'Unity is Strength' was the well-known watchword of the Trade Union Movement back in the days of my youth. But of course there's truth in this statement across many other aspects of life, the most important of which, let me suggest, is prayer.
COLLECTIVE PRAYER OFFERED
There's real power in prayer when collectively we come before the Lord to intercede over specific issues. For example, there's little doubt that in the dark days of WW2 a miracle was performed on the beaches of Dunkirk. Who would have imagined that as many as 330,000 allied troops could be rescued from what seemed the prospect of certain death as a result of the British people being called to unite in prayer to the Lord God.
But of course there are many instances recorded over the years when, on a rather smaller scale than this, God performed a miracle in response to the concerted prayer of His people. One such event is recounted by Historic Scotland in one of their publications, my summary of which is as follows...
COLLECTIVE PRAYER ANSWERED
In 1779 the privateer John Paul, later to be known as John Paul Jones,
and his men intended to invade the port of Leith. With his 40 gun warship 'Bonhomme Richard'
he led a flotilla of 'men o' war' heading for Scotland's east coast.
He had heard that the towns along the Forth had been left vulnerable after their
guns had been confiscated and taken to London following the Battle of Culloden.
He planned to take Leith and demand a huge ransom from its 'worshipful mayor
As his ship entered the Forth, local people prayed for a miracle. Among them
was the Rev Robert Shirra, Minister of Bethelfield Church in Kirkcaldy (the
church to which my family later belonged). He and his congregation gathered
on the beach at Pathhead, and turning his eyes heavenward he is said to have prayed...
'Now deer Lord, dinna ye think it a shame for you to send this vile piret
to rob our folk o' Kirkcaldy; for ye ken they're puir enow already,
and hae naething to spaire.'
Then out of the blue, the miracle came. No sooner had the prayer left the Minister's
lips than, in John Paul (Jones's) own words...
'...a very severe gale of wind came on, and being directly contrary
obliged me to bear away after having in vain endeavoured for some
time to withstand its violence.'
So let me suggest 2 important things we can learn from this example of prevailing prayer.
1) The Lord delights to answer the prayers of His people, especially when they come together to pray for particular issues. After all, with prayer there's power in unity...
'Is any one of you in trouble? They should pray.'
2) Not only can the Lord calm storms (Luke 8:22-25) He can stir them up as well!
So in all seriousness, let this story be an encouragement and challenge to us not to neglect meeting together for prayer. After all, our prayer can move the hand of God. But then I guess there's also a third thing... the Lord even understands 'Auld Scots'!