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Keep on pushing for a fair and righteous planet, but remember that for every ounce of politicking, you need a pound of prayer. That’s because God is Edgar Bergen and you’re Charlie McCarthy.

Here’s an illustration of how prayer works:

Back in 1989, a Brazilian housewife and mother named Elizabeth Cornelio became concerned about her city, Goiania – population 1,200,000 and a major center of spiritism and other problems. So she began meeting for prayer with four women from other churches.

In 1993, she invited Christians all over the city to unite and pray. When 850 showed up, her pastor kicked her out of the church, saying, “Members of other churches are not spiritual brothers and sisters; they are at most spiritual cousins.” (A good example of the hard-nosed attitude you won’t find in the house churches I beat the drum for.)

Today almost 200,000 women pray for the city every day, linked by her radio program. When the program had to go off the air from March through May of 1999, the crime rate quickly ballooned by 50 percent. The city sent a delegation including the mayor and police chief, beseeching her to get back on the air. (She did, and the crime rate sank.)

Every believer in town gets into the act: Midwives anoint newborns with oil, dedicating them to Jesus; Christians walk the aisles in supermarkets, praying for people; a few preach in bars, to great effect; and some even get up at 4 a.m. to walk through the empty streetcars, praying that God will bless each rider that day.

Don’t laugh. In seven years, evangelicals in Goiania went from 7 percent of the population to 45 percent.

Now, a short science lesson:

In India, “a group of intercessors went walking and praying around a block of apartments for several days but left the neighboring block alone. When contacted later, over 70 percent of the prayer-walked block welcomed the intercessors while 90 percent of the unwalked block rejected them.” (“The Prayer Warrior: Church Planters’ Daily Prayer Guide,” by Victor Choudhrie. Available from the author at Padhar 460005, Betul District, Madhya Pradesh, India. U.S. $5)

A similar experiment was done by a church in Phoenix. Intercessors randomly selected 160 names from the local telephone book and divided the names into two equal groups. For 90 days, they prayed for one group of 80 homes. The other 80 homes were not prayed for.

After 90 days, they called all 160 homes, identified themselves and their church, and asked for permission to stop by and pray for the family and any needs they might be willing to share. Of the 80 homes for which they didn’t pray, only one invited them to come in. Of the 80 homes for which they had prayed, 69 invited someone to come over; of the 69, 45 invited them to come in. (“The Praying Church Idea Book,” by Douglas A. Kamstra)

If you pray, God will do the heavy lifting! Also, He will solve the problems that politicians struggle with endlessly. A noted prayer leader has described what typically happens after concentrated, united prayer:

Government officials are given wisdom and guidance. Businesses are blessed. Crime rates go down. Healthy churches impact their communities …

[D]rug centers have closed, prostitution rings have moved out of neighborhoods, bars have shut down, crime rates have dropped, fractured neighborhood relationships have been healed, suicides have been prevented, marriages have been restored, workplaces have changed … and individuals have given their lives to Christ.

– Alvin Vander Griend in Joel News International, No. 400-2

Freed of the usual programs and routine, simple believers like you and me can actually do such things – and more. We are even beginning to change the world’s political architecture:

The heaviest prayer-walking in recent memory was in East Germany in 1989, where groups of 10 or 12 were meeting in homes on Monday nights to pray for peace – some 50,000 people by October. After that, they quietly moved into churches and the streets. News reports said their numbers swelled to 300,000, and on Nov. 9, the Berlin Wall fell.

In India, Christians and dalits (“untouchables”) had suffered persecution and caste-based suppression for centuries. But as the 2004 election drew near, about 5 million Christians around the world united in prayer and fasting against the Hindu nationalists who controlled the government. Polls all said that the anti-Christian BJP party had an unbreakable lock on the nation. Everyone was stunned on May 13 when the BJP was swept from power and firmly replaced by the Christian-friendly Congress Party.

As Sherlock Holmes once exclaimed, “Come, Watson, come! The game is afoot.”

This is the megashift we’ve been waiting for, and in your neck of the woods, you’re the one who’s going to make it happen … if you’re game! Contact any of the intercessory prayer leagues at Prayerlinks Ministries and join the battle behind the battle.

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