Church, Exodus 17., prayer, Unity

Holding Up the Arms of Moses…

Ex.17.

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

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It is a great picture of Moses praying with his arms raised, and whilst he is praying the army is being victorious in battle, but when he tires and lets his arms down everything changes, the Israelites begin to loose the battle and everything begins to deflate and unravel.

I think my first point is that we need to first realize we are actually in a battle, this is a real fight with a real enemy… too often we don’t realize that we are in a battle, we are surprised when we stick our necks out for Jesus and get persecuted (even sometimes sadly from those who we thought were meant to be on our own side).

The other point to realize that prayer is not an optional extra, a bit of a garnish like a sprig of parsley, to our normal every day lives (nor a bit like a hobby), it effects everything, including whether spiritual victories are won or lost (I know before someone says it that the war was won with Christ on the cross) but there are many victories which I believe the church tragically offers Satan and the enemy armies on a plate simply because we aren’t praying!

I know what it is like to be like Moses, praying away with good intentions, but I know that I can tire and the good intentions get harder work and become more costly and sacrificial it is easy to simply stop praying, or praying less, or less passionately, or with less belief that God is going to show up.

The truth is we need each other to keep us sharp, to encourage us, to challenge us, to stand alongside us, to hold us up when we are struggling, this is a challenge in our massively individualistic culture, yet God wants his Church to be a community, living corporately… praying together and standing alongside each other. Proverbs reminds us that just as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another, Hebrews 10 urges us to ‘spur one another on’…

When we do street pastors, we always have a few people, praying for us back at base, and as all the rest of the Street Pastors team will testify, it makes such a difference when we are out on the streets knowing that there are people back at base praying for us.

I’d challenge us to get back up and start to intercede afresh like Moses did, and watch and not be surprised that our prayers change and transform the course of the battle, to keep praying even when it is hard, painful and tough and sacrificial (perhaps even ‘especially when it is hard, painful and tough and sacrificial’), to get other people to stand alongside you in those critical battle moments like Aaron and Hur… Also, I’d challenge us to be like Aaron and Hur to look out for those prayer warriors who are flagging; those brothers and sisters who are struggling to pray for themselves; the discouraged and despairing and stand alongside them holding their arms up for them…

What are we like?

I see things like this blog as like Aaron and Hur, that is coming alongside the Churches in this nation, where many have like Moses flagged a little, and we are challenged to stand alongside our tired family members holding up their sore limbs and support them with both our love, prayers and commitment to them, Christ and his battle.

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