1. Application

The LORD Listens to the Prayers of His People

Joshua 10:1–43 (ESV)

1 As soon as Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai and had devoted it to destruction, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them,

If we reflect further on our text, a question that should come up is, Why did the Lord choose to obey Joshua? Why did the Lord choose to answer his prayer? We know that prayer is not a magic formula; it’s not the case that everything we ask of God is granted to us. Many times our prayers appear to go unanswered, even though we pray in Jesus’ name. Our parents succumb to an illness; we don’t get that job we wanted; relationships at home remain difficult; our friends at school bully and hurt us. There are many things that we ask from our heavenly Father that he does not give to us. Why did the Lord answer Joshua’s prayer, and what can we learn from that about the kinds of prayers that God will answer today?

The New Testament tells us that the Lord wants us to pray according to his will (1 John 5:14). Jesus Christ taught us that we must pray, among other things, for God’s kingdom to come (Matthew 6:10). The Heidelberg Catechism summarizes in Lord's Day 48 what Scripture teaches on this topic as follows:

What is the second petition?

Your kingdom come. That is: So rule us by your Word and Spirit that more and more we submit to you (Psalm 119:5, Psalm 119:105; Psalm 143:10; Matthew 6:33). Preserve and increase your church (Psalm 51:18; Psalm 122:6–9; Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:42–47). Destroy the works of the devil, every power that raises itself against you, and every conspiracy against your holy Word (Romans 16:20; 1 John 3:8). Do all this until the fullness of your kingdom comes, wherein you shall be all in all (Romans 8:22–23; 1 Corinthians 15:28; Revelation 22:17).

It appears as if the Lord answered Joshua’s prayer because his prayer was in agreement with God’s will. In Joshua 10:8 the Lord promised to give these kings into his hands. Elsewhere in Scripture he promised Israel that they would inherit the land of Canaan (Joshua 1:2–4; Exodus 3:8), and he promised judgment upon the Amorites (Genesis 15:16; Leviticus 18:24–25). He has promised to destroy the works of the devil. Joshua’s prayer is in alignment with God’s will; therefore, it is a prayer that God delights to answer.