During World War II, Allied troops found themselves trapped in Dunkerque, France, facing certain destruction by the German army and most likely a Nazi invasion of Britain. King George called for a National Day of Prayer, and the churches of the United Kingdom were filled to overflowing as believers called on God to intervene.
Suddenly, a weather front moved in, making it impossible for the Nazis to invade. Then an armada of every kind of watercraft imaginable, from small fishing boats to government ships, came in and evacuated 238,000 soldiers.
Winston Churchill called it the Miracle of Dunkirk, and indeed it was.
The Importance of Prayer
Can prayer change things? You’d better believe it can.
Jesus said, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19 NKJV).
In the New Testament book of Acts, we find the amazing story of another miraculous rescue. King Herod had Simon Peter arrested and imprisoned, on the heels arresting James and putting him to death. So what did the church do? Verse 5 of Acts 12 tells us, “Constant prayer was offered to God for [Peter] by the church” (NKJV).
Notice that it was constant prayer, not just a one-time prayer. We should be praying constantly. The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV). And there is power in united prayer.
There’s not a single instance in the Bible where the first-century believers held a boycott or protest. Instead, they prayed and preached and proclaimed the message of the death of Christ on the cross, risen from the dead, and ready to change lives. And they backed up their message with their actions.
Chapter 12 of Acts opens with James dead, Peter in prison, and King Herod triumphing. But it closes with King Herod dead, Peter free, and the Word of God triumphing. That is how prayer works. And that is why we need to pray.
God loves us, and He hears our prayers. Jesus said, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 NKJV).
In this single verse, God is described as a shepherd, a father, and a king.
God as a Shepherd
First, Jesus said, “Do not fear, little flock.” Here we see God as a shepherd, and we are His sheep. How do I put this delicately? Sheep are not the most intelligent animals on the face of the earth. Sheep are basically defenseless creatures. They don’t have teeth to bite, they can’t run very fast, and they don’t have claws to scratch. Basically, they’re a meal on four legs.
In addition, sheep are skittish, so when one goes astray, the others go astray too. Sheep, therefore, need the help of the shepherd. God is our shepherd, and we are His sheep.
God as a Father
Next, God is a father who loves us. Jesus said, “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” In what we call the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus didn’t teach us to pray, “Our Creator in Heaven,” although He is our creator.
Nor did He teach us to pray, “Almighty God in Heaven,” even though He is Almighty God. Rather, Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9 NKJV). That speaks of a relationship.
Used with permission from Greg Laurie.