Prayer Moves the Hand of God
If ever there was a person who was the perfect poster-child picture of arrogant, haughty, proud, and in the face of God…that was this person whom I grew up with. She considered me to be her enemy…and she went out of her way to be vindictive toward me, to do whatever she could to hurt me. She knew I was a Christian, and despised me even more for that as well.
I continued to diligently pray for her over the years. The way in which the Spirit of God led me to pray for my sister might seem kind of strange, at first glance perhaps somewhat harsh or unloving. But it was sincere, and I truly desired for her to be saved…although that seemed like an impossibility. I knew, though, that with God…all things are possible. My fervent, heartfelt prayer as I stood in the gap before the Lord on behalf of my sister was, “Lord, strip away from her all that she leans on for support, all that she counts on for support, until there is nothing left for her to turn to but to You. What good would it be if she were to go through the balance of her life with a measure of peace and comfort, or a sense of well-being…and then, in the end, lose her soul? What good would it be, Lord, even if she were to gain the whole world, but then lose her soul?”
My prayer earnestly continued over the years, seemingly with no effect. Then one morning…in the early hours of the morning well before dawn…I received a phone call from my sister. She said, “I just wanted to say good-bye.” I wondered why she would call me to tell me that…the one whom she hated, and considered to be her enemy…so I replied, “Oh…are you going on a trip?” She said, “No…I just took a whole bottle of pills.”
“Oh Lord!,” I said to myself…“Please don’t let her die!” I managed to get off the phone with her, and immediately called her husband, my brother-in-law. That he answered his cell phone at such an early hour of the morning was a miracle in itself. I quickly explained what had just taken place, and he was able to contact ER, who rushed her to the hospital.
After her recovery, my sister began calling me frequently, and I would talk to her about the God Who loved her, and about Christ Jesus. I could hardly believe what God was doing…I, whom my sister considered to be her enemy, was now her confidant…the one whom she was turning to for support! I lived in Brooklyn, and she in Connecticut… but I would visit often to spend time together, to walk the beach with her, and talk about relationship with Jesus… Who He is, and Who He desired to be for her.
Several months of this new relationship as confidant for my sister went by, and then one day…during one of our frequent telephone conversations…she asked, “You know that prayer meeting you attend on Tuesday nights at the Brooklyn Tabernacle? Do you think I can go with you next Tuesday?” After I picked myself up off the floor…I responded, “Sure! You can meet me there at the church, and we can go in together. The meeting starts at 7 PM, but you should plan to be there around 6 PM, or we probably won’t get a seat. There are four thousand people that attend these Tuesday night prayer meetings!”
I gave my sister detailed directions to the church from her home in Connecticut…at least an hour and a half trip. The following Tuesday I arrived at the Brooklyn Tabernacle early and stood outside praying for her, and to maintain cell phone contact [Year 2001 technology] should she need assistance with the directions. The last contact I had was that she was lost…she didn’t know where she was; then we lost contact completely because of the interference of the high buildings.
I began praying earnestly for my sister: “Lord, my sister is out there somewhere, and she is lost! Satan is trying to keep her from getting here! Please, Lord…You have got to intervene on her behalf!” I was fervently crying out to the Lord in intense prayer…when suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, I was startled by the voice of the Lord saying, “Your sister will be saved in this meeting.” That is a quote. The Lord’s voice was not audible, but was as clear inside me as if two friends are speaking together face to face!
I quickly ran inside the church lobby, and got hold of a couple of brothers who were ushers. I said, “We have got to pray for my sister! She is on her way here, and is lost…and we no longer have cell phone contact! The Lord just told me ‘Your sister will be saved in this meeting,’ and Satan is trying to keep her from getting here!” We prayed…and I went back outside in front of the church to continue praying, waiting for her to appear.
It was now 7 PM, and I could hear the worship and praise songs that always opened the prayer meeting. 7:20…and my sister is still not here. The worship and praise songs continued…which was unusual; they normally go on for just about 20 minutes. 7:35…I see my sister walking toward the church from a parking lot! We went into the church together…and the worship and praise songs were still continuing! We walked into the Sanctuary with four thousand people immersed in worship…standing with their hands raised in adoration and singing praise songs! My sister was stunned… completely bewildered, saying, “I never saw so many people…worshipping God!” An usher somehow found two seats for us in the balcony…as the singing continued! My sister repeated again her bewilderment. The pastor then called on the people, “Whoever would just like to come down to the altar to continue in love and adoration of the Lord…just come.” The aisles filled with people walking down to the altar. I went, hoping my sister would follow. She did. We continued singing worship and praise in front of the altar and in the aisles.
Finally, we all were ushered back to our seats for the remainder of the prayer meeting. When we were dismissed for the evening…it was now 9 PM…I walked my sister back to her car in the public parking lot. She was still bewildered and in awe of all she had just witnessed…and said again, “I never saw so many people…worshipping God!”
We continued to stay in touch, by phone and visits. Four months later, in one of our telephone conversations, she said, “Do you remember that prayer meeting I went to with you?” I replied, “Yes.” She continued, still in awe, describing that evening, “I couldn’t believe what I saw there…so many people…worshipping God!” Then she added, “…And that is the reason why I am a Christian today!”
I stood in amazement before the Lord, deeply thankful. He faithfully honored my prayer for my sister’s salvation. He literally stripped away from her everything she counted on for support as I had requested, until there literally was nothing left for her to turn to but to Him. He brought her to the point of suicide, and then made me, who was her enemy, to become her confidant! And then finally…He just wanted me to know that He was faithful to what He spoke to me that evening as I waited for my sister in front of the church…“Your sister will be saved in this meeting.” That is what actually took place. There was no altar call for salvation…my sister had simply, and quietly, in the depths of her soul, given her heart to the Lord in that meeting. Hallelujah! That was 15 years ago…and today, my sister continues to be an on-fire Christian!
I don’t know whether in the depths of your heart you really believe there is a God in Heaven or not, but this I do know…my sister was hopelessly lost, and now she is wonderfully saved! [Read John 9:1-38] I am the Resurrection and the Life. Anyone who believes in Me, though dying a physical death like everyone else, will rise again to an eternal life together with Me in Heaven [Jesus…John 11:25-26]. I proclaim to you Christ Jesus…the One Who existed from the beginning, from Eternity Past, Whom I have heard with the ears of my own inner being, and have seen with my own spiritual eyes. I have gazed upon Him and have spiritually touched Him with my own hands. He is the Word of Life. His Life is continually being revealed to me; I have seen it and testify to it, and I proclaim to you that He is the One Who is Eternal Life. He always existed with the Father, and is now continually being manifested afresh and anew to me. I proclaim to you what I have personally seen and heard in the depths of my soul, so that you also may enjoy this same fellowship together with us. The fellowship I continually enjoy is with the Father and with His Son, Christ Jesus. I am writing these things so that you also may fully share together with me in this fullness of joy. [1 John 1:1-4]. It is our birth-right as a child of the Most High God!
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