Summary: The prayer that moves God is one that seeks to honour His Name, fulfils His promises and bless His people.
Can you move God? Can you move God to do something?
• If your answer is no, then prayer makes no sense to you. It will not change a thing. It is pointless to pray.
• Yet God expects man to pray. Jesus calls us to pray. The Bible says we do not have because we did not ask.
• Even the Lord believes in prayer. God responds to prayer. We saw that when God responded to Abraham’s plea for Sodom (Gen 18).
Now we are going to see it again in Exodus 32, when God responded to Moses’ prayer. [Let’s read Exo 32:1-14]
God responds to Moses’ prayer for the people. Moses did not force God into doing something God does not want. In fact, his prayer realises God’s will.
• He echoes God’s heart. God is gracious and compassionate, slow to judge and abounding in love.
• How can we move God in our prayers? We see 3 qualities in Moses’ prayer.
(1) Prayer that SEEKS TO HONOUR GOD’S NAME Moves God
“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.”
• Anything that shames His Name, tarnishes His image, will not get His attention.
The context of Moses’ prayer is the infamous incident with the golden calf.
• Four months after their exodus from Egypt, Moses had left the people and had gone up on the mountain to meet alone with God.
• When he did not return, the people persuaded Aaron to make this golden calf and they worshipped this calf.
• It was not out of ignorance. God has just clearly commanded (Exo 20). It was a violation of the first 3 commandments – no other gods, no grave images, don’t misuse my Name.
God informed Moses – up on the mountain, not knowing what was happening.
Exo 32:7-8 “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'”
Exo 32:10 - And the Lord says, “Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”
Interesting thing is that God chose to share with Moses His thoughts. He could have just pronounce judgment.
• Why bother to tell Moses to leave Him alone? As if Moses was obstructing Him.
• Why didn’t He act on it? He’s God after all. What difference would it make whether or not Moses approved of this plan?
God did the same thing with Abraham (Gen 18) when He shared about destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham pleaded for the city.
• You get this sense that, God is not quick to judge. But more importantly, God wants to commune with man. He wants to hear man’s input.
• What do you think, Moses? This is what is happening. I want to destroy them and start afresh with you. You are their leader, what do you think?
This is our God. Such interactions are pictures of PRAYER. That’s what prayer is all about, when God and man engage into a dialogue.
• Prayer is not monologue; it is not one-way. If it is, we don’t need to talk.
• He is God. He decides and it’s final. Everything that comes from Him is a command. But that’s not a biblical picture of prayer.
• Abraham was able to move God. And now Moses too was able to move God to “change” His plan. (That’s how man experiences it.)
Prayer moves God. Our prayer makes things happen. Prayer realises God’s will. It does not correct His will, it fulfils His will.
• Treasure every prayer moment you have. Every word counts. Every request matters. God is moved when we seek to exalt His Name.
Moses’ prayer was admirable considering the fact that these people had not been very appreciative of him.
• If he had been thinking for himself, he might as well said, “Yes, that’s right. Destroy them and start afresh with me. You can make me into a great nation.”
• If Moses had a desire for personal glory, that could happen. But he prayed instead on the basis of God’s reputation with the Egyptians.
Exo 32:12 Why should the Egyptians say, `It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth'?
That was what moves him to pray. He was concerned for God’s Name.