PRAYER: Testimony: Prayer Moves Mountains

By: Bruce Sidebotham <>
In 1991, among the four million native inhabitants of West Sumatra, only a small handful knew God through Jesus Christ. As communism once throttled freedom in Eastern Europe, an elaborate system of traditional culture, indigenous religion and social control insured the gospel could not be heard, seen or followed.

On July 3, 1992, four of us climbed Mount Merapi of Sumatra. This volcano is the center of many regional superstitions and legends. On top we prayed that God would bind evil, release his Spirit, and flood the anthill-looking villages far below with knowledge of the Glory of the Lord. On the way down, while we were crossing the crater and passing a few feet from the central gaping hole, the volcano exploded! It was the biggest eruption since 1976. A town ten miles away was blanketed with ash half an inch deep. Markets closed. The sky turned black so that headlights and street lights were used at midday. In seconds, we were marked for life by rocks the color of malleable steel. Since that time, the number of natives finding Christ, though still small, has been doubling every year. Tools like the New Testament and the Jesus Film are now available in the native language.

Jesus said that with the faith of a mustard seed we could move mountains, but this was ridiculous! Or was it? In a vision, John saw the "prayers of the saints" collected and offered to God on a golden altar. The resulting fire was hurled to earth in a golden censer. It caused thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake (Rev. 8:3-5). Paul says our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of evil (Eph. 6:12). Jesus said what we bind or loose on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven (Mt. 18:18). Could it be that prayer is a causative faith link between a parallel physical and spiritual universe? If faith can move mountains, and "is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen" (Heb.11:1), then a little true insight combined with bold intercession can change the world.

Back when William Carey, "the father of modern missions," first proposed the use of "means" to convert the heathen, his superiors told him, "When God chooses to win the heathen, he will do it without your help or ours." Of course God could write his name in sun spots or scrawl John 3:16 with stars, but he doesn't. Today we know that God crosses space, time, and language barriers by using us. But what about barriers of spiritual blindness (2 Cor. 4:4), strongholds of deception (2 Cor. 10:4-5), and enemies in heavenly places (Eph 3:10)? As God uses our service to accomplish his will, he also waits for our prayers to move supernaturally. Historically, great revivals and great breakthroughs are always linked to great prayer. Victory in the spiritual realm precedes every other victory. We can send, give, go, and even die in the needy places of the world like Bosnia, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia, but without prayer in faith, hope and love, nothing really changes.