Can we really change history?
Yes, of course.
You may be thinking of ways that can happen by participating in governmental processes, voting, and a list of other things and those are true and have happened many times in the course of history in places around the world. But there is something more than that and it can defeat evil as none of these can in and of themselves.
It requires more of us. It will involve time, trust, and faith in each action, but it is what will help us stand in the face of evil. It is prayer that is the effective weapon we often leave gathering dust on the shelf.
“The real power of prayer in history is not a fusillade of praying units of whom Christ is the chief, but it is the corporate action of a Saviour-Intercessor and His community, a volume and energy of prayer organized in a Holy Spirit and in the Church the Spirit creates.”P.T. Forsyth
Throughout history you hear the stories of prayer operating and moving in ways to sustain people and change history’s course. We know it and scripture tells us to do it, but often our prayers focus on the life we are living and asking for smaller things or urgent things of a crisis nature related to health or provisions versus the wider battle against evil operating.
“While conflicts raged between good and evil, prayers went up from devout bands of first century Christians all over the Roman empire. Massive engines of persecution and scorn were ranged against them. They had neither weapons nor votes. They had little money and no prestige. Why didn’t they have mental breakdowns? Why didn’t they cut and run? They prayed.”Eugene Peterson in Reversed Thunder
History tells us much about what they suffered and endured during that time, but because of their faithfulness and testimony carved out of the hardships they endured, Christianity was not stamped out and we enjoy the legacy of that today. It can be easy to not recognize had they not been so committed in this way that all of what we take for granted might have never been birthed.
Can we do any less now whether we live in a place where our faith can operate and be expressed freely or not? Are we willing to walk in their footsteps and change the course of the future?
We see that power played out in Revelation 8 as well as prayers appear to flow upward, and heaven is silent and then an angel appears with a golden censer and what happens?
“Out of the silence, action developed: an angel came before the altar of God with a censer. He mixed the prayers of the Christians with incense (which cleansed them from impurities) and combined them with fire (God’s spirit) from the altar. Then he put it all in a censer and threw it over heaven’s ramparts. The censer, plummeting through the air, landed on earth. On impact there were “peals of thunder, voices, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake” (Rev. 8:5). The prayers which had ascended, unremarked by the journalists of the day, returned with immense force – in George Herbert’s phrase, as “reversed thunder.” Prayer reenters history with incalculable effects. Our earth is shaken daily by it.”Eugene Peterson in Reversed Thunder
Can you imagine?
It can be far easier to talk about what it is wrong in the world than to acknowledge we are caught up in a war between good and evil and as believers are called to play a part. Our absence of using the weapons Christ has afforded of us can change the present as well as the future for those who will come after us.
“Prayer is access to an environment in which God is the pivotal center of action. All other persons, events, or circumstances are third parties. Existence is illuminated in direct relationship to God himself. Neither bane nor blessing distracts from this center. Persons who pray are not misled by demons of size, influence, importance or power. They turn their backs on the gaudy pantheons of Canaan and Assyria, Greece and Rome, and give themselves to the personal intensities that become awe before God and in intimacy with God. And they change the world.”Eugene Peterson in Reversed Thunder