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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

Retroactive Prayer

"Before they call I will answer."
- Isaiah 65:24 NIV

While my husband, Joe, and I were visiting our son and his wife at their home recently, he leaned over and whispered in my ear, "I think I might have left the door on the coal stove open." This was not something I wanted to hear when we were miles away from our home. We use a coal stove to supplement the regular heating system in our house on bitterly cold days, and forgetting to close the door on it after the fire is tended could cause serious damage to our home. I silently asked the Lord what He wanted me to do, and I felt impressed to begin praying that Joe had actually closed the door on the stove before we left the house. Suddenly, I felt a wave of peace sweep over me, and I knew in my heart that everything would be all right. When we arrived home, we discovered that my husband had, indeed, closed the stove door, and we thanked and praised God for hearing and answering our prayers.

Not long before this experience, I received an email from my sister, asking me to pray about a job interview she was having earlier that morning. She knew that I would most likely not even read her email until after the interview actually took place, but she asked me for what she called "retroactive prayer" in the matter. I had been praying about this kind of prayer for quite a while, and I asked the Lord to lead me to some good teaching on the subject. Suddenly, it seemed like the subject of retroactive prayer was popping up all over the place. In fact, the very same day that my sister mentioned this kind of prayer, I received an email from a young man who writes me occasionally, which had a statement at the bottom of it that said, "Pray for everything. Remember there is absolutely nothing outside the reach of God. And since He is outside of time, it is never too late to pray about anything." Suppose that night that my husband and I were at our son's house I thought to myself, "It's too late to pray about closing the door on the coal stove. What's done is done. Nothing can change it now. Not even prayer." I would have sat there worrying, instead of praying and trusting God, and my evening would have been ruined. Not only that, but we might have arrived home to find our home burned to the ground, simply because I refused to pray "after the fact." I may never know for sure this side of heaven how differently things would have turned out that night if I hadn't prayed, but I believe in my heart that my prayers made all the difference. And it was a valuable lesson for me.

I read about an experiment that was performed on some patients with infections. The patients were randomly selected, and people who did not know them personally were called to pray for their healing. Not only did the patients who were prayed for recover considerably faster and better than those who did not receive prayer, but the study also found that even patients who were prayed for years AFTER the actual infection made speedier and more complete recoveries. How much more could we accomplish on this earth for God if we would consider the fact that there could very well be some truth to the power of retroactive prayer? Just today, I heard a godly man say that time and space cannot contain or limit God. Even His Word confirms this fact with statements like, "Nothing can hinder the Lord," and "All things are possible with God." (1 Samuel 14:6, Mark 10:27)

Some supporters of retroactive prayer cite Isaiah 65:24 (NLT), where the Lord says, "I will answer them before they even call to Me." I have cherished this promise from God for many years, but now I see it in an entirely different light. And I can't help thinking about how the devil and his evil cohorts would love to keep God's people in the dark concerning these matters. Scripture says, "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6 NIV) Let's not make the devil's job easy for him, but let's make the most of all the weapons that our God has given us, including retroactive prayer. The best definition of "retroactive" that I found says, "affecting things past." Let's seek the Lord about this powerful spiritual weapon, and discover when and how we can "affect things past" for His glory!

Prayer: Lord, give me revelation from heaven concerning retroactive prayer. Show me how to apply this principle to my prayer life in ways that please and glorify You. Thank You that as I make the most of the spiritual tools You've made available to me, I will walk in greater levels of victory and success than ever before!

- J. M. Farro


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