At one time, President Mikhail Gorbachev was riding the crest of popularity and great power as head of the atheistic Soviet Union. But President Gorbachev was only a man. And God says, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord" (Prov. 21:1).
Here is a most fascinating series of events and circumstances that our mighty God orchestrated by His great wisdom, compassion and power:
Our Russian representative living in the Soviet Union at the time, Dan Peterson, was teaching in a very prestigious school for the children of our ambassadors. Dan communicated with my wife, Vonette, and me that we should organize a 24-hour, 30-day prayer vigil and encourage Christians all over the world to pray for the liberation of the Soviet Union. Vonette was then chairman of the international Lusanne Intercessory Prayer Committee, a Billy Graham ministry to millions. She sent a plea to go out to millions of people all over the world, to pray that God would do something dramatic and supernatural to liberate this nation, especially for that 30-day period.
Russia had previously known 900 years of Christianity, but for 70 years had been under the oppressive, anti-God communists. We felt strongly led by the Holy Spirit that we should pray that the people of the Soviet Union would be liberated from their bondage.
Then with incredible timing, one of the most dramatic answers to prayer happened that I have ever observed. The 30 days passed and, miracle of miracles, the very first working day following those 30 days, President Gorbachev announced new freedoms through what was called Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (restructuring). That was the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union and the beginning of religious freedom to a nation of close to 300 million people.
There is no doubt that prayer literally influences men and nations in accordance with God's promises and purposes. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a similar burden and leading for our country or another nation or group of people. Maybe it will be China, South Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, or whatever. When He does, obediently step out in faith with it, pray, fast, ask, and keep on asking, and believe God's promises.
God will hear, and answer according to His own plans and divine timing.
Yours for helping to fulfill the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,