When writing a post on prayer, it would probably seem right for the main passage to be something like “pray about everything” (see Philippians 4:6-7) or another popular New Testament passage. But, the New Testament isn’t the only place you will find prayer in the Bible. You just have to dig a little deeper.
You see, some passages require a little bit of work to discover the deeper meaning. This is what I discovered during my Bible reading a few weeks ago. I was reading through the book of Exodus when I came across chapter 17 verse 8 – 13:
Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.
Now, you might be thinking, where is she going with this? Those verses don’t even mention prayer…
Well, I, too, was a little confused when I read that passage. Why would God care about someone raising their arms and why did he let that determine who wins the battle? This just didn’t make sense.
Well, a couple re-reads and a few Google searches later, I finally started to “decode” the message.
I discovered that God didn’t really care about Moses raising his arms. What He did care about, though, was his heart. When Moses was standing on the hill raising his hands, what he was really doing was praying and crying out for God to save them from the hands of Amalek. Raising his hand simply showed his surrender to God and hope that He would indeed rescue them. Whenever his arm fell, it was from exhaustion, both physically and spiritually.
Basically, what Moses was doing was worshiping God. Praying.
Cool, right? Well, now that you know a bit more about the passage, I wanted to share a few things the Lord showed me through this text:
- We need people to come alongside us and hold our arms up
Like Moses, when we try to either live or please God on our own, we become exhausted. Christianity was never meant to be lived alone. We need people to come beside us and help us along the way. Sometimes we need them to be there silently holding our arms up as we try to win the battle, other times we need meek encouragement from the sidelines, and occasionally, they must physically turn our head toward the battle and practically yell at us to continue. Whatever it is, everyone at some point needs help on their Jesus walk. So, go find yourself an “armrest friend!”
- Prayer should be a priority
Notice at the beginning of verse 11 where Moses realizes that Amalek is going to come and try to conquer them: he orders Joshua to lead the troops in battle. He knows he’s going to need God in this battle and he makes sure to have everything prepared so that he can just sit there and pray.
Preparation is key.
And, there is no excuse for not praying. A lack of prayer either shows a weak faith or a weak God. Prayer should always be a priority.
- God is listening (and wants us to pray to Him)
God didn’t need Moses to pray. Whether or not Moses prayed didn’t determine whether God could save the Israelites. He always could. And it wasn’t that the men fighting in the battle could see Moses raising his arms. Moses wasn’t somehow encouraging the men in the battle with his arms up. It was God miraculously giving the men strength to win.
Sometimes we forget this. We think that praying is unimportant because God has already made up His mind anyway and that it won’t make any difference. Why would praying change that? Well, He simply wants to be asked. Asking causes us to have a heart of helplessness and dependency. When we pray, we are basically telling God that we need Him and that we trust Him to help us.
Remember, prayer doesn’t have to be flowery and poetic; it’s just you talking to God. So, I encourage each of you to spend some time in prayer today. God loves you and just wants to hear from his children. Don’t delay!