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Pressing Pause to Pray

Today's Devotional

[They] did not inquire of the Lord. Joshua 9:14

The fire hydrant gushed into the street, and I saw my opportunity. Several cars had splashed through before me, and I thought, What a great way to get a free wash! My car hadn’t been cleaned for a month and the dust was thick. So I fired it up and headed into the deluge.


It happened so fast. The sun had already beaten down on my black car that morning, heating its glass and interior. But the water from the hydrant was frigid. As soon as the cold gush hit the hot windshield, a crack struck like lightning from top to bottom. My “free” car wash ended up costing me plenty.

If only I had “pressed pause” beforehand to think or even to pray. Ever have a moment like that? The people of Israel did, under far weightier circumstances. God had promised to help them drive out other nations as they entered the land He’d given them (Joshua 3:10) so they wouldn’t be tempted by false gods (Deuteronomy 20:16–18). But one of the nations saw Israel’s victories and used stale bread to trick them into believing they lived far away. “The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace” (Joshua 9:14–15, italics added), unknowingly circumventing God’s instructions.

When we make prayer a first resort instead of a last, we invite God’s direction, wisdom, and blessing. May He help us remember to “press pause” today.

What decision have you rushed into instead of talking it over with God? What do you need to discuss with Him today?

Thank You, Father, for giving wisdom “generously” and “without finding fault” (James 1:5) to those who ask. Please help me to pause more to talk to You.


The account in Joshua 9 is known as the “Gibeonite deception.” The story is rather obscure, but the caution not to rely on our understanding but to seek counsel from God is seen in other Scripture passages. Proverbs 3:5–6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” The Hebrew word translated “understanding” in this passage refers to limited human discernment. Solomon’s prayerful posture is instructive as well. On the threshold of governing God’s people, he asked for a “discerning heart” (1 Kings 3:9). God’s answer? “I will give you a wise and discerning heart” (v. 12).

By |2022-05-29T09:06:11-04:00May 29th, 2022|
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