There is an old TV show called “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” They ask you questions, each worth an increased dollar amount. Answer correctly and you are one step closer to a million dollars. Along the way you had a few “helps.” You could eliminate some of the options from the multiple choice, you could phone a friend, and you could poll the audience. John Carpenter, a Rutgers grad from Massachusetts, was the first winner! And get this, he was an IRS agent. Think he paid taxes on it? I remember watching it in suspense. The questions were crazy hard, but he had such calm. I, the viewer, felt more suspense then he seemingly did. If there was ever a “boss move” it was how he handled the million dollar question. When presented with the question, he straight faced and even-keeled asked, “I’d like to use my phone-a-friend to call my dad.” This is a life line reserved to help you. Contestants would pick really smart people to be their selected phone-a-friends. They get John’s dad on the phone and he says (as I remember it,) “Hey Dad, I don’t need your help. I just wanted to call and tell you first that I won a million dollars cause the answer is C, final answer.” (I don’t remember if it was C but you get the point.) And with that John Carpenter won one million dollars, like a boss!
We have a phone-a-Friend. We have help when we are in need. We have someone to call when there is a million dollar question before us. We have the Holy Spirit granting us access to Jesus Christ who is before the throne talking to God on our behalf. Jesus is my phone-a-friend. Y’all, why don’t we pray more? Like not just before meals, not before your kids go off to school, not just before bed, like actually living in a state of prayer?
I think there are three main reasons for a lacking prayer life.
- We doubt the God behind prayer.
- We don’t understand prayer.
- We are not on the front lines.
Let’s look at a positive example of someone who did understand these things and was able to pray something that was insane to the average person.
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.” 13 And 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. Joshua 10:12-14
I’ve preached sermons on this passage, books are written on it, so I am not going to try and unearth everything about this passage in one short blog post. But let’s look at it from the perspective of those three elements I mentioned above.
Joshua had experiential knowledge of God. He, formerly a slave in Egypt, saw God do amazing things. He knew of the seas being parted. He knew of the manna coming down from the sky. He knew of the plagues. He had first hand knowledge and experience with God doing the impossible. Remember that time Joshua took some dudes, marched around a city, blew some trumpets and walls fell down? So, where you and I see it as such a stupid prayer for Joshua to pray, “Sun stand still,” for Joshua it was anything but stupid. It was dependent, it was worshipful, it was GOD-reliant.
Think Joshua understood prayer? I do. He is in the middle of a battle. Joshua is a warrior, a commander, and a fighter. When faced with an impossible situation he could have relied on his army. He could have relied on military knowledge and strategy. He could have called in the generals some quick counsel. Joshua’s fall back plan? Call God. He promised us we’d have victory. I need some more sunlight for victory to happen. I’m going to God for help. He made the promise and with His promises comes His provision. Is it stupid to pray for a surplus when we have a deficit. Humanly speaking, yes. But have we seen God do the impossible before? Most certainly. Does God have a plan, purpose, and desire for us? Yupper. Where will provision come for the mission? God, through His people and whatever other means He chooses. Joshua knew the only place to go for help was God, and to God He went. He knew this as a habit. This was instinctual for him. There are a lot of lessons here for you and I.
Lastly, Joshua was literally on the front lines. He is fighting a battle which in the moment is the epicenter of historical promises. God promised His people the promised land. God personally promised Joshua victory in this battle. He was fighting the Lord’s battle. You know who didn’t feel the pressure? The soldiers that were back guarding the bags. The kids in camp. The only ones who knew the need were those on the front lines. You don’t feel the pressure to pray? Get on the front lines. You don’t feel the pressure to pray? Start trying to share the gospel with a coworker. You don’t feel the pressure to pray? Start moving on that God-sized dream. You don’t feel the pressure to pray? Give till it hurts. You don’t feel the pressure to pray? Follow that still, small voice from God you can’t shake. Those on the front lines know full well dependent prayer.
To do all of this moves us away from self-reliance to God-reliance. This is where we worship. Can you figure life out on your own? Sure, you seem like a smart person. But then life rests on your shoulders. Oh, pressure. You worship God when you go to Him in prayer saying, “I can’t fix this, they can’t fix this, God there is no silver bullet, I need you.” Who you go to in your time of need communicates worship. Think money is the fix? Think a person is the fix? Think time, location, etc are the fixes? God may use all these things, BUT IT ALL COMES FROM GOD. Therefore, God is the fix. We start the conversation with the one through whom all blessings flow! You are not the fix. God is. Self-reliance is what got us into this mess. It’s time to get on the front lines, praying big, God-sized prayers. It’s time to put ourselves in a position where we NEED God. Not just because we got ourselves into a pickle, but because we are desperately trying to pursue the will of God.
Church we’ve got a mission to attack. We’ve got communities in need of hope. I don’t need you. I need God through you. LET’S GO!
As you finish out the Daniel Fast, please go to dependent prayer with me, praying over these items. CLICK HERE
Keep praying for ONE, God is on the move. More passionate followers building more passionate churches. LET’S GO!