As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. Exodus 17:11 (NIV)
Some things only happen if someone prays and will not happen if someone does not pray. That is the intriguing message from this verse. If that is true, it is the most compelling reason there is for a person to pray – especially for the things we want to happen.
This startling lesson on prayer took place shortly after the children of Israel left Egypt and began their journey into the wilderness toward the promised land. They were attacked by a people called the Amalekites, and Moses sent Joshua out with an army of men to fight them. Moses, along with his brother Aaron and another leader by the name of Hur went up on a nearby hill to watch and pray.
Unlike so many of us, they had the enviable benefit of observing exactly what happened when they prayed and when they didn’t. It was like God Himself had engineered a lab experiment on prayer. Having the vantage point of watching from the top of a hill, they were able to see the direct results of their prayers as they surveyed the battle raging in the valley below.
It did not take long for them to discover that winning the battle was directly dependent upon their prayers. The problem was they had to figure out a way to enable Moses to keep from dropping his hands in prayer. So they “took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” (vs. 12)