In 1982, pastor Christian Führer began Monday prayer meetings at Leipzig’s St. Nicholas Church. For years, a handful gathered to ask God for peace amid global violence and the oppressive East German regime. Though communist authorities watched churches closely, they were unconcerned until attendance swelled and spilled over to mass meetings outside the church gates. On October 9, 1989, seventy thousand demonstrators met and peacefully protested. Six thousand East German police stood ready to respond to any provocation. The crowd remained peaceful, however, and historians consider this day a watershed moment. A month later, the Berlin Wall fell. The massive transformation all started with a prayer meeting.
As we turn to God and begin relying on His wisdom and strength, things often begin to shift and reshape. Like Israel, when we cry “out to the Lord in [our] trouble,” we discover the God who alone is capable of profoundly transforming even our most dire predicaments and answering our most vexing questions (Psalm 107:28). God stills “the storm to a whisper” and turns “the desert into pools of water” (vv. 29, 35). The One to whom we pray brings hope out of despair and beauty out of ruin.
But it’s God who (in His time—not ours) enacts transformation. Prayer is how we participate in the transforming work He’s doing.