On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said,
“Let the sun stand still over Gibeon,
and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.”
So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies. (Joshua 10:12-13)
This might just be the most radical examples of answered prayer recorded in the pages of scripture. The likelihood of the earth ceasing to rotate for “about a whole day” (ESV) is as likely as a couple of guys surviving a fiery oven or… dead folks being raised to life – it just doesn’t happen – or does it?
Bold prayer in my prayer book is praying for things that are at least within the realm of possibility, that is, things that are naturally possible. The problem with those prayers, at least from the perspective of bringing glory to God is that they can always be chalked up to ‘coincidence’ and explained away. I’m speaking primarily in the sense of how the unbelieving world might perceive answered prayer.
- I can learn from Joshua to be bold in prayer.
The other aspect of Joshua’s prayer that astounds me is his decision to pray such a prayer publicly. I’ve been hesitant to pray with my children over lost toys – what if we don’t find them? Will my kids be disappointed in God? Will it shake their faith? So I often find myself praying quietly in the silence of my own mind, I find there is much less risk to God’s honor this way in the event He “chooses not to answer.”
- I can learn from Joshua that bold prayers can be prayed publicly without fear of making God look bad.
How foolish my feeble mind is – to think that God would waste His glory hidden in the closet of my mind. His power and might exists to be seen, to be witnessed, and from that comes glory, honor and praise!
I’m not suggesting that this is formulaic. I’m not suggesting there is always a connection between praying both boldly and publicly and realizing the answer to those prayers. I am suggesting that there is a time and place that warrants this type of prayer.
Lord may I learn to pray boldly, publicly and unashamedly, and Lord help me know when and how to pray such prayers. Amen.