Prayer That Moves
By Dr. Charles Stanley
God is in the mountain-moving business! He knows exactly what to do to remove any and every “mountain” that comes our way.
“And when they were come to the multitude, there came to Him a certain man, kneeling down to Him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to Thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
“Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to Me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
“Then came the disciples to Jesus apart and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:14-21).
Often when we face such a circumstance in our lives, rather than looking to God immediately, we complain, and we moan and groan to our friends. We get down in the dumps, we lose our faith, we ask God where He is – while all the time the Scripture says we should bring our mountains to God so that He can move them for us.
But even beyond our personal mountains, when I look at our nation today, I see mountains that seem absolutely insurmountable from a human point of view. When we look at these mountains and then at our own resources, we tend to say, “Lord, there’s no way for these mountains to be moved.” That’s correct – as long as we look at ourselves – for it will take a supernatural miracle of God to change what is happening. The most powerful resource we have as God’s people is in looking to God in prayer, believing Him to move the mountains that threaten to destroy this nation.
The Prayer of Faith
The kind of praying that I want to specifically talk about is the kind that moves mountains no man can budge. The type of praying that moves mountains is the prayer of faith. The Lord says in Scripture, “If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14). He says, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). He says, “Call unto Me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not” (Jer. 33:3).
He says, “This is the confidence that we have in Him, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of Him” (1 John 5:14-15). Hebrews 11:6 says, “Those who come to God must believe that God is.” God is what? God is able to do anything and everything! God is willing to release His supernatural divine power in human circumstances if He can find somebody who is willing to believe Him and expect Him to do it.
Do you believe that God will move the mountains that keep us from being the people God wants us to be, or from being the nation God wants us to be? I believe that God is just as much in the mountain-moving business today as He was 2,000 or 4,000 years ago. What He’s looking for are men and women who are willing to trust Him, willing to get out on a limb and believe that God will intervene in any and every human circumstance.
Focus On God, Not The Mountain
The second characteristic of that kind of prayer is that it must focus on God and not on the mountain. One of our difficulties in praying is that we get caught up in the problem. One of the most beautiful examples of the right kind of praying is in 2 Chronicles 20 when Jehoshaphat heard that his enemy was approaching. What did he do? He didn’t call a committee! The Scriptures say he fell on his face before the Lord and cried to Him for rescue and protection.
He didn’t begin by saying, “O God, look at our enemy; look how strong they are; look how powerful they are!” No! He began by saying, “O God, Thou art the Creator. You are the one who brought us out of Egypt.” He began to pray a prayer that focused completely on God. And the next day the Scripture says, he went out to meet the enemy.
Do you know how he went out? He went out with his choir out in front of his army singing their way to victory. Why was he able to do this? Because Jehoshaphat knew that the secret to mountain moving is to focus upon the God who moves the mountains and not on the mountains themselves.
The third characteristic of prayer that moves mountains is that it must be faithful praying. Many of us get excited about a prayer need for two or three days; then when somebody asks later, “Are you still praying for so-and-so?” we reply “Oh, I almost forgot about that.” The Scripture says a man ought always to pray and faint not. That expression “to faint not” doesn’t mean to fall down and lose consciousness. It means to “lose heart, to give up” because the answer doesn’t come immediately.
How many of us are willing to pray with the same tenacity that Jacob had when he wrestled the angel? He said, “I’ll not let you go until you do what I want done.” I believe God is looking for people who are willing to hold on to Him, to bombard heaven, to keep on asking until the asking becomes praising and thanksgiving.
The kind of prayer that moves mountains may start off in weakness, but it ends up in strength. It may begin with asking, but it ends up in thanking. God will honor that kind of tenacious hold on the promise of God.
The fourth essential characteristic of mountain-moving prayer is it needs to be fearless praying. If we’re going to see miracles, we’re talking about something only God can do. If we want to see in this nation the release of supernatural power that can change what voting cannot change, what councils cannot change, what committees cannot change, it can only come by God’s intervention. And if that’s true, there must be fearless prayer…prayer that comes to God expecting Him to do something…
God is more willing to answer prayer than we are to ask Him. He doesn’t want us to approach Him hesitatingly, as if we were beggars, or as if we were unworthy, but rather with confidence and boldness. We aren’t coming in our own righteousness, but in the Blood of Jesus Christ.
“Having therefore, brethren boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience....” (Hebrews 10:19-22).
If ever there was a time when the people of God need to lie prostrate before the Lord and pray with fearlessness, with boldness, with anticipation, with excitement, with expectancy, this is the time!
