Pray Bravely in 2022!
Sometimes, just sometimes, I have the faith to pray prayers bigger than what I think could actually happen. But I want to pray bigger and bold prayers more often. I confess that all too often my prayers are linked and limited to what I consider to be possible. (E.g. I pray that my cold will disappear, when there is a pretty good chance that the body will heal itself). Perhaps I limit my prayers because I don’t want to discourage the faith of others, or have my faith overly challenged? I don’t think God minds that sometimes my prayers are so safe, but I do know that God would like me - and you - to be a little bolder in our prayers. A great example of a bold pray-er is Joshua. His story not only tells us that we can pray bolder prayers, but that sometimes, God will even answer them.In the book named after him, in Joshua 10, Joshua is faced with a particularly difficult leadership challenge. As his success and army grows, others are getting a little uncomfortable about it…especially, the Amorites. Five Amorite armies decided to join together to attack Gideon, a city that Joshua had just become allies with. The Gideons must have felt rather nervous knowing that five of their enemies were ganging up against them. Isn’t it often that way with us though? Have you noticed how some of the great enemies of our life seem to all attack at once? Gideon quickly and discretely gets word to Joshua and Joshua gets ready for physical and faithful action! Before we get into the epic prayer scene though, it’s worth noting that Joshua did three things that helped position him to be able to pray a big, bold audacious prayer:
1) He made a decision to honor his promises (vs. 6). He’d made a promise to protect Gideon, and even though he probably did not know that he would have to do it so quickly, he fought for and with them as he had promised. If we are going to petition God for big things, we must take responsibility to the small promises that we have made.
2) He made a decision to give his best (vs. 7). We read that he sent his “best warriors” into battle. When it comes to issues of honor and sacrifice, do we give our best or do we default to “just enough”. I believe that one of the platforms to have our prayers heard by God is more easily built when we are continually giving our very best to Him.
3) He was filled with confidence (vs. 8). God had whispered to him that “I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you”. Knowing that God was on his side, as He is one ours, makes a huge difference as we fight our enemies!
So, after doing these things, the battle commences. Joshua takes the Amorite armies by surprise throwing them into confusion (vs.10). The battle rages, but Joshua’s army are winning… in fact, they even get a little help from God who sends a vicious hailstorm down which kills more of the Amorites that Israel did (vs.11). One of the small nuggets from this hail storm is that our best warriors don’t even come close to being as powerful as God’s control over the weather.
However, as Israel moves towards victory it starts to get dark. This isn’t good news for Israel and Joshua. The cover of night would allow the Amorites to regroup or run away. So Joshua puts his leadership credibility on the line and prays, “Let the sun stand still” (vs. 12). He is asking God to defy gravity and the laws that he has put in place so that daylight will remain, and Israel will defeat the enemy so that God can get the Glory.Can you imagine praying such a bold, audacious prayer? It would be akin today to us praying for someone in a wheelchair to get up and walk, or for someone on their death bed to defy all our medical knowledge. But Joshua prays this crazy prayer and amazingly, God answers! Verse 13 simply states, “So the Sun stood still”… until Israel had defeated her enemy. There had never been a day like it and there will not be one like it again (vs. 14). But… WOW!
Joshua prayed an audacious prayer and God answered. After this prayer happened there were several results: The Israelites won, God received the Glory (vs.14) and everyone realized that with God, all things are possible.Joshua’s prayer makes my prayers seem ever so small and he challenges me to pray with more boldness, trust and faith. I am not perpetuating the notion that if we pray with a little more courage, boldness, or whatever the secret formula is that God will answer our prayers more frequently. However, there is a greater chance of God answering bold prayers if we pray them than if we don’t!
I would encourage you to take your prayers to the next level. Maybe you’re not ready yet to pray as boldly as Joshua did, but I suspect, like me, there is another level of courageous, audacious prayer that we can move to.Pray Boldly!