Westcoast News

Does My Prayer Make a Difference?

By Sue Bowles,
Long-term Staff Member and
Grandmother to many at YWAM Perth


Our caring Father God is a communicating God who loves to speak to us and to hear us speak to Him.

Perhaps some of you have asked yourselves this very question: does my prayer make a difference? Whether it is a quick utterance under your breath or lengthy prayer session, be encouraged that God does hear. Not only does God hear, but He responds. Here we have seven principles of prayer followed by testimonies of what happens when these principles are put into practice and adopted into daily Christian living.

  1.  Jesus prayed and taught His disciples to pray.
  2. Who can pray? Everyone can pray; it is simply talking to the Father.
  3. Who do we pray to? We pray to the Lord Jesus by the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts by faith.
  4. Whose prayers will be heard? Anyone’s prayers will be heard whose hearts are made clean by repentance and forgiveness by the Lord Jesus. If we hold on to sin in our life, it acts as a barrier and our prayers are not as effective. We need to believe, praying in faith.
  5. How do we pray? We can pray alone, in groups of fellow believers, with a spouse, family, and friends. We can pray out loud, silently, sing out or write out and read.
  6. Why pray? Our caring Father God is a communicating God and loves to speak to us and to hear us speak to Him. Jesus is our example, and He prayed constantly to His Father day and night. Often Jesus was alone, or with His disciples, or in the synagogue or temple. He prayed for people as we are told to by Jesus. He wants to invite us into the hope and purpose for the whole world that Jesus came to give and make a reality in the lives of the whole human race. Now He invites us to be His hands and feet and voice in the world today, to be His harvesters and ambassadors.
  7. How has prayer impacted YWAM Perth in these busy, changing and at times difficult days? Founded on God’s word to Pete and Shirl to come to Perth, every decision and situation was prayed about before any action was taken. Many hours of prayer and fasting took place in the early days and ever since. Worship on Monday mornings has always been the springboard that launches us into the new week. It is a highlight because we get to gather as a family to worship, sing, praise, and adore the Lord and Saviour. We will pray for one another, or be led in prayer by the worship leader or someone who is urged to do so by the Holy Spirit.


Strength in unity

There is a 24/7 prayer chain that all staff and students are involved in that is planned for each quarter. We have one hour in the week allotted to us with a partner, so no matter what time of the day or night, there will be at least two people in prayer for the base and family, both in Perth and on outreach. I believe this is one of the keys to the unity, blessing, protection, and growth we experience.

There was a time when we had very few males coming to do Discipleship Training Schools, or joining staff. We were encouraged to pray for more guys – old and young to come. Today those prayers are being answered wonderfully!

From time to time, we are encouraged to pray for specific needs, like finances for our buildings, our next Megacities destination, and outreach teams. Housing was an urgent need that called for us to seek the Lord for His wisdom and provision when we were faced with over 200 new students arriving in ten days with nowhere to put them all! Miraculously, a week before the students arrived, the owner of a Backpacker’s hostel offered us their building to rent. Just what we needed!



We pray for our daily bread

Thanks is given for every meal we receive. I remember working in the kitchen and the staff member in charge started each day with prayer. The kitchen leader gave thanks for what we had in the cool room, but asked God, “Please may we have some fruit?” At about 12 pm, a truck driver arrived and asked if we’d like some mangoes. “Yes, please, we would love some,” we replied. The “some” turned out to be beautiful Bowen mangoes, enough for all of us to have a whole mango for lunch for two days. But that wasn’t all! “Would you like some more fruit?” Asked the truck driver. “Yes please,” was our delighted answer. The next day he arrived with a whole truckload of the most beautiful, top quality fruit that had been ordered for a big conference and not used. In the delivery was kiwi fruit, pineapples, strawberries, melon, apples, and more; the cool room couldn’t hold it all. What an answer to prayer!

On the topic of fruit, just recently we were donated 700 kilograms of Queensland bananas! Enough for all of us and the kitchen to have bananas, bananas, and even more bananas! We received so many bananas, that we could give extra away to the Salvation Army and St Bart’s – a home for elderly men.


Ministry fuelled by prayer

Every Friday afternoon the base “shuts down” and everyone goes out into the city and surrounding suburbs to share the gospel. This is demonstrated by praying for people we meet on the streets and making home visits to those that are sick or in need of encouragement. Before going out, we ask God where to go, who to approach and what to do. Week by week there are stories of answers to prayer for healing, salvation, or a friend invited back to the Friday night public meeting held in the auditorium. Many visitors have been prayed for and are blessed by God.

One of our ministries, called Australian Relief and Mercy Services (ARMS) focuses on serving people in the surrounding community. ARMS help people in their homes – from cleaning, gardening, encouraging, to doing whatever is needed. Over the years, there have been families and individuals who have been prayed for who have come to know the Lord Jesus, been healed and helped or encouraged in some way. Through the power of prayer, the teams gain the strength and wisdom they need to work and deal with difficult situations.

Priceless,” a ministry that cares for women who work in brothels, spend much time in prayer, seeking God on behalf of the workers. Sometimes Priceless is welcome inside the brothels to visit and pray with the girls, but other times they are strongly rejected with the door shut in their face. The ministry has been able to give some Bibles away to the girls – one Chinese girl was so thrilled to have her very own Chinese Bible!

Another important ministry, based on the principal of prayer, is Worship for the Nations (WFN). WFN often prepare the way for future outreach teams, by going to a location to pray, intercede and worship. Recently, they have spent time in Manila, Philippines – which will be our next Megacity 2017 outreach focus.

A team from our “Revive” ministry are back from a short, five-day outreach to Coolgardie, Western Australia. The team ran seminars at the Christian Aboriginal Parent-directed School (CAPS) on topics of relationships, how to make good choices and discipleship. They were much appreciated and asked to come back more often by the school leaders. Prayer has been crucial to the success of the growing relationship and openness with the Aboriginal community, as Revive continue to visit and serve. Revive spends most of their time up at work in the Kimberley area working with the young indigenous people and seeing Father God at work in their lives. There have been a handful of people from the Kimberley region who are here now doing a Discipleship Training School (DTS)!


Blessed to be a blessing

One of the core subjects taught, practiced, and experienced in YWAM, is hearing God’s voice. Other subjects include prayer and intercession.

It is amazing and wonderful what God does in the lives of all of us as we have been changed and enriched so much. Since I did my DTS 20 years ago, I have seen many people transformed and healed radically. Many, many go out into God’s harvest fields in answer to our prayers (Matthew 9:37-38).

If someone were to recount all the answers of prayer we have experienced and witnessed here in YWAM Perth, it would fill many, many books. Our Father God is so good, so generous, and so amazing; and way beyond words is His love, mercy, kindness, to us all! “Does my prayer make a difference?” I believe it certainly does!



This article was published in the
January 2017 edition of Westcoast News.

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