During World War II, Allied troops found themselves trapped in Dunkirk, France, facing some destruction by the German army and most likely a Nazi invasion of Britain. King George called for a national day of prayer, and churches across the UK were packed as believers called on God to intervene.
Suddenly, a weather front set in, making it impossible for the Nazis to invade. Then an armada of every imaginable craft, from small fishing boats to government ships, arrived and evacuated 238,000 troops.
Winston Churchill called it the Miracle of Dunkirk, and it was.
The importance of prayer
Can prayer change things? You better believe it’s possible.
Jesus said, “I tell you again that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that you ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19 NKJV) .
In the New Testament book of Acts we find the amazing story of another miraculous rescue. King Herod had Simon Peter arrested and imprisoned, after arresting James and putting him to death. So what did the church do? Verse 5 of Acts 12 tells us: “Constant prayer was offered to God to [Peter] by the church” (NKJV).
Notice it was constant prayer, not just a single prayer. We should pray constantly. The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV). And there is power in united prayer.
There is not a single example in the Bible where first century believers organized a boycott or protested. Instead, they prayed, preached and proclaimed the message of Christ’s death on the cross, risen from the dead and ready to change lives. And they backed up their message with their actions.
Chapter 12 of Acts opens with James dead, Peter in prison and King Herod triumphant. But it ends with the death of King Herod, the freedom of Peter and the triumph of the Word of God. This is how prayer works. And that’s why we have to pray.
God loves us and he hears our prayers. Jesus said, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 NKJV).
In this verse alone, God is described as a shepherd, a father, and a king.
god as shepherd
First, Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, little flock. Here we see God as a shepherd, and we are his sheep. How can I put this delicately? Sheep are not the smartest animals on the face of the earth. Sheep are basically defenseless creatures. They don’t have teeth to bite, they can’t run very fast, and they don’t have claws to scratch. Basically, it’s a meal on four legs.
Also, sheep are capricious, so when one strays, the others stray too. The sheep therefore need the help of the shepherd. God is our shepherd and we are his sheep.
God as Father
Second, God is a father who loves us. Jesus said, “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. In what we call the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus did not teach us to pray, “Our Creator in Heaven,” although He is our Creator.
He also didn’t teach us to pray to “Almighty God in heaven,” even though He is Almighty God. Instead, Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9 NKJV). It’s about a relationship.