In modern warfare there is no more effective strategy than “Close Air Support.” An ex-Air Force pilot in my congregation in California spoke to me about his vital role in war time. The ground forces would come up with a battle plan, but… one problem: enemy troops were in the way. Solution? Get on the comm and call in CAS! His group would clear the way and, at times, save their lives. And modern airstrikes are very precise. I remember watching scenes from the war in Iraq. An Iraqi tank was hiding under a bridge. A U.S. missle was able to destroy the tank and still leave the bridge in tact.
There is such a support available to the believer: Close PRAYER Support. James says: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Know someone who is sick? Call in the church leadership and get to praying. Know someone who is neck deep in sin? Better call in the CPS! “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
Hudson Taylor tells the story of how his life was turned around by the prayer of his mother: “On a day I shall never forget when I was about 15 years of age, because my mother was absent from home, I had a holiday, and in the afternoon looked through my father’s library to find some book with which to while away the hours. I turned over a basket of pamphlets, and selected from among them a gospel tract which looked interesting. I sat down to read the little book in an utterly unconcerned state of mind.
Little did I know at the time what was going on in the heart of my mother, eighty miles away. She rose from dinner with an intense yearning for the conversion of her boy, and she went to her room and turned the key in the door, resolved not to leave until her prayer was answered. Hour after hour did she plead for me, until at length she was constrained to praise God for that which His Spirit taught her had been accomplished.
In the meantime I had taken up this little tract, and while reading was struck with the sentence, “The finished work of Christ.” The though passed through my mind, “Why does the author use this expression?” Immediately the words “It is Finished” came to mind. What was finished? I replied. “A full and perfect atonement for sin: Christ died for our sins.” A light flashed into my soul by the Spirit, that there was nothing to be done but to fall down on one’s knees, and, accepting this Savior and His salvation, to praise him forever.
When mother came home a fortnight later, I was the first to meet her at the door to tell her I had glad news. I can almost feel her arms around my neck, as she said, “I know, my boy; I have been rejoicing for a fortnight.” You will agree with me that it would be strange indeed if I were not a believer in the power of prayer.” (Quoted by Robert J. Morgan in From This Verse, September 21st.)