When David stepped up to fight Goliath his faith was bolstered by his past experience of defeating a lion and a bear. Those earlier faith challenges were part of building up his faith.
We too can watch our faith grow as it tackles increasingly more demanding challenges. I want to share an example from history that clearly illustrates the progressive nature of growing faith.
Rees Howells came to prominence in World War Two, as an intercessor who prayed for and declared victories before they were ever achieved on the ground. Norman Grubb wrote the book, Rees Howells Intercessor, which documents many of the testimonies from this exemplary life. Others who were part of the prayer ministry have made their own records of the events.
Two examples of growing faith in Rees Howells’ ministry are encouraging and illustrative. In the 1920’s Rees Howells stepped out in faith to buy properties, for a Bible College and a school for missionary children. Those purchases were made by faith, for sums of 6,000 and 3,000 pounds. Then, before the war began he was led to purchase a third property, for Jewish orphans, worth 20,000 pounds. Each purchase involved much prayer and pressing in to God to provide, as he did not have the means to pay for them.
The earlier experiences of buying the less expensive properties prepared Howells for the huge 20,000 pound purchase.
Similarly, in his prayer ministry, Rees Howells moved from one mile-post to another. In 1940, when the United Kingdom was subject to intense bombing raids by the Germans, Rees was challenged to believe God that no bombs would land on his ministry properties and that all the people would be safe. This was particularly challenging for his property in Swansea, as it was close to a major target area of industrial activity. After much agonising prayer Howells was impressed to claim the Passover text, Exodus 12:13, “I will pass over you”. That gave everyone complete assurance that they would be safe. In the afternoon meeting of September 8, 1940, he said, “I could put it in print that no devil can touch anyone here.”
That, however, was just a warm-up battle in itself. Rees was next challenged to believe that God would protect the whole of England from the intended German invasion. Read these diary notes from the prayer session of September 12.
“We prayed last night that London would be defended and that the enemy would fail to break through, and God answered prayer. If we have protection for our properties, why not get protection for the country?”
Norman Grubb gives the following information in his book, Rees Howells Intercessor.
Mr. Churchill, the Prime Minister of Britain at that time, in his War Memoirs, gives September 15 as “the culminating date” in that Battle of the Air. He tells how he visited the Operations Room of the RAF that day and watched as the enemy squadrons poured over and ours went up to meet them, until the moment came when he asked the Air Marshal, “What other reserves have we?”. “There are none,” he answered, and reported afterwards how grave Mr. Churchill looked, “and well I might,” added Mr. Churchill. Then another five minutes passed, and “it appeared that the enemy were going home. The shifting of the discs on the table showed a continuous eastward movement of German bombers and fighters. No new attack appeared. In another ten minutes the action was ended.” There seemed no reason why the Luftwaffe should have turned for home, just at the moment when victory was in their grasp. But we know why.
After the war Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, Commander-in-chief of Fighter Command in the Battle of Britain, made this significant comment: “Even during the battle one realised from day to day how much external support was coming in. At the end of the battle one had the sort of feeling that there had been some special Divine intervention to alter some sequence of events which would of otherwise occurred“.
We see here that the Lord mightily used Rees Howells in prevailing prayer. But we also see that Howells was able to build on earlier skirmishes and faith challenges, to step up to more compelling and challenging moments.
Don’t be perturbed by the challenges facing you at this time. They are like the lion and bear which David faced. They are nothing to be sniffed at – dangerous challenges in their own right. But they are also just the training program for you to move on to being “mighty in faith”. Allow your present challenges to be stepping stones to awesome victories which God has in store for you.