Prayer: The Mightiest Force in the World
By Frank Laubach
Today few doubt the power of prayer. Millions of people, however, are haunted with a guilty sense that while we have pursued scientific inquiry in other directions with enormous results [referring to the atomic bomb] we have failed to investigate and use the mighty energies which prayer can release. Especially in this most critical hour in all history, when we need to employ every resource there is, we have overlooked the greater resource of all.
We had better not neglect prayer now! This is not a time for confidence, nor is it a time for despair; it is the time to turn to God. It is the time for humility, penitence, desperate resolve, rectitude, obedience to the will of God in all-out sincerity! The future of the world depends on whether you, and enough others like you, pray widely enough and often enough.
A small group of men are making the plans for world peace, plus a few hundred who can reach their ears. All the rest of us, the hundreds of millions of us, are unable to offer our views. We must be silent, but we need not be helpless. [Even] the humblest of us can pray. Millions of us ordinary people must pour an incessant white light of prayer upon world leaders day after day. We must lift the heads of leaders toward God so that they hear Him and will obey His will.
Inviting God to Speak
We do not “persuade God to try harder” when we pray; it is our world leaders, our statesmen and church men whom we persuade to try harder. We help God when we pray. When great numbers of us pray for leaders, a mighty invisible force lifts our minds and eyes toward God. His Spirit flows through our prayers to them, and He can speak to them directly.
We can do more for the world with prayer than if we could walk into Whitehall, London, or the Kremlin in Moscow, and tell those men what to do—far more! If they listened to our suggestions, we would probably be, more or less, wrong. But what God tells them, when they listen to Him, must be right. It is infinitely better for world leaders to listen to God than for them to listen to us.
Most of us can never enter the White House and offer advice to the president. Probably he will never have time to read our letters. But we can give what is far more important than advice. We can give him a lift into the presence of God, making him hungry for divine wisdom, which is the grandest thing one man ever does for another. We can visit the White House with prayer as many times a day as we think of it, and every such visit makes us a channel between God and the president.
A Critical Moment in History
Prayer is needed as it was never needed in all history. The men planning for a united world have been intensely patriotic national leaders, and their viewpoints are inevitably warped by their love of country. They love their own people passionately, and as a rule, have prejudices against other peoples, and so [they] instinctively grasp for national advantages.
A shower of prayers, gentle as snow, must fall upon these leaders in every nation to save them from being jealous, suspicious, greedy, prejudiced, full of resentment and hatred, and from driving bargains with weaker peoples—which will breed new wars.
If we pray for them ten seconds several times each day we shall be more likely to secure results than if we prayed once for half an hour. An excellent practice is to stop for ten seconds while reading the newspaper and pray for any person who is likely to affect world affairs. Suppose ten million people read their newspapers and prayed for every important person and event!
Changing the Course of History
Prayer is likely to be undervalued by all but wise people because it is so silent and secret. We are often deceived into thinking that noise is more important than silence. War sounds far more important than the noiseless growing of a crop of wheat, yet the silent wheat feeds millions, while war destroys them. Nobody but God knows how often prayers have changed the course of history. Many a man who prayed received no credit excepting in heaven.
Secret prayer for others all during the day is an acid test of our unselfishness. The highest form of communion is not asking God for things for ourselves, but letting Him flow down through us, out over the world—in endless benediction.
FRANK LAUBACH (1884-1970) published Prayer: The Mightiest Force in the World in 1946 with the subtitle: “Thoughts for an Atomic Age.” He wrote it after World War II, urging believers to pray for world leaders and peace. He and his wife went to the Philippines as missionaries in 1915, launching a literacy ministry.
(C) Prayer Connect 2012. Issue 8