Joshua: “Winning Prayer”

Joshua • “Winning Prayer”

Joshua 10

November 20-25, 2017

 
The largest recorded hailstone in the U.S. was nearly as big as a volleyball and fell on July 23, 2010, in Vivian,

South Dakota

. It was 8 inches in diameter and weighed almost 2 pounds. It fell to earth at the rate of 32 feet/second/second reduced somewhat by friction and collision with other hailstones. However, by some estimates, it is possible for a hailstone to reach terminal velocity of up to 171MPH.

 

When our boys were eight and five, they shared a bedroom on the south side of our two-story house. One evening we got one of those once-in-a-lifetime hailstorms. It ruined the roof, siding, fences, trees, cars and completely knocked out all the glass windows in their room. Scared them as much as it did me. Hail is serious business.

 

Outlandish. Impossible. Extraordinary. Audacious

. These are words that describe something happening that is not normal; something that is beyond the realm of earthly means.

 

On Friday, November 10, Maple Grove High School in Minnesota found themselves down 19 points with one minute to play. A couple of long touchdown passes with some onside kicks and the miracle happened…they ran in the final touchdown.[i]

 

 

Outlandish. Impossible. Extraordinary. Audacious. So how do these words compare to your prayer life? Do they at all?

What is the most impossible thing that you’ve asked God for in prayer?

 

 

Have you ever come before God asking for something audacious?

 

Preacher Hallock ( E. F. Hallock) who was pastor of First Baptist Church, Norman, OK for many years had a son, Edgar. Pastor Hallock wrote a book that is now out of print called

Always in Prayer

in which he tells stories about praying exciting and audacious prayers. One Christmas, Edgar began praying for a black and white puppy. His Dad kept telling him that there wasn’t going to be a dog, period. It didn’t deter Edgar. He just kept on praying for the black and white puppy.

 

On Christmas Eve the doorbell to the Hallock house rang and a neighbor had a little black and white puppy in arms. He said,

“Preacher, we have been unexpectedly transferred and have to leave in the morning. We cannot take our puppy with us and I know you are such good people, please give our baby a new home?”

Edgar got his puppy.

 

Years later when Edgar was a missionary in South America, he needed printing equipment worth more than $1,000,000 in today’s money for their Bible curriculum printing ministry. You won’t be surprised that God answered that prayer also. He got the presses.

Outlandish. Impossible. Extraordinary. Audacious

.

 

If you can find a copy of that little book, I encourage you to get it today.

 

Back to our story, I asked you the questions I asked you the questions about being

Outlandish. Impossible. Extraordinary. Audacious. because this week in Joshua you will discover that one of the keys to conquering the Promised Land was an outlandish, impossible, extraordinary, and audacious prayer by Joshua. Let’s discover what praying Winning Prayers

looked like in the life and times of Joshua.

 

Last week we learned that the people of Gibeon deceived Israel into making a covenant with them. Chapter 10 describes Gibeon as a great city with mighty warriors, so if fighting Israel was not difficult enough, five kings now had decided to attach Gibeon. In the first few verses of Joshua 10 a coalition of these kings became fearful because they heard of Israel’s peace treaty with Gibeon.

 

MONDAY: The Next Opportunity For Israel To Win God’s Way.

The coalition of Kings decided to isolate and attack Gibeon but news traveled fast in the land of Canaan and the people of Gibeon called on Joshua to come to their aid. It’s at this point that we pick up the story Joshua 10…

7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. 8 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.” 9 So Joshua came upon them suddenly, having marched up all night from Gilgal. 10 And the Lord threw them into a panic before Israel, who struck them with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 And as they fled before Israel, while they were going down the ascent of Beth-horon, the Lord threw down large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died because of the hailstones than the sons of Israel killed with the sword.

Joshua 10:7-11

 

Entering battle was never something that took place without a measure of fearfulness, so the Lord drew near to Joshua with soothing words of reassurance,

“Do not fear them…” Who was ‘them’? The coalition of Kings and their armies. Yes, there were a bunch of them and greatly fortified for battle, nevertheless, don’t be afraid “for I have given them into your hand. Not a man of them shall stand before you.”

These words should have sounded familiar to Joshua and they should sound familiar to you:

5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.

