The ancient word spoken to Solomon at the dedication of the temple makes clear that corporate asking—based on a corporate recognition that the many need to turn to the Lord for help, with the many turning away from anything they know has wounded their walk with God—moves the very heart of God to enter into the human stream and answer the cry of those hearts.
“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:13-14, NASB).
Something like this happened in the state of Minnesota in 1877. The economy of the state was, for the most part, based on agriculture. The year before, grasshoppers had very nearly destroyed the Minnesota economy, eating up much of the crop, and leaving many very nearly destitute.
The situation was so very serious that the state governor, John S. Pillsbury, took the unusual step of proclaiming a statewide day of prayer and fasting. Pillsbury issued an edict that on April 26, 1877, every business, shop, school, and office close to seek the mercy of heaven to stop the grasshoppers from destroying the crop. Every man, woman, and child in the state was urged in that proclamation to ask God to prevent that terrible scourge from returning. The records indicate that a reverent, quiet hush fell over all the state.
The next day dawned bright and clear. Temperatures soared to what they ordinarily were in midsummer, which was very peculiar for April in that part of the country. Minnesotans were devastated as they discovered billions of grasshopper larvae wiggling to life. For three days the unusual heat persisted, and the larvae hatched out. It appeared that it wouldn’t be long before they would start feeding and destroying the wheat crop.
On the fourth day, however, temperatures plummeted to well below freezing; that night a very harsh killing frost covered the earth. That frost was so severe that it killed every one of the grasshopper larva as surely as if poison or fire had been used. Grateful farmers never forgot that day. It went down in the history of Minnesota as the day God answered the prayers of the people.
There is tremendous power in corporate prayer for daily bread. What it requires is a shared commitment and a mutual surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. It requires that the people of God be agreed and committed to continued agreement for the Lord to intervene.
–Adapted from Power Praying (Hearing Jesus’ Spirit by Praying Jesus’ Prayer) by David Chotka
Father, draw Your people together to seek Your face in this critical hour! Our nation is facing devastation as marriages and families fall apart, believers compromise their beliefs, and even Your Church embraces the worldliness of our culture! May the people called by Your Name recognize our sinfulness and turn from our wicked ways so that You might heal our land!
Give praise to Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Rev. 22:13). Thank him for his promise, “Yes, I am coming soon” (22:12). Confess those periods of time when you have lost sight of the hope of his coming. Commit yourself to waiting each day for “the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Ask God to renew in you the hope that “when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn. 3:2).
Ask God to open the eyes of your unsaved friends so that they may see the spiritual kingdom that lies behind the physical realm.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend