“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the powers of the world.” ~Karl Barth
In Exodus 17, Joshua is fighting the Amalekites at Rephidim. Moses has taken Aaron and Hur to the top of a nearby hill where Moses lifts his hands to God in prayer on behalf of Israel’s warriors. As long as his hands are up, God gives his children the victory. When his hands fall, the enemy prevails. It doesn’t take long for Aaron and Hur to recognize this. So they position themselves on either side of their aging leader and hold his arms up for him until Joshua and his army have defeated the foe.
Two pictures of the power of prayer are obvious here.
One, while the battles and skirmishes and fights are taking place in the valley, the real war is being waged on the hill. That’s where the ultimate outcome of the conflict is decided. God is the one controlling the entire situation. And his response is directly, unambiguously, related to the attitude and the practice of continual prayer.
Two, prayer is a team effort. It’s never just one person praying on behalf of the whole congregation of God’s children. It’s all of God’s people working together to lift up the arms of those who are weary, to pray with those who are burdened with the fight, to support those who love us and intercede for us with our own prayers.
After the battle with the Amalekites, Moses calls the place “The Lord is my Banner” because “hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord.” May our lives reflect a constant attitude of prayer to our Father on behalf of those in the fight.
72 days until football season. And my greatest all-time #72 is NOT the flash-in-the-pan Fridge. To me, William Perry stands for everything that has corrupted professional football. Mike Ditka’s single worst coaching decision was to allow Perry the TD plunge in Walter Payton’s only Super Bowl. Perry became literally and figuratively bigger than his team and larger than life.
The first time Jones ever played organized football was in college at Tennessee State. He was a 6’9″ basketball player! But the Cowboys drafted him #1 overall in 1974 and he dominated the defensive end position in the NFC East for 15 seasons. He still today holds Cowboys records for most starts (203), most games played (224), and most fumble recoveries (19). Opposing quarterbacks couldn’t see over him and couldn’t run around him. He singlehandedly changed the other team’s gameplan. He racked up 106 career sacks despite playing ten years before the stat became official. He blocked seven field goals, collected 1,032 tackles, and in his one year out of football to try his hand at professional boxing he went 6-0 with 5 knockouts! One of my most prized possessions is an autographed practice jersey that Jones wore during the ’83 season. It’s been washed. Too Tall Jones had one of the best nicknames in sports. And he’s the all-time #72.