IT’S HARD TO IMAGINE COUNTRIES LIKE NORTH KOREA OR SOMALIA CHANGING AS A RESULT OF PRAYER. HOWEVER, HISTORY SHOWS US THAT ‘NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD’, AND THAT PRAYER CAN CHANGE EVEN THE MOST IMPOSSIBLE NATIONS. HAVE YOU HEARD THESE STORIES ABOUT HOW PRAYER CHANGED THE WORLD?
In the 1980s, Open Doors launched a seven-year long global prayer campaign, where believers around the world committed to praying for the church in Communist Eastern Europe.
At the time, the prospect of the Soviet Union opening up to the gospel felt impossible. And yet, at the end of seven years, the Berlin Wall fell, and Eastern Europe was opened to the gospel. This incredible story gives us faith to pray big prayer for those countries that seem the most impossible to us.
On a visit to Berlin, an Open Doors member told his taxi driver that people in the West had prayed for years for the Berlin Wall to fall. The driver stopped the car and said with tears in his eyes: “On behalf of the Germans of Berlin, I want to thank you for your prayers; God answered your prayers!” He continues, “Now I am praying for North Korea. There are two Koreas, but God can make it one. I pray that He will open prison doors! He did it in Berlin and the wall came down. He can do it also in Korea!”
The communist regime in Eastern Europe was based on rigid control. The church was isolated and under threat. An Open Doors worker in the region explains, “Back then, the Communists did not tolerate Christians at all. Christians felt totally forsaken. One pastor in Hungary said, ‘No one knows where I am, not even my family. Thank you for coming.’ Then he cried and cried. The police had closed his church and put him under house arrest.”
In 1982, Open Doors focused on the Soviet Union – delivering Bibles to tens of millions of believers who did not have a Bible. This was backed all by a global seven-year prayer campaign.
And things began to change. From 1987, large numbers of religious prisoners were released from labour camps and prison cells. There in 1985 there were 340 imprisoned Christian believers. By March 1990 just 17.
In the same year, changed postal regulations allowed tens of thousands of New Testaments to be sent to believers and churches across the Soviet Union, and the gospel was spreading.
So, by November 1989, seven years after the prayer campaign began, it was clear that change was here. But the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, while the border guards looked on, was a dramatic sign that things would not be the same again. An Open Doors team member recalls that day: “My colleague and I got straight in the car and drove to Berlin to be part of that historic occasion. What a joy, what an answer to prayer!”
Which region will be the next miracle story?
Father God, help me to pray. Holy Spirit, guide me to pray for people and places and that need you most. Today, I pray for North Korea and Afghanistan - places where there is immense darkness. Father, will you bring light, hope and change. Strengthen secret and underground Christians. Bring an end to violence and injustice. I pray for tolerance and peace. Holy Spirit please be there. We know you can change even the most dire situations, we trust and believe in You. Amen.