Prayer, among the faithful, is a powerful tool. It’s often used for thanking/praising God and for asking for God’s assistance in Life. As we’ve already seen, Joshua asks God for (and receives) some major assistance in the Battle of Gibeon (mostly Joshua 10). There, on Joshua’s command, God stops the sun and the moon so that the battle can continue in daylight. This is all wonderfully fantastical. There is, however, a verse that’s easy to throw away at the end of this story that proves a little tricky for believers who hold to intercessory prayer and the inerrancy of the Bible. After we’re told the sun stopped and that Israel “avenged” itself we’re told:
14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel! (Josh. 10:14)
Of course, we know that there are days before this where God listened to a human being. Moses seemed to (need to) intercede for the Israelites frequently. And everyone “knows” that God answers prayers today. So why would the Bible make such a claim?
The futility of asking the omnipotent master of the Universe to accommodate your wishes strikes me as arrogant, or at the very least, naïve. This is the guy who lives outside of space and time (apparently) and who has planned everything perfectly from the beginning. What on earth would make someone think that asking him (the perfect being) to alter his plan (the perfect plan) is even a possibility?