area of my being to the highest degree possible for God!" How intense is that?
The phrase "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" was also understood to be a prophecy of the Messiah—a declaration that He would represent the Father and be filled with His authority. The crowd of disciples waving palm fronds, casting their garments in the road and shouting these words had no idea how profoundly their prayers would be answered in the next few days.
Jesus—Praying for Spiritual Transformation
After Jesus ascended to heaven, He sent back the power of the Holy Spirit to His disciples on the Day of Pentecost. Even this grand infilling was the result of intercession—by the greatest intercessor of all, the Son of God Himself. Right before He collapsed in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, He uttered the most powerful and pivotal petition ever to ascend to the Father of creation (John 17:1-26).
How mightily the great High Priest stood in the gap for the disciples, who would be waiting for the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room just over 50 days later! How powerfully that prayer has lingered ever since, hovering over the world in full potency for two millennia, released into manifestation each time a new convert receives the Lord Jesus into his heart. Here are the main things for which Jesus prayed:
- That believers would receive the gift of eternal life
- That we would actually know God and receive the revelation of His name
- That we would receive and understand the Word of God
- That we would be kept from the evil one
- That we would be sanctified (cleansed from the defilement of sin and consecrated to God)
- That we would be accepted into the same oneness with the Father that Jesus enjoyed
- That we would be brought to perfection
- That the love of the Father would abide within us
- That the Son of God would live within us
What an awe-inspiring event it was when that first group of believers received the fruit of this intercession. The Holy Spirit came into the upper room like "a mighty rushing wind," and divided "tongues as of fire" hovered over them (Acts 2:2-3). Surely that "wind" was the very breath of God breathing into His people the restoration of what Adam had lost in the garden.
The supernatural transformation forecast in this prayer has been only partially implemented but will be brought to complete fulfillment in the not-so-distant future when the "dead in Christ" rise and "we who are alive and remain" are caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air at His Second Coming (1 Thess. 4:16-17). We will then be made utterly perfect, changed and glorified in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when the King of kings comes "in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him" (Matt. 25:31). We will then be so filled with His magnificence that we will shine "as the sun in the kingdom" of our Father (Matt. 13:43).
The Church—Praying for the King's Return
When the Lord returns, the prayer Jesus told His followers to pray will be finally gloriously fulfilled: "Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:9-10).
So you see, you are already doing it—you and around 2 billion other believers currently in this world. Every time you petition God with the inspired words, "Your kingdom come; Your will be done," you are praying a prayer that will inevitably change the world forever. Every time you plead, "Father, deliver us from evil," God's answer extends far beyond your own personal life to ultimately encircle the entire globe with His deliverance power.
Maybe you thought that kind of prayer power was reserved for the recognized champions of the faith, but God loves to use common people to accomplish uncommon things.
Yes, of all the prayerful utterances that have been uttered in this world, this "powerful prayer" really will produce "supernatural results." And it will absolutely be answered—gloriously and permanently—in a moment.
After many centuries of petitions ascending to heaven, the answer will come in one blinding flash of power. Your prayers and the prayers of the rest of the body of Christ, like burning incense swirling around the very throne of the Almighty, will soon attract an incomparable response from on high (Rev. 8:1-6).
When that happens, Jesus will descend in flaming fire, accompanied by all His holy angels. Every eye will see Him, the dead in Christ will rise, living believers will be translated, the kingdom will fully come to earth, and the world will finally be changed forever.
Anything can happen when God's people pray. Don't ever give up. Keep seeking His face. Supernatural results are awaiting.
Mike Shreve has been involved in full-time ministry since 1971. His passion is to see authentic New Testament Christianity, the release of God's glory and the manifestation of His gifts. He and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Cleveland, Tennessee, with their two children.
In Powerful Prayers for Supernatural Results: How to Pray as Moses, Elijah, Hannah, and Other Biblical Heroes Did (Charisma House), Mike Shreve teaches you how to experience life-changing breakthrough when you pray. Find this book at amazon.com, christianbook.com or anywhere Christian books are sold.
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