One of my favorite prayers in the Bible doesn’t even feature any words. It simply communicates action. In Ex 17:8-16, Moses prays on the mountain while Joshua fights in the valley. As long as Moses has his hands up in prayer, Joshua is winning on the battle field. Whenever Moses’ hands come down, Joshua is losing. What a powerful message to me about the importance of prayer. God has stated that He wants us to pray and intercede for others. When we do, it moves the hand of God in a powerful way on behalf of those for whom we pray. When we don’t pray some things do not happen for good on others’ behalf. This is God’s plan. He has invited us to participate in advancing His will and blessing. We don’t manipulate God when we pray, we participate in accomplishing His ends.
There are seven prayer factors in this story that we can relate to:
- Opposition (vs. 8) The Amalekites were in Moses’ and Joshua’s way. God has called them to advance His mission and inhabit the Promised Land. The Amalekites stood in their way. We all have opposition in life of one kind or another. In times of opposition, adversity and hardship, we need to pray for strength, guidance, faith and for God’s help. Moses did. What obstacles do you need to overcome? Give them to God and trust in Him.
- Fight (vs. 9) Notice that Moses and Joshua did not retreat, give up, or cave in when opposition came their way. Moses says to Joshua, “get some guys and go fight; I’m heading to the mountain.” Just ponder the imagery here and apply this to your personal life. One of the ways to fight is on our knees or more specifically in prayer. Both Moses’ and Joshua’s roles were indispensable – and both were critical. Many of us are in a fight of one kind for another. What fight are you in? How do you plan to approach the fight? May I suggest the Moses/Joshua plan? Simply move forward in prayer. Have faith in God and step forward as you pray. God is with you. God is for you.
- Team (vs. 10, 12) This leads me to the third prayer factor that jumps out to me. Joshua and Moses teamed up, but the partnership here goes beyond just the two of them. Notice their larger team includes Aaron and Hur and of course the warriors in the field. Question: Who’s on your team and whose team are you on? Who have you invited to pray for you and who are you praying for? Don’t do life alone. Face opposition and move forward in faith with a team of folks praying for you. Build a prayer team or join one of the many LifeGroups here at BCA (which is an instant prayer team, btw). Let’s do life together by praying for one another.
- Belief (vs. 10) Moses and Joshua believed in the power of God and in the power of prayer. We need to do the same. Have faith in God and His mighty power and believe in the power of prayer. Barna says the average Christian spends less than 59 seconds a day in prayer and most don’t have a prayer plan. As we begin this new year, develop a prayer plan and a daily devotional plan to grow and strengthen your spiritual life. I’ve included a couple of practical ideas below that you might consider.
- Power (vs. 11) When Moses lifted his hands it was a symbolic appeal to God for help and enablement. He believed in God, God’s power, His need for God, and in the power of prayer to move the hand of God. What do you believe about God? What do you believe about His power? What do you believe about prayer? We can believe in the God of Moses and Joshua, the God of Scripture. Trust Him. Entrust your burdens and needs and family and challenges to Him. Allow Him to strengthen you and grow you and help you and guide you. He is a powerful God worthy of our worship and obedience and trust.
- Victory (vs. 13) “So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” So did Joshua win the battle? Or was it Moses on the mountain that was the key to victory? Or both? Ultimately it was God who won but they both had a part to play. Herein lies a powerful application for you and me. In God’s Kingdom and in His wisdom, He has allowed us and invited us to be active participants in advancing His Will. It is very clear in this story that Joshua and Moses both had a role to play (as did Aaron and Hur and the warriors in the field of battle). God has a role for you and me, too, and part of it includes us praying for others. Others depend on our prayers. Pray for your kids, spouse, family, extended family, friends, church, and more. Where do you need to see victory in your life? Where do others near and dear to you need to see victory in their lives? Pray about it and ask God to also reveal what additional role He may want you to play.
- Gratitude (14-16) Moses built an altar to commemorate the mighty victory. “The Lord is my banner, protector and deliverer,” Moses said for all to hear and remember. God was there for Moses and Joshua and Israel and He will be there for you and me. Stop for a moment and thank Him for all He has already done for you. Have an attitude of gratitude and allow His faithfulness in the past to build your faith in His provision and grace for the future. As you move forward in this young new year, be grateful for His goodness in years gone by. Be thankful, remember and never forget.
Never underestimate the power of prayer and the need others have for us to be in their corner…through prayer. Ask God to help you step up your prayer focus in 2019.