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Just dropping by ... Flooding the gates of heaven with our prayers

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairyman Published on 24 August 2017

Among the masses, prayer has become a thing to post on Facebook, a thing for only church-goers and religious fanatics, and seldom a thing to change the course of one’s life. Jesus meant it when he said, “Ask and ye shall receive,” but for many it is a matter of, “I don’t know how to ask.”

Recently, I read a book by Ryan Curtis, Faith Through the Darkness, about a single mother who weathers the trials of faith with her children. Her youngest son watches his brother get run over by a tractor. Both children have trials of a different kind, but both devastating and heart-rending.

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She spends many weeks in the murky waters of uncertainty with only God and her friends for comfort. At one point, the mother realizes she is not traveling though the darkness alone. Many others are praying for her and her children, and she says, “We are flooding the gates of heaven with our prayers.”

Prayer makes a difference.

Anna Reed relates one of the most vivid stories of General Washington’s spiritual life that occurred when the general and his troops were in winter quarters in Valley Forge ...

The inhabitants of the surrounding country, knowing this sad state of the army, were very uneasy; one of them left his home one day, and as he was passing thoughtfully the edge of a wood near the hut-camp, he heard low sounds of a voice.

He stopped to listen, and looking between the trunks of the large trees, he saw Washington engaged in prayer. He passed quietly on, that he might not disturb him; and, on returning home, told this family he knew the Americans would succeed, for their leader did not trust in his own strength, but sought aid from the hearer of prayer, who promised in his word, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”

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—Dr. Stephen Flick, George Washingtons prayer at Valley Forge

I am certain that George Washington was not the only one who “flooded the gates of heaven with prayers” during the Revolutionary War. Bedraggled, starving soldiers and their families prayed with the fire of desire that would rival Elijah’s prayer as he faced the priests of Baal.

Their prayers were prayers mingled with causative faith. They knew God would answer and He did. The Revolutionary War was won, and a nation was built on the principles of freedom, giving man the power to govern and take responsibility for his/her life and circumstances. Make no mistake; prayer was the power that changed the course of history.

Abraham Lincoln said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for that day.” On April 30, 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed a “day of national humiliation and prayer for the United States of America.”

He was keenly aware that in the midst of the Civil War, there was no other place else to turn. Lincoln did not pray alone. Millions of hurting Americans flooded the gates of heaven with prayer. Miracles happened, and the war came to an end, bringing enemies together under one flag once more.

Miracles in answer to prayers flooding the gates of heaven were not confined to early American history. President Roosevelt implored the nation to pray for victory on D-Day. His prayer was written and distributed to the troops and read over the radio. Americans everywhere bowed the knee and implored Almighty God for victory:

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And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer.

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest – until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home – fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them – help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength too – strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moments – let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace – a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen.

—President Franklin D. Roosevelt, June 6, 1944

In my day, I have seen the miracles of God drench the dry and thirsty land with the blessings of rain, when rain was not in the forecast. I have seen men and women brought back to health after the ravages of cancer and accidents. I have seen doors open where there seemed to be no key. God still answers the prayers of those who flood heaven’s gate with their faith-filled pleas. He is a loving Father who takes notice of our plight, but we must show our faith to open the doors of heaven.

Our nation is in crisis. We are not in a war as Washington, Lincoln or Roosevelt, but we are in a crisis of changing values and morals. We are facing the demise of the traditional family and the unraveling of the Constitution that has kept us free for centuries. We are in a crisis of religious freedom and the sacred rights of speech and assembly. We need to flood the gates of heaven with our prayers daily.

It is not enough for one person to pray, though it makes a difference. It takes a nation turning to God in mighty prayer and fasting. It takes the prayers of men, women and children from every walk of life praying for the same thing to change the course of a nation bent on destruction. It takes forsaking the paths that lead away from God.

It takes individuals changing their focus and making God the center of our thoughts and decisions. That shows causative faith, and that kind of faith opens the gates to God’s miracles, as it did for the mother who walked through the darkness with her children in the novel by Ryan Curtis.  end mark

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