Still Powerful - Part 2
March 4, 2010 • By Ed Wrather
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. - John 14:12-14 NKJV.
Inspector Roger Bartlett is the chief of policing in Barnstaple, England; Barnstaple is a small city of about 34,000 people. Inspector Bartlett is a leader in the Christian Policing Association there and provides some startling information about the power of prayer and public safety. In 2007, the Association made a commitment to pray for an improvement in the crime detection rate (crime clearance rate). In 2007, the crime detection (clearance) rate was only 26%, but now that rate has increased 14 points to 40%.
The Christian Policing Association also took on another prayer project of trying to reduce the number of fatal highway accidents in North Devon where Barnstaple is located. The astounding result is a drop in fatal accidents in one year from 97 to 32. Inspector Bartlett commenting on this said, “Many who do not have the faith would say that this is just coincidence. From my experience, the more I pray the more coincidences I seem to see.”
As a pastor, in almost every worship service I lead in prayer and pray for individuals and for large groups of people including missionaries, rescue workers, those affected by disasters, and others. In my private prayer life, I pray for individuals, and also for large groups of people as I am sure that most reading this devotional do as well. Have you ever wondered whether it really makes any difference? When I pray for the safety of those in my community, and there is a fatal accident, I sometimes wonder what is wrong with my prayer life. You may possibly have the same questions.
I think that I may be asking the wrong question when looking at the effectiveness of prayer for large groups. What those of us who pray for those large groups should be thinking of is how many lives were protected, how many lives and souls were saved, because of our prayers. Why were the fatal accidents in North Devon not reduced to zero? I do not know. This side of Heaven we simply will not know the answer to some of those questions. What we do know is that possibly as many as 65 fatal accidents were avoided because of prayer. It is like the story of the Star Thrower (The story may have been originally written by Loren Eiseley 1907-1977). The boy or the young man in the story could not possibly throw all the starfish back into the ocean before the tide went out and the rays of the hot sun came down. A man questioned why the boy was still trying to throw the starfish back into the ocean? The answer, as the boy threw another starfish back was “It makes a difference for this one.”
The point of all of this is that the Name of Jesus is still powerful, and our prayers do make a difference. As the apostle John says, “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 (1 John 5:14-15).”