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Week 3 February 2024, Devotion Part 1

But Moses’ hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat upon it, and Aaron and Hur held up his hands… Exodus 17:12

Here is a makeshift prayer meeting to delight the saint who is catching on to the robust flavor of authentic faith. We tend to reduce prayer to a softspoken ritual of piety. We use tired old phrases in time-honored sequence and expect the formula to be the workhorse that will pull the freight train of our faith. “Just” do this or that, God, we murmur politely, as if we were bothering Him in the first place. There is nothing like a rousing emergency to explode myths and spotlight authenticity.

 “All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages…” We had better shake our pious image of a neatly choreographed movement of the graceful people of God. Moses trudged back and forth among two million grumblers, malcontents, pregnant women, whiny children, shuffling seniors, and perhaps even some straggling rock hounds. We know that many of his charges liked to rub it in often how sorely they missed the good old days of cushy jobs and crispy cucumbers in Egypt. We wonder if an exasperated Moses ever let his guard down to let it slip out how desperately homesick he was for his sheep left behind in Midian. No doubt his boys had sweetly bleating pet lambs named Fluffy and Snowball. (Part 1 of 2)

Comment:  A group of pastors on retreat in the country discussed the importance of proper position for maximum prayer power. Three volunteers acted out the scene of our text to jumpstart the discussion.  A farmer walking in his field was curious about their chatter and snuck up on them to listen in.  After a while he had heard enough to make him burst into their midst with a blast of common sense.  “I once fell headlong into a well with my face in the muck,” he bellowed, “and in that upside down position I did my most fervent praying ever!”  James testifies to that by citing that “Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain…” (5:17). Since God uses ordinary people to work out His extraordinary ways , I need to relate an incident where my business-like brief praying led to a miracle. In 1990 my husband and I returned from a three-week trip to Switzerland and were met by son Peter at LAX.  It was Saturday night, all was well with home and pets, but his truck was stolen from our driveway on Thursday.  “At first I was mad, but by now I’m mostly depressed,” he confessed.  Fred went to church the next morning, but as bookkeeper of our business I stayed behind to look through piles of mail for deadlines etc.  First, however, I set aside a full hour of worship, Bible reading and prayer.  Then I was all business for much of the day, except for two interruptions.  In the morning God asked me if I would be willing to pray for the return of Peter’s truck.  In the afternoon the Spirit instructed me to pray that it would be “abandoned.”  Around 9 o’clock that Sunday evening the Arizona Highway Patrol called to say they had the truck, loaded with goods purchased on Saturday and labeled for Guatemala.  “It is a mystery to us,” said the officer to Peter, “what made the thieves ‘abandon’ the truck with the loot.”  My praying had been short and to the point, not fueled by emotion.  But faith and obedience are positioned to move God’s hand.


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