Little puny prayers that we lift up while hopping out of bed or driving down the expressway in the morning won’t get the job done. God is not going to change a life or change a nation with that kind of praying. I know the excuse people give: “You can pray anywhere.” Sure you can, but you won’t move mountains by praying on the expressway! The kind of prayer that approaches God is one expecting Him to do something and not giving up until it happens.
How many times have you said to God, “Lord, here’s what You said You’d do. I am not giving up until You do it. I’ll keep sending it back up to You until the answer comes pouring out of heaven, just like I ask.” That’s fearless praying!
Prayer That Is A Burden From God
Another characteristic of that type of praying is that it comes from a person who is able to feel the burden of the Lord. We’ve all heard people get up in Sunday school and read off a little prayer: “Now, Lord, bless our Sunday school, this, that, and the other.” What I mean by prayer that feels God’s burden is this: when you and I are willing to get quiet enough, long enough for God to share something of the tremendous weight of the burden of His heart with us, then we’ll experience prayer that moves mountains. There has to be some weight. There must be something of a burden from God.
When is it that your praying really gets down to serious business? When somebody’s life is at stake? When some tremendous burden is placed upon you and you begin to vicariously feel something of the hurt, and the pain, and the suffering in somebody else’s life? Then when you pray you tell God what you want. You quote Him a Scripture. You remind Him of what He promised to do. That’s the kind of praying that moves mountains.
Can you imagine Elijah walking up to that altar of sacrifice and saying, “Lord, I want to pray in Jesus’ name, or in the prophet’s name, and I sure hope You’ll take care of this.” Nothing would have happened. Elijah, before God, felt the weight of the paganism and the unbelief of Israel. He said, “It’s time you began to make a choice. Stop halting between the two.”
The problem with Christians in this country today is we don’t hold much of a burden for this country. While we see these mountains engulfing us, we run our way with our pleasure, doing the thing we want to do while God looks for Christians who are willing to be quiet and to feel the burden of what God feels.
When you begin to feel what God feels, something will absolutely transform your prayer life. It will no longer be light, little, perfunctory prayers at bedtime, when you spend just two or three minutes with God. It’s going to be the kind of prayer that drives you to your knees, prostrate on the floor before God when you plead with Him to do something you are unable to do.
Prayer With Fasting
Another characteristic of prayer that takes hold of God is that it must be mixed with fasting. Jesus told the disciples, “The reason you couldn’t heal that boy was because of unbelief in the kind of prayer that moves mountains; it is the kind of prayer that is mixed and intermingled with fasting.” Now, why? Because fasting necessitates and involves the discipline of one’s life – getting your life under control and determining to hold on to God.
It declares that your devotion to Him is more important than eating, more important than sleeping, more important than fellowship. It means you are willing to bear the burden of God, willing to become what God wants you to be in order for God to use you the way He wants to.
Remember – God is the mountain mover; we are the instruments; but prayer is God’s plan for moving the mountain.
If He can find a group of people willing to pay the price, I believe God can change the history of a nation. When you look back in history, it’s amazing to see how many times God has altered the history of a nation, the course of its direction, because a handful of people were willing to pay the price in prayer.
The supernatural power of God is available to each of us if we’ll meet the requirement of getting God in on what we’re up to. I remember back in 1957 while I was a student in school at Ft. Worth, Texas. I was in a corner of my living room and had been praying for quite some time when I felt God say something to me I have never forgotten. I had been talking to God about what I wanted to do with my life, and I felt Him saying to me, “Charles, whatever you accomplish in your life you will accomplish only on your knees.”
As I look back on my life, I see the times when I have gotten up, and nothing happened. But as long as I stayed down, God has done some tremendous things.
Prayer Is God’s Price for Supernatural Power
I believe the principle is not only applicable to me, but to every believer: God releases His power only when men are willing to get on their knees in humility, submission, surrender, and yieldedness in the will of God, depending in faith upon God’s supernatural power. I believe when we can do that, the windows of heaven will open and a tremendous flood of the blessings of God will come upon us.
We have done everything else. You name it and we’ve done it. We’ve had crusades, we’ve tried everything that comes down the track, but there still has not been a time when this generation of Christians fell on their faces before God in desperation – holding the inspiration of the Scriptures in their heart, believing God, clinging to Him until the asking turns to praising. We only have one resource for leveling the mountains that threaten to crush us and it is available to every one of us. That resource is to pray. If we do not pray, my friends – I want to ask you – what shall we do?
From Intercessors For America Newsletter 2/1/77