Last week I received an unexpected voice message, through Whatsapp. It was from an old friend. After months of no communication he reached out to me. The message made me leap for joy. He was finally free from one of his greatest struggle.
After years of denial, he finally admitted that he struggled struggle with alcoholism. He had quit drinking alcohol. Initially, when we partied together he used alcohol to take the edge off. After several bottles he became the life of the party. It was his strategy for coping with any feelings of inadequacy or fear of crowds. The person on the voice message was different. He accepted the consequences of those decisions and the impact it has had on his life. There was a resolved to not return to the bottle. Every temptation that lead him to drink were being removed from his life. Friends and drinking buddies were being removed from his inner circle. That gap was being filled with meaningful activities that built on previous academic, career and other personal successes.
This is a big deal! He struggled with alcoholism for approximately two decades. What started as an innocent desire to feel good at the parties became a nightmare. It threatened his life. There were times when he became unaware of what happened after drinking. Sometimes things happened that he had no recollection of the incident. He ended up in places and had no idea how he got there. He had lost control. Finally, his eyes were open. He acknowledge the problem and was now taking steps to resolve it. Like the prodigal son, he had come to his senses and decided to change his circumstances.
16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’
There was no fanfare. No drum roll when he made up his mind. Just a calm assurance that change had come. A peace that passes all understanding. My friend recognized his state and quit cold turkey. He was celebrating three weeks of sobriety. What? Just this short time. Does it make sense to assume that he has changed? These were the questions that I asked myself. But I reflected what transpired before he contacted me and accepted that the truth. God had intervened.
My life is a testimony of that fact. God delivered me from rejection and the issues that came with being molested in my teenage years. I was freed from all feelings of perversion, secret indulgence in that lifestyle and pornography when I asked God to help me. I admitted my problem to Him and told Him that I desperately needed His help. No one laid hands on me. No one poured oil on me or commanded the spirits to come out. The Lord did the work in me. I was immediately freed from guilt and condemnation. His peace flooded me. I developed an insatiable hunger for prayer and the Word of God. I did not know how to pray but that did not stop me.
I was a babe in Christ. The prayers of mature believers intimidated me. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit came to my aid. He guided me gently through hours of praying in the spirit. While I prayed the Lord answered with visions or spoke directly to my heart. He would also tell me to fast. Control through self-denial and discipline were birthed through fasting from food, television, social media at times, and friends. Long friendships that were tied to the past had to be severed. My desires were replaced with a hunger for his presence. In the process, He shifted me from religion to relationship. This lead to supernatural encounters.
I am also shouting for joy because I am seeing the hand of God at work in my friend. Years of prayer were finally answered. The prayers started when God sent me with a message to inform him that his life was in danger. I was placed on prayer watch. Death had to be kept at away. It saved him from dying while driving under under the influence of alcohol.
Four weeks ago the Lord told our church to pray for men, for 21 days. He gave us several names. We were told not to limit it to our congregation or nation. Names were solicited through social media and all around. I did not remember to place his name on the list but God didn’t. He told me to place his name on the list. He also promised to meet every need of the men. Some would be delivered from bondage. Some would return to the Kingdom. Some would be promoted to greater levels of ministry. The needs were varied but God would meet them all. So you can image my joy when I received the ‘good news’. God had done it! He had made the change. We also saw other men receive their breakthrough. As promised men were returning to the Lord.
Keys too Answered Prayers
My friend, let me encourage you. Never loose hope when your prayer seem to go unanswered. It’s already answered. The bible tells us in 1 John 4 verses 14-15, “ Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him”. If you want to see changes in a loved one.
- Search the scriptures to find the text that applies to the situation.
- Constantly use it in prayer.
- Believe that God loves that person more than you. He wants him/her to walk in victory more than you do.
- Never stop praying.
If God has already promised what you desire to the believer, by faith claim it. Do not ask him for it. He will not answer that prayer. We do this very often with healing. Instead of commanding the healing we pray and ask God to heal. He commanded us to heal. “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8). To guarantee our success He gave us the Holy Spirit.
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
You may also have to portray the change you want in the person. Encourage him/her. I gave up drinking alcohol and never drank it around my friend. I did not berate him about his drinking but encouraged him to change. This was before I gave my life to the Lord. Most importantly love unconditionally. In doing so, you will fulfill the royal law, “love your neighbor as yourself” (James 2:8). Let God do the rest. He will make the necessary change in them.
If a family member rejects or ridicules you after you ministered the gospel to them, please do not loose hope. Keep him/her in prayers. Especially, when God brings them to your memory.
Heaven Invades Earth
Prayer allows heaven to invade earth. It authorizes God to move on a person’s behalf. He gave us authority over the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). Prayer is a powerful weapon. When we pray the Holy Spirit acts on our behalf. Angels are released to move on our behalf. Israel offered constant prayers of supplication to God for 70 years, while they were captive in Babylon. We read that Daniel started fasting and praying when he found out that it was time for their release. God sent the archangel Gabriel to help. Other angels were also released to assist. War was undertaken by the angels to ensure the people were released. (Daniel 9:2-27; Daniel 10). The result was that the Jews were released to go back to Israel and rebuild.
2 Chronicles 7:13-16
13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.
Please keep praying for your loved ones. Even after they have been set free. Prayer will help them to stay free. Pray without ceasing.
16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.