Let me get something straight. Prayer is to the Creator of all that is through His Son Jesus Christ. The prayers of the Old Testament which were answered by GOD were answered by looking forward to the cross in faith. They believed God, and it was counted unto them for righteousness.
In the reading this morning I read Joshua 9 – 22. There was deceit, fraud by the Gibeonites out of fear for their lives; and there was a failure to pray on the part of the Israelites.
“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” Joshua 9:14 (KJV)
The leaders of Israel looked and saw the food and drink the Gibeonites had with them, believed them to be a distant people, and made a covenant with them. Had they prayed they might have avoided a lot of headaches later on.
We see an example of a man calling on the LORD; Joshua in particular and seeing one of the miracles of the Bible come to pass;
“Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, ‘Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.’ And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.” Joshua 10:12-14
You will note that Joshua spoke to the LORD, and gave command for the sun to stand still. Now from a human point of view that would be impossible; but our God is not limited to the possible. He is the God of the impossible. That is, afterall, because He is GOD. This was due to one man whose heart was faithful in calling on the name of the LORD, and believed the GOD of the impossible made it possible. Joshua, by the power of GOD spoke to the sun and moon to stop in their course through the universe, and provide a few more hours to accomplish the work that was before them; and God did it.
The we see a couple of times when there must have been a lack of prayer and faith. When we are not given to the word of God and prayer; faith will be in short supply. The enemy will be most difficult to overcome; and we will find ourselves accommodating them.
“As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.” 15:63
and another time;
“Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.” 17:13
This is tied to the matter of obedience as well. Had they been faithful in prayer, obedience to the commands of the LORD, they would have been faithful to driving out the inhabitants of the land, destroying the evil of the land. In their disobedience they brought trouble into their camps.
There is a lesson here for the children of God today; the Christian, the follower of Christ. Rid your hearts and lives of the evil. Make no compromise with all that is vile and evil in your heart and life. Be swift at the destruction of evil within. Stay in prayer and the Word of God.
-Tim A. Blankenship