Prayer in desolation

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?” (Joshua 5:13-14 KJV)

“Captain of the host of the Lord…” Where did He come from? What brought Him here? On the edge of the desert… A new leader… Forty years waiting for this moment and Joshua has the task of figuring out how to cross this river and take the first city in the promised land. A city that has high walls and looks on the outside to be a hard battle for their first. Yet the manna has stopped and the time to move forward has come.

Jesus early in his ministry went to a desolate place to pray after a full day (and a partial night) of healing each individual in what would otherwise been seen as a mass of people. A huge success. Everyone that was sick was cured. Everyone that was spiritually bound was freed of what possessed them. Simon is understandably curious as to why they would be moving on when everyone wants more time with Jesus. Even if their purpose is to preach the gospel, what is to prevent them from training these people and delegating the footwork? How in the world did Jesus get a conviction as clear as He clearly has?

“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” (Mark 1:35 KJV) A solitary place… Why desolation? What difference does that make? Think about this for a moment. Why do we pray? Is it to establish a direction? Is it to request power and supplies for a direction? Maybe later in the process, but why do we start praying? We need to know what to do next! Only a lunatic walks into that prayer closet with his list in read only format for God to “take care of”. We spend time in that desolation to remove the distractions, to realize the greatness of the capabilities of our God, and to see what His plan is for the next step or two of the immediate journey. It is in that prayer closet that we begin to understand the part about letting God’s will in Heaven become an accomplishment right here and now on Earth. As great as our plans are for a better way to manage this situation may be, it is often in the humility of surrender that we find out what He wants us to do next. The best part is that we can walk out of that time with our Father with a conviction and an excitement about that conviction that we are ready to get started right away. Even if it is a long walk to the next town. Is it any wonder that the armies of Heaven are ready and waiting to help those who earnestly seek the will and the action plan of God? …and some claim they have no time for prayer… Really?

“So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.” (Joshua 6:20 KJV)

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