Commentary: Prayer makes a difference


Leonard Ravenhill, the English evangelist, wrote, “The greatest undiscovered area in the resources of God is the place of prayer . . . at the judgement seat, the most embarrassing thing the believer will face will be the smallness of his praying.”

The Bible tells us prayer is important. God calls us to pray (Jeremiah 33:3). We also know prayer makes a difference in our lives and impacts the lives of others (James 5:16).

Billy Graham said, “We can change the course of events if we will go on our knees in believing prayer.” Our prayers make a difference, even when we don’t see results right away.

Jim Maxim of Acts 413 Ministries boarded an early morning flight as he had done hundreds of times before, but this flight was different. As he walked through the doorway, greeted by the flight attendant, he was shocked to see only one other passenger on the plane, a man sitting in the very last row. Maxim was dumbfounded at the completely empty jet.

He took his seat, and his simple prayer to start his day came to mind: “Father, in the name of Jesus please use me today to make faith come alive in someone’s heart, somewhere. Lord, please help me share your love with somebody today.”

His first thought was that God had emptied an entire flight so the man in the back of the plane could hear about Jesus’ love for him. He was so excited he couldn’t wait to get back there.

As soon as the plane reached cruising altitude, Maxim started to take off his seat belt and approach the man. Right at that moment, the flight attendant walked up and asked if she could get anything for him.

Maxim said, “No thanks.”

Then she asked, “Would you like some breakfast?”

“No, thank you,” he answered again.

Then she asked a third time if he wanted any juice or coffee.

Maxim started to get a little annoyed. After all, in his mind, he knew he had a God-ordained appointment with the man in the back and she was distracting him. Then, suddenly, it was if God hit Maxim on the back of the head and said, “It’s not him, Jim; it’s her!”

Maxim was stunned but recovered quickly and said, “I think I will have some coffee, and while you’re at it, I’ll take some orange juice as well.”

As she turned to walk away, he felt God’s overwhelming presence and was convinced he was supposed to share with this woman.

When she returned, she asked if he had his own business and he answered her briefly, but then transitioned to talking about the Lord:

“I’m very thankful for the way things have turned out and how God has blessed me with a beautiful wife and three sons.”

He noticed how carefully she listened and appeared to be reflecting deeply in their own heart.

He said, “I bet you have a lot of things to be thankful for, also.”

Right then, she stopped as if she was frozen in time. Her eyes closed, and tears started flowing down her cheeks like Niagara Falls.

“You have a mother at home praying for you, don’t you? It’s time to come home today. God has emptied this entire plane and rearranged the airline’s schedule just for you,” Maxim continued, sensing she had wandered far from God.

“You’ve been running long enough. It’s time to surrender to his love for you.”

Maxim shared she just kept on weeping, and he knew the Holy Spirit was working and her mother’s prayers were being answered right before his eyes.

It was one of the holiest moments of his life, he admitted. God Himself had reached down from heaven and wrapped His arms around this young woman and was showering His love, peace, and forgiveness. God’s presence was so strong.

He prayed with her right there and then, and she rededicated her life to Christ, promising to get back into the Word and into Christian fellowship. Maxim told her if God could empty a plane to get to her, He was more than capable of guiding her everyday life if she would just trust Him daily.

God will guide our lives, also, if we will prayerfully follow Him daily in 2023, and allow Him to use us to impact others. This mother’s prayer made a difference, and so can yours.


David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. Visit for more information or to view services online, and visit to see more of Chancey’s writings, including his new book.