Joshua 1:5,

 

The Lord comforted Joshua NOT with a new promise but with an old promise applied to a new challenge. As a child of God, isn’t it so easy to become wrapped around the axle by searching for some new truth or revelation to help you in times of difficulty when what you really need is to find peace in the old promises and to trust them. When God makes a promise, it doesn’t change when circumstances change. Joshua was no different from you. You need to be reminded of the promises of God to help in your struggles.

Howsomever

, I bet you will notice how the Lord will take an old promise and apply it appropriately to your specific situations. Here’s a real life illustration from Pastor Kevin and Marcy.

In Marcy’s battle with cancer, which began in 2010, it was not a new truth that God used to encourage us, but rather an old promise that we had read many times before, but it’s application took on new meaning for us in the new trial we are facing. As we sat in the patient room waiting for her lumpectomy surgery to take place, we were reading our Bibles when Marcy read these words:

 

1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior

. Isaiah 43:1-3

 

We did not need a new truth, but an old time honored promise applied to the new trials and we still cling fiercely to that promise today. Joshua did NOT need a new promise but needed to be reassured by an old promise.

 

Encouraged by the reassurance of the promise of the Lord, Joshua and the army marched all night and launched a surprise attack on the coalition. Did you notice how the Lord caused the armies to panic and flee from Israel, but the Lord wanted them to know He was in charge, so He also stirred up a monster hailstorm that rained down destruction on the armies, but hitting ONLY the enemy armies. Think about the sovereignty of the Lord in that. The Lord sovereignly stored up hail for such events.

22 Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, 23which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?

Job 38:22-23
 

 

TUESDAY: Time Out for Prayer.

As the battle raged on and the hailstones continued to fall, Joshua did something very interesting. In fact, what he did might be the last thing anyone of you might think to do while war is raging around you.

12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” 13And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel. 15 So Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

Joshua 10:12-15

 

What does he do? While swords are being wielded and spears being thrown and hailstones falling, Joshua stops and prays to the Lord to make the sun and moon stand still so that the battle can be finished that day. Joshua PRAYS! However, he doesn’t simply pray, he prays Outlandishly! Impossibly! Extraordinarily! Audaciously! He prays for the Lord to do something only the Lord can do…make the sun and moon stand still.

 

Now let’s be clear this miracle has not been without its debate as to how it could happen.

 

There have been several hypotheses from human reason for this miracle other than the sun and moon actually stopping which would seem to indicate that the earth stopped its rotation. Some have said that there was a refraction of light that allowed for more sunlight for a longer time. Some have said there was a solar eclipse that took place. Others have said it was simply a special sign that the sun and moon stood opposite one another in the sky and others that the passage is figurative.[ii]

 

However, I have no problem believing that they simply stood still because God would not be God if He could not stop them and still keep everything running in the universe at the same time. What we do know is that what took place was so powerful that it was recorded in another extra-biblical writing called the Book of Jasher. You can get caught up in debating such issues and miss the entire point to the passage. Don’t miss the real marvel of marvels in this passage…the Lord heard and responded to the prayers of a man…Joshua.

The real marvel is that the Sovereign Creator of the universe heardand answered the prayers of His people.

 

If you’d like to read more on this topic, see:

http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1139

 

 

For you to win God’s way you must utilize the greatest weapon…

PRAYER

, because that is THE Important Thing in this story. I call prayer a weapon because that’s how the Bible describes it since this is a spiritual battle in the Promised Land where you live, work and play.

 

In Ephesians 6, Paul described the spiritual armor you need for the daily battle.

6 Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”

Ephesians 6:18

 

4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ

. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
 

 

 

You are in this spiritual battle in your Promised Land. There are all kinds of strongholds and arguments against the knowledge of God and His Christ around you. The only way those strongholds come down is through the weapon of prayer. Did you notice in our story what happens when you pray… the Lord fights your battles. What you need is instructions on how to pray winning prayers! Let’s explore some How Tos!

 

Living the Word Applications: To Develop A Winning Prayer Strategy You Will Need To…

 

 

WEDNESDAY: Pause and pray v. 12.

