What an interesting 24 hours. Yesterday, I was begging for water, dry as a bone, not able to pray for others. Chatted with my dearest friend and she said she could understand. She also said maybe I had taken my laundry list of prayers to God for to long out of obligation, or feeling like I had to. "Legalistic" is the word she used.
And I know, when I have felt that inkling in the past - I rebel. So it has happened in prayer.
But this morning, as I was driving my girls to school - I heard a Chris Tomlin song and one of the lyrics said "And if Our God is for us, who can be against us? And if Our God is with us, who can stand against?"
The answer is no one. (Thank you Captain Obvious!)
At the same time, it changed my thought about my prayer issue. I went back to Joshua and read several passages that helped me understand what I need to pray for, especially when I can't pray.
Joshua 1:3-9 and Joshua 5:13-15
This is all about The Lord commissioning and anointing and encouraging Joshua after the death of Moses. It is great for men to read because I think it sums up what a head of household really should be doing (besides loving his wife like Christ loves the church and training, not aggravating his children.)
But what I find really interesting is that The Lord gives Joshua very little direction. The best guidance He offers is to obey His commands. God was in charge, Joshua just had to obey and shepherd the people in obedience. 3 times God tells Joshua to be strong and (very) courageous.
What that says to me is my job is to follow. I don't have to worry about knowing how to pray or what to pray or even what to say. My job is to follow His leading. Maybe I am in this season to learn this lesson. When I read this and then opened myself up to prayer - where He took me was a lot more about the leaders of BP and Transocean than it was about my own family. It was a lot of pleading for a miracle, for this natural disaster to be stopped or Jesus to come back - whichever worked for His plan.
And I can assure you, that is not what I intended to pray about.
This is the pre-game show for the taking down of Jericho. You know who shows up? The commander of the army of The Lord! Whether that is a theophany or Christophany or just an angel, I don't know. But I would like to think Jesus showed up to remind and assure Joshua of God's earlier promise. And that promise God gives to all of us - He will never leave or forsake us, He is always with us and His plan is greater than we can ever comprehend.
But there is that catch again - obey orders. Again, The General flat out tells Joshua He is neither for nor against Israel - His job is to fill in the details of God's plans. And fortunately for the Israelites, they were on His side. I guess you could say God was for them but really, they were with God.
I often have it backwards - prayer is not about making God be on my side. Prayer is about remembering I am here to fight in The Lord's battles. And as Watchman Nee, the early 20th Century Chinese Pastor put it about the book of Ephesians, I am here to "Walk, Sit and Stand."
I am to obey orders. And sometimes that means lifting other people up. Other times I think that means I need to let Him tell me what to pray for and let the other things on my heart rest in His Hands until He chooses to hand them back, so I can fight for them again. But it always means I need to be strong and courageous. In the meantime, He is fighting the battle, He has it in hand and NO ONE can stand against Him.
Just stand where you are today. Don't worry about the prayer list. Ask Him what He wants you to pray about, especially if you, like me, are having trouble in that area. Obey and thank Him.
If that is all you do today for Him - it will be exactly what He wants.