11 So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. Exodus 17:11-12
In the “Pentecostal” churches especially with their emphasis on spiritual enemies, we often hear of people being designated, “prayer Warriors”. That we should covet a reputation for being great prayers is wrong. That we should take prayer seriously and seek the prayers of others is vital truth.
God is more willing to hear than we are to pray . He does not need to be informed or cajoled into action on his peoples behalf. God in his wisdom uses means in accomplishing his glorious ends and his people’s prayers are one of those means.
God shows us in his word that He seeks for persistence and striving, even described as “wrestling ” in prayer.This is not always easy.
Moses with hands held high while Joshua fights the Amalekites down below .He wearies and when his hands fall, the enemy prevails. Eventually Aaron and Hur sit him on a stone and standing either side hold his hands aloft until the victory is accomplished.
Many writers in the past have seen in this story a “type” of what prayer is like in practice.
That prayer can be difficult is every day experience. That with all the encouragements and promises attached to prayer we should remain reluctant to pray is the sad proof of human weakness and remaining guilt. Too often it is at the last gasp that we turn to God in prayer. When we do come to pray ,distractions and discouragements get in the way and we leave off.
That God wants his children to pray and pray persistently is part of the training and discipline belonging to the household of faith.
Even someone as close to God as Moses needed the support of others when the crisis came. Our prayers for others and our praying with others is used of God in ways we do not understand .It is not just a ministry we take up when we are past doing anything else.
A Spiritual parachute
In the western world, we have even in this time of economic recession, many resources and stays that we can call upon in time of need. Whether it is savings, property or government helps, many have reserves to call upon. Unfortunately as things worsen more and more fall through the cracks and become destitute. The Christian must help where he or she can.
We may depend on our health and strength: We may live by our wits .What happens when they fail? All earthly stays and props fail. God alone never fails us.
The Christian must ask what “stays” they are depending on in life, what would we do without them? Is our Christianity a spiritual equivalent of a parachute that we resort to when all else fails?
We are called upon to make God our support and to rely on His knowing our needs better than we do ourselves. This is hard sometimes, we like cash in hand and money in the bank.
God will never fail us and faith in Him is never misplaced.
As my friend Rev. Keith Allen said about Jonah in the great fish, “God always provides accommodation, though it is not always four stars.”
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
God grant us grace to trust Him at all times even the worst.
Mark 6:39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. 41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 42 And they did all eat, and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. 44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.
As a picture this story is as profound as it is simple. A hungry people far from home with no immediate means of support , fed by a miracle from someone who had nothing material he could call his own.
Jesus was not above ministering to peoples earthly needs. He with his own hands broke bread and fish into portions that by his divine power became sustenance to a multitude. Even then there was some to spare and it was not wasted.
If this miraculous feeding of five thousand teaches us anything it is that Christ is still the one to take our needs to. Also anything we bring to Him is never wasted.
“The true Church has never sounded out public expectations before launching her mission. Her leaders heard from God, they knew their Lord’s will and did it. Their people followed them – sometimes to triumph, oftener to insults and public persecution – and their sufficient reward was the satisfaction of being right in a wrong world!”