The Need To Be Useful (Part 7)

Almost any Christian on this earth can pray.  There are very few circumstances that could prevent this.  And prayer is powerful!  James 5:16 tells us, “…The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  There are so many examples of the power of prayer.

In the 1800’s, in Bristol, England, a Christian man named George Mueller decided to start an orphanage for hundreds of homeless children he saw in the streets.  He did not have money to start an orphanage and did not ask for donations from anyone.  He simply relied on God and prayer.  God blessed his efforts in a mighty way.  He told amazing stories of answered prayers.  He kept a record of his prayers, and his prayer records filled more than 3000 pages.  His notes show that more than 30,000 prayers were answered.  For example, one night there was no food in the orphanage to give to the children for breakfast.  At 3:00 a.m. the next morning, a baker called him up and said, “I just can’t sleep.  I’m going down to the bakery to bake some bread.  Would it be all right for me to bring some over to you this morning?”  Another time a milk truck just happened to break down in front of  the orphanage on a day when they had no milk.  The truck driver came in and said, “This milk is all going to spoil.  Would you like some of it?”  And their need was met through prayer.  Time and time again, 30,000 times in 60 years, God answered George Mueller’s prayers. (1)

Another example of the power of prayer comes from J. Hudson Taylor, who was a missionary to China in the 1800’s.  The budget for one month for his ministry was more than the income by about 235 pounds.  He was in England at the time, and that money had to be sent to China.  But Hudson Taylor and his staff knew the power of prayer.  So they prayed, and that very evening a check arrived for 235 pounds. (2)

Yet another missionary with evidence of the power of prayer was Amy Carmichael, who created an orphanage in India in the early 1900’s.  They were building a house of worship and had used up all of their finances, but they still needed screening to keep out animals.  The cost for that screening was 260 rupees.  They relied on God to meet their needs, and sure enough, they received a check, which when translated into rupees, came to 270 rupees.  The donor of the check wrote, “Something had impelled me to send you this further small sum with the word that it was to finish something.”  (3)  Prayer is powerful.

You can be useful to God and others by praying.  Pray for other Christians in persecuted countries.  Get informed about situations in countries like Sudan, China, North Korea, Indonesia and other places where Christians are killed and tortured every day.  Your brothers and sisters in Christ need your prayer!  Who will pray for them, for their protection, for God to meet their needs, for them to reach others for Christ?  Prayer is desperately needed.  If you have a burden for persecuted Christians, perhaps God is recruiting you for that assignment.  A good source of information on persecuted Christians is The Voice of the Martyrs.  They encourage people to pray for and write to Christians imprisoned for their faith in other countries.

Pray for ministries in detail.  There are so many good ministries that are spreading the Gospel which not only need monetary help but really need prayer support.  Those ministries are being attacked by the enemy every day and need help on a spiritual basis.

Have you ever tried praying for a specific period of time?  I challenge you to try praying for a half hour.  You would be surprised at how many things you can find to pray about.  Make a list and be very specific in your talk with God.  Make it “effectual, fervent prayer.”


(2) Taylor & Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, pp. 143-44.

(3) A Chance to Die:  The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Revell, 1987), p. 293.


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