unanswered prayer

Your Prayer Can Change Nations, So Keep At It

9 December 2021

5.7 MINS

Don’t let unanswered prayer get you down. The prayers of God’s people are more powerful than you realise – they helped topple the Berlin wall and they are a powerful weapon against tyranny today.

Here is a truth you can count on: we will never know just how efficacious and life-transforming our prayers have been this side of eternity. Come the next life, I am confident that all praying Christians will be utterly amazed at what their prayers helped to accomplish.

Ultimately, it is God who accomplishes great things, but he has chosen to use us in the process. He has chosen to use our prayers as part of how he gets things done. It is not just personal prayers about personal matters that get answered, but prayers for big-ticket items, including the rise and fall of nations.

It may not always seem like our prayers are being answered. But God does hear the prayers of his people, and sometimes he answers them in ways we may not now understand. He may say “no” to what we are praying for, or he may have us wait for his perfect timing.

Unanswered Prayers in Victoria?

Sometimes it appears as though the prayers of thousands have not been answered, and it can be tough to go through these periods. A prominent example of this is here in Victoria, where the wretched pandemic legislation pushed by Dan Andrews has made it through parliament’s upper house.

Although very slightly amended from its original form, the legislation is still among the worst passed in this nation. Andrews’ already over-the-top despotic powers are now increased even further. Anyone who dares to defy him will face hefty penalties.

The state opposition has vowed to rip up the bill if it gets into power. But the state election is a full year away, and enormous amounts of damage can happen before then. Worse yet, Labor might just be returned to power next November.

So where was God in all this? Did he not hear the prayers of his people? He is there, and he did hear. How God is working out his purposes is often unclear to us. As C.H. Spurgeon wrote:

God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart. When you are so weak that you cannot do much more than cry, you coin diamonds with both your eyes. The sweetest prayers God ever hears are the groans and sighs of those who have no hope in anything but his love.

Spurgeon would have had Romans 8:26-28 in mind:

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Sometimes, that is all we can do: simply offer up to God our broken and grieving hearts, even with moans and groans. Our cries are certainly taken into account. God does answer all prayers, one way or another. If he sometimes answers with a delay, we can thank him for his wisdom and his divine timing.

A Small Part I Played in the 1980s Revolutions

In light of the erosion of freedom and democracy all over the West and the rise of ugly Statism, I recently profiled two miraculous moves of God. Both took place in the former Communist world. The prayers and actions of God’s people resulted in amazing things, including the fall of the Berlin Wall.

After penning that article, my wife reminded me of the importance of prayer and the small role we had to play in those events. In 1980, when we were missionaries with YWAM in Holland, a group of 30 young people spent a few weeks in the Soviet Union travelling around on a bus.

At that time, the Iron Curtain was still well and truly up, and the Cold War was bubbling along ferociously. But the Communist authorities allowed us to come in, likely eager to get a bit of Western currency in their hands, and to use it as another propaganda exercise.

We were only allowed to go where they would let us go. At all times, we had a KGB agent (they called her our ‘tourist guide’) with us as we travelled. It was a fascinating trip. While we had learned a little Russian ahead of time, we could not communicate with most people there for the most part.

So while we could not speak to many people, nor freely witness to those we found who did speak English, we could – and did – do a lot of praying. We also played worship songs and danced as part of our time there. Our joyous singing and colourful costumes were in such a contrast to the dreary, sombre and oppressive greyness that we found there. There were grey buildings, grey people, and a grey atmosphere all around us.

The contrast was so great that we often saw people breaking into tears as they watched us perform. The old, weathered men and women who had known nothing but the hellishness of godless communism for the past half-century saw something they had hardly ever seen before. They witnessed joyful, radiant and vibrant young people singing and worshipping the living God.

Although we could not speak to many people and share the good news, we did have a lot of time to travel around parts of the USSR and engage in some hardcore praying and spiritual warfare. All those prayers that we prayed while there did have an impact, even if only years later.

Your Prayers Will Be Answered!

Many of the places we travelled are where freedoms began to re-emerge in the late 1980s, including Kiev in the Ukraine and Tbilisi in Georgia. Our prayers – and those of others – helped pave the way for the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of tyrannical communism.

As our good friend Ed, who was with us on that bus trip, recently reminded us:

Something that isn’t so well known and is related to the post about prayer: in 1982, Open Doors called for seven years of prayer for the Soviet Union. In those seven years, all the Soviet old guard members of the Politburo died. 1989 was the seventh year – the year the Wall fell!

Of course, people had been praying for many years. But that particular year was, I think, a Kairos moment. I was at a large YWAM prayer meeting in August and September of 1989, and we prayed for the Iron Curtain to come down. It was only days later that everything began!

You never know just how effective prayer and spiritual warfare can be. As to the current scene in Victoria, it appears that what we were praying for has not yet happened. But Dan Andrews and all other would-be dictators are only around for a short time.

I recently read 1 Corinthians 15:24-25:

Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

One day, Andrews will be no more. When the wall fell in 1989, the Soviet Bloc joined all the other past failed tyrannies. Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev are gone. Mao and Pol Pot are gone. All human rulers and powers will one day bow the knee to the one true King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

For that reason, we must keep praying. We may not see the results that we are seeking or see them happening fast enough, but know that our prayers have an impact. As we read in James 5:16-18:

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

Keep praying saints. Don’t let the circumstances around you get you down. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

An Excellent Resource on Prayer

A new book on prayer has just appeared in Australia: Power of Prayer by Kurt Mahlburg and Warwick Marsh. It is a collection of stories involving amazing answers to prayer.

We recently hosted an interview with Warwick Marsh. In it we discuss prayer and world events. Have a listen: 


Note: you are invited to join An Appeal to Heaven: a Day of Repentance and Prayer for Australia. It is taking place this Saturday 11th December, 2021. Read more about the event here.

Originally published at CultureWatch. Image by Valentin Antonucci at Pexels.

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One Comment

  1. John coverdale 10 December 2021 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Good thoughts for this time, thanks
    “Ascribe Greatness to Our God the Rock his work is perfect and all his ways are Just, a God of faithfulness and without injustice, Good and Upright is He!”

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