Right in the midst of the battle, Joshua dropped to his knees and spoke to the Lord. Let me be very clear. Prayer is not some magic potion or incantation. It is simply talking to the Lord. How often do you have a tendency to make prayer so rigid and formal and full of “churchy” words that you feel intimidated to pray because you don’t want to mess up.

 

Prayer is simply talking to the Lord and telling Him your need in the moment.

 

 

Henry Blackaby offers some principles for prayer:

 

Prayer always starts with God taking the initiative to invite you into where He is already at work. He calls you into relationship and invites you to listen to His voice. When He speaks, it always creates a crisis of some kind…choices to make that require you to adjust. God told Joshua to stop being afraid and He would fight the battle for him. When Joshua obeyed, the stored up hailstorms were unleashed.

 

Just remember to include these elements in your conversation with God…

Gratitude Identify the things for which you are thankful and express your thanks. Supplications for others in your world who need God’s presence and blessings. Call them by name. Then make your Outlandish. Impossible. Extraordinary. Audacious. Requests known to God. Then finally, learn to Listen

for His voice. More on that tomorrow.

 

The only way to mess up is NOT to pray. You never know where you will be when the battle comes with a trial or a temptation, so wherever you are in your in work or play and the battle starts taking place…pause and pray.

 

 

THURSDAY: Maintain Open Lines Of Communication…Learn to Listen v. 8.

In verse 8, Joshua heard the Lord say, “

Do not fear

…” We don’t know if he was in prayer in the tabernacle or his tent or simply walking among the troops. But what is certain is that he maintained an open line of communication with the Lord so he could HEAR the Lord’s voice. I think this is important because so much of your prayer time, like mine, is spent with us talking. Take time to listen for the Lord’s voice. Maybe it will come through His Word or maybe it will come through the Spirit’s prompting during the day. When you finish your times of prayer, don’t close off the lines of communication. Ask God to continue to use the world around you to show you His hand on your life.

 

Let me say it again, during your day, maintain open lines of communication with the Lord and listen for His voice.

 

 

FRIDAY: Pray Outlandishly, Impossibly, Extraordinarily, And Audaciously v. 12-14.

You are not to be people of fear, but of outlandish prayers linked to the promises of God. The promise of God reaffirmed to Joshua emboldened him to prayer and then to action. Joshua’s audacious prayer led him to be emboldened by the Promise of God. The old promises of God should reassure you and embolden you to advance God’s Kingdom in your life and in your community NOT retreat in fear. Five kings and armies, right? Remember 2 Corinthians 11:4?

“The weapons of our warfare…” Weapons

… plural, right? So, it’s not only prayer but prayer and the Word of God and a listening ear. The audacious miracle was performed because it was in the will of God to establish His people in the land.
  • What are you praying for right now?
  • Will you pray outlandishly?
  • Will you pray audaciously?

You can pray for the impossible because as Paul said the Lord is “able to far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…” I agree with Pastor Larry “Steven” Furtick Jr.,the Lead Pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, that maybe the reason we don’t see God doing more to advance His cause through the church is that we don’t pray audacious prayers like Joshua. Pray!

 

Here’s your challenge for this week:

What audacious prayers can you pray this week?

  • For your family – do you have a family member on a collision course with disaster and you don’t know what to do? Pray for a miracle
  • For your job – are you doing what you want to be doing? Do you need a new career path? Pray for wisdom to keep on looking for something that makes your heart sing.
  • For our nation – are you concerned about the great divide in our land that threatens our republic? Are you really praying for another Great Awakening? For healing among the factions that divide us? For peace to come to Asia and the Middle East? For Jesus to come back?

 

When you look at chapter 10, Joshua learned a lesson from chapter 9 where

prayerlessness led him to be deceived by the Gibeonites. Here he prayed and prayed Outlandishly! Impossibly! Extraordinarily! Audaciously!

. Here prayerfulness led to victory.

 

Will you pray outlandishly and all that other stuff…this week? Will you?

[i]

http://usatodayhss.com/2017/video-a-minn-football-team-scored-19-points-in-final-minute-to-win-the-craziest-state-playoff-game

[ii] Howard, David. Jr. The New American Commentary: Joshua.

Broadman and Holman, 1998. Volume 5. 241-245.