Evan Roberts knew the rewards of persistent, ongoing prayer. After he became a Christian as a teenager, Evan began praying every day for a national revival in his homeland Wales.
Evan seemed the least likely candidate to lead the revival though. By age 11, he had dropped out of school to help his father work the coal mines. Later he became a blacksmith’s apprentice. However, in 1904 at age 26 he felt led to ministry and began taking courses again at the grammar school to prepare for seminary.
During this time he experienced a personal spiritual awakening and began to tell others in his church and town about it. Soon, more people wanted to hear about the awakening and joined him in prayer. Evan began to travel to share his message around Wales. After 11 years of daily prayer for a national revival, he was now becoming part of one.
The revival greatly impacted Wales and even spread around the world. An estimated 150,000 souls were saved during the first six months. Wales became a God-fearing nation once more. The pubs were nearly empty. Businesses, factories, and even bars closed for prayer time. Crime decreased to the point that magistrates often came to court with no cases waiting for them. People paid their bills and their debts. Feuds were settled. People had truly changed from the inside out.
Although the public excitement of the revival died down a few years later, many of the people touched by the awakening claimed a fully renewed relationship with Christ that lasted the rest of their lives. The most unlikely people can accomplish great things when they consecrate themselves to praying for revival.
The sad part is that many people seem to think that their prayers don’t matter. Even people who believe in the power of prayer don’t always think of themselves as effective. However, the Bible is not silent on this point. It shares the secret of powerful and effective prayers.
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). A righteous person is a person who is in right-standing with God. A righteous person has a personal relationship with Jesus as his or her personal Savior. Righteousness means a person wants what is right according to the Word of God—he or she wants to see God’s Truth and God’s will established on this earth. Evan Roberts was a righteous man and his prayers for national revival were powerful and effective.
We also see the power and effectiveness of the prayers of a righteous man in the Old Testament prophet Daniel. His prayers provide a model for us to follow. First, read his powerful plea to God in Daniel 9:4-19. Now, let’s take a look at the key components of his prayer.
START WITH PRAISE
Daniel began his prayer by praising God. He prayed to “the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands” (Daniel 9:4). He acknowledged God as absolutely righteous, but also merciful and forgiving. Begin your own prayers with praise and thanksgiving to God. Praise Him for His glory, His power, His love. Thank Him for His daily provision in your life, your salvation, and your many blessings. Spend time just adoring God.
CONFESS YOUR SINS
Daniel didn’t try to dismiss, justify, or sidestep the fact that Israel had made a grave error. Daniel stated up front in his prayer, “We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws” (Daniel 9:5). When you go to God in prayer, don’t play the blame game when it comes to your sin. Acknowledge any element of sin or misdoing—intentional or unintentional—related to the situation or circumstance.
APPEAL FOR MERCY
Daniel appealed to God’s mercy. He said, “O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn way your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem—For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on our desolate sanctuary. ….We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy” (Daniel 9:16-18). Acknowledge to God that you do not deserve His blessings, but you receive them because He is a merciful and loving God. Humble yourself before God, realizing that your strength and success come from Him alone.
PETITION FOR GOD TO ACT
Daniel very specifically asked the Lord to take action: “O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name” (Daniel 9:19). Daniel’s prayer was not selfish in nature, but he prayed for the Lord to show Himself strong so that the Lord might receive glory on this earth. We are to pray that God will act in a way that brings God the greatest glory and in a way that is the most profound witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God!
PRAY THE WILL OF GOD
How can you be assured that you are praying for God’s will, and not your own to be done? Immerse yourself in the Word of God. The more you seek to know the mind of God, the more you will begin to understand what He wants for your life. As you pray for specific requests, always check them against Scripture. You can be sure God’s desires for you will never go against His Word.
NEVER GIVE UP
As you pray, never lose sight of this truth: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”(Galatians 6:9). Continue to pray, knowing that at God’s appointed time, a harvest will come.