Impossible Requests – Praying With Purpose Series

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Praying With Purpose Sermon Series Part 2

Impossible Requests

Joshua 10:14 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.

Intro: We need to understand something extremely important. Prayer is how we accomplish the impossible. If prayer could not bring about the humanly impossible, why would we need to pray?

Prayer is recruiting the Divine, omnipotent hand of Almighty God to do what we cannot do.

When you think about it, not believing God can do the impossible through prayer is not even believing prayer works.

If God can’t do the impossible, why pray?

Why pray for something you can do, or someone you know can do?

Why even bother?

Prayer is asking God to do what is impossible for you and I to do.

Illustration: When you pray for God to keep you safe throughout the day, what are you asking?

When you ask God to supply your need, what are you asking?

When you ask God to save your family and friends, what are you asking?

When you ask God to do anything, what are you actually saying?

You are saying that you cannot do it without him.

This might explain why prayerlessness is one of the biggest sins in the church.

We don’t pray because we don’t need God.

Joshua prayed with purpose.

He wasn’t just one to pray for miracles just for the sake of it.

Three things I want to notice about Joshua before he asked for the impossible.

               A. Notice Joshua’s Hope

  • vs. 8 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.

Joshua knew before he ever even started fighting that he was going to win.

He didn’t have to waste one single minute worrying about the outcome.

He was blessed to know how the story would end before he even went to war.

God had already given him an assurance of victory, yet he still prayed!

               B. Notice Joshua’s Hunt

  • vs. 9 Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, [and] went up from Gilgal all night.

God had already told him the victory was sure – but Joshua didn’t go sit down.

He didn’t relax and let God fight it all alone.

Why? God had said “I have delivered them into thine hand…”

He needed to do HIS part in order for God to do HIS part.

Joshua came unto them suddenly. – he wasn’t dragging his feet; lollygagging around!

He went up from Gilgal all night – he didn’t even sleep. He went after them all night.

Who was fighting? Was it Joshua, or was it God?

               C. Notice Joshua’s Help

  • vs. 10, 11And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Bethhoron, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah. And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, [and] were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.

I love the way this battle is worded.

Watch what the Bible says in verse 10:

        1. God discomfited them

        2. God slew them with a great slaughter

        3. God chased them along the way

        4. God smote them

Watch what God says in verse 11:

  • that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them
  • they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.

Yet – Joshua was not satisfied.

When many people would have been rejoicing, Joshua was regrouping.

When many people would have been looking around, Joshua was looking ahead.

When most people would have been sitting down, Joshua was setting out.

Keep in mind – he had been up all night. – vs. 9

He had no doubt been up all day the day before.

Now, it’s getting late, and Joshua isn’t ready to quit.

He’s so close to victory he can taste it.

He prays a most unusual prayer.

I’m preaching about PRAYING WITH PURPOSE tonight.

He prayed in verse 12 for the sun to stand still.

Notice how verse 12 starts: Then spake Joshua to the Lord…

I. The Request was Unselfish

He didn’t pray for the enemy to drop dead so he could go to bed.

He didn’t pray for God to annihilate them so he could stop and eat supper.

He prayed for the sun to stand still so he could keep fighting!

He wanted the day to be prolonged so he could finish what he had started.

ILLUSTRATION: I remember so many times when I was doing a job and it got dark before I finished. I wanted so bad for it to stay daylight just a few more hours. One night, we went and rented lights and worked all night. Had a deadline and ran out of daylight.

But Joshua wasn’t asking for more daylight so he could make another dollar.

He wasn’t wanting to do anything but finish this battle with the enemy.

Notice what James said:

  • James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts.

II. The Request was Unreservedhe asked God in the sight of all Israel! – vs. 12

Many times, I’m afraid we ask for things in secret so if God doesn’t answer, we aren’t embarrassed.

He prayed in front of everybody.

That is faith!!

  • James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

It never crossed his mind that God wouldn’t answer his prayer.

God had already discomfited the enemy; slew them, chased them and smote them.

God had already cast down great stones from heaven and slaughtered the enemy.

Who knows – maybe Joshua was praying for the sun to stand still so God could mop up!!

Joshua making his prayer public was an enormous demonstration of his faith in God!

III. The Request was Unprecedented – vs. 14

  • Joshua 10:14 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.

Never had anybody ever asked the sun to stand still.

Never had anybody ever asked the moon to stand still.

For that to happen, the earth had to stop rotating on its axis.

In essence, he was asking God to move Heaven and earth.

Sometimes the battle you’re facing is unprecedented.

God is still able to do something that’s never been done before!

  • vs. 13 so the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.