I’ve been blogging over the last few blogs about the importance of prayer. We’ve considered a couple aspects of Jesus’ prayer life including the fact that He began each day with prayer and then He gave His most critical concerns over to God in prayer in times of need. Another part of prayer that I was recently preaching about was the need to develop prayer partnerships. This is wonderfully illustrated in the story of Moses that is found in Exodus 17. In this passage the Amalekites have attacked Israel and Joshua has gone into the valley to fight against the Amalekites. We read beginning in verse 10- “so Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the mountain. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands – one on one side, one on the other side – so that his hands remained steady until sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekites army with the sword”, (Ex.17:10-13 NIV). Moses’ uplifted hands symbolize dependence on God. God protected Israel from unhealthy pride in victory by showing that the battle was won only with the divine aid and assistance of prayer. Our battles that we fight against spiritual enemies can only be won through prayer and yielding our lives to God. In our victories we should reflect on what God is doing in and through us, not on what we have accomplished. Joshua fights, Moses prays and both minister to Israel for the glory of God. But Moses needed the assistance of those who came alongside him, first to hold up his hands and then the find a way to put him in a position where his hands could be propped up so that he would not grow weary. Praying if done with due intensity is hard work. No spiritual leader should have to do this by themselves. If we have the mind and affection to seek the Lord’s direction we need to have others come alongside of us to help hold up our hands. We do not find Joshua’s hands getting heavy in fighting but Moses’ hands getting heavy in praying. The more spiritual any service is the more apt we are to fail if we do not pray. Perhaps an even greater danger is to trust in the arm of the flesh and think we can manage it on our own. The supplicating hands of Moses soon grew weary. The time of definite prayer is a testing time and it is here that we feel intensely our utter weakness and the need for supporting promises and supporting people. The stone was rolled into a position for Moses to sit upon and for Aaron and Hur to station themselves on either side to prop up his hands as he sought the Lord on behalf of Israel. Remember that even Jesus recognized the struggle of prayer when he returned from His prayer time in the garden of Gethsemane to repeatedly find His disciples sleeping. Remember Jesus’ words that, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”, (Mark14:38).
The promises of God never tremble. We may have weary and shaking hands but when we pray we have the unshaken God who neither faints nor grows weary. When two or three gathered together to pray we are doing spiritual warfare. Battles as well as blessings mark the course of the believer’s pilgrimage. Sometimes the Lord fights for His people (as He did at the Red Sea), and sometimes through His people (as He did in Exodus 17). But one of the most important things in ministry is prayer and cooperating with one another and praying for each other. This is critical so that people don’t experience isolation and loneliness in their service for Christ. In ministry if you isolate yourself you can get into deep trouble and many have. You have to have people around who are supporting you and holding up your arms in prayer. Not just praying for you but praying with you as well. Someone has said, “that there never has been a time of great awakening without a strong prayer base”. Let us seek to develop prayer partnerships so that we can develop a strong prayer base from which to fight our spiritual battles through the Lord Jesus Christ.
All for God’s glory,
Pastor Rich Sivo