I know of a family where the teenage daughter longs to have a relationship with her dad. The dad is consumed by work issues and unfortunately, his relationship with his daughter has been neglected.
The daughter wants so bad to have her dad ask questions about her life and show some concern for it. She wants to have him give guidance for her life, but it never comes.
Unlike this unfortunate kind of relationship between this father and his daughter, when it comes with having a relationship with God, He is so different. He is a good God. As a loving Heavenly Father, He longs to have a relationship with us. He offers His guidance and expectations for us in the Bible and through His Holy Spirit. Unlike an absentee dad who just says, “figure it out yourself”, God wants to come along side us every step of the way and have open communication with us.
Besides giving us the Bible to communicate with us, prayer is another main source of communication with Him. Prayer is a gift. It allows us an opportunity to talk with our God and honor Him, and worship Him, and thank Him, and confess to Him, and intercede on behalf of others, and to ask Him for His help and guidance in our own life. It is also an opportunity to listen to Him and allow Him to “whisper” to us and give us inner promptings.
Do our prayers matter? Certainly. Amazingly, the living God balances perfectly His love and wisdom in saying, “Okay and yes” to our prayer requests some times. At other times, He says “no” to our requests because He knows answering our requests in the affirmative would not be in our best interest. And at other times, He remains silent in taking action on our requests because its not the right time, for whatever reason to answer those prayers at that time. During these “silent” times, He urges us to trust Him and keep persevering with Him in our activities and godly disciplines, doing what we know to be right to do, preparing for Him to move on our behalf when the timing for our requests is perfect.
In looking at the life of Moses in our continuing study of Deuteronomy chapters 4-10, we see a man who clearly understood the reality of the importance of prayer.
Deut. 9:18-20 –
18 “Then, as before, I THREW MYSELF DOWN before the Lord for forty days and nights. I ate no bread and drank no water because of the great sin you had committed by doing what the Lord hated, provoking him to anger. 19 I feared that the furious anger of the Lord, which turned him against you, would drive him to destroy you. BUT AGAIN THE LORD LISTENED TO ME. 20 The Lord was so angry with Aaron that he wanted to destroy him, too. But I PRAYED for Aaron, and THE LORD SPARED HIM. (CAPS HAVE BEEN ADDED) NLT
10 “As for me, I stayed on the mountain in the Lord’s presence for forty days and nights, as I had done the first time. And ONCE AGAIN THE LORD LISTENED TO MY PLEAS AND AGREED NOT TO DESTROY YOU (CAPS HAVE BEEN ADDED) NLT
-Moses’ prayers are not the “5 second, say, grace before your meal prayers”.
Notice in verse 9:18, it says, I THREW MYSELF DOWN BEFORE THE LORD–this was a man of passion. This was a man coming in a desperate, urgent kind of way-desperately throwing himself before The Lord to do spiritual business. Prayer for Moses was a priority and an urgent thing to do. He was led to cry out on behalf of others because there was an underlying belief that his desperate prayers could make a difference.
Nothing else seemed to matter to Moses during this crisis time, not even his desire for food and water. Those physical cravings would have to wait because the matter at hand was dire.
Verse 19 said that he “feared the anger of The Lord, which turned against you, would drive him to destroy you.” Verse 20, goes on to say that “The Lord was so angry with Aaron, (the high priest) that he wanted to destroy him, too”.
Moses’s prayers at this time were “crisis” prayers. They had an urgency about them similar to what you could imagine if you were to witness a car accident. At that moment, your instincts would go into action mode. Your adrenaline would spike and you would make decisions quickly. You would move quickly to help in any way you could to alleviate the pain and suffering that people might be in.
That was the intensity I believe Moses had at this time. His relationship with God was strong. It came from 40 “quiet” years of in the desert with God preparing his heart and then God revealing Himself and His intentions to Moses. God first revealed Himself at a burning bush. After that, Moses would further experience God as he went through the judgements against Pharoah and the Egyptians.
Five takeaway kinds of quetions come to me from these few verses in Deuteronomy:
1) In light of the example of Moses, I have to question how intense are my prayers? How much do I understand the seriousness of what I am praying for?
2) What situations in my life, or in others’ are really so serious that they would become a priority for me, so that like Moses, I would come to God in desperation, even putting aside my physical desires (like eating) to cry out for God’s involvement in the situation?
3) I also have to question myself, “how well do I know God and understand the things that anger Him, the things that concern Him, the things that He desires? How much do I long for the things that God longs for?
4) how sacrificial and determined am I in praying before God? How badly do I want to see my prayers answered? Moses “threw himself down before God” and withheld satisfying his physical desires because he reasoned that His time was better spent praying for the needs of others.
– Am I willing to get up early to lift up focused prayers to God about the things that weigh so heavily on my heart?
– Am I willing to stay up late to pray about these things?
– Am I willing to do without food to pray about the things that I can’t get off my mind
5) God listens. Our prayers can move the heart and will of God. Verse 18 says that “but again, he listened to me” (and in verse 10:10 also) and verse 20, it says that Aaron’s life was spared, although Moses was perceiving that God was so angry at Aaron that he wanted to destroy him.
God listened to Moses’ prayers and withheld His righteous judgement against those people who acted in rebellion against Him. Moses’ prayers mattered and yours will also. We just need to do it.