23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. Exodus 2:23-25
This is perhaps one of the greatest prayers in scripture. It is a prayer that moved the heart of God. The Israelites were buried under the hardship of slavery in such a fashion that their existence is marked by groans and sighs. They resided in a season of no relief. In fact, the oppression was ever increasing. It was out of this heart felt oppression and desire for relief that the Israelites cried out to God. This “crying out” was as an assembly in unison of burden. Their hearts were sincere, heavy, unified, and broken. God heard these earnest and genuine prayers. In God’s hearing, He remembers His covenant. The key to this passage is discovered in the remembering. This word has nothing to do with God being absent minded or forgetful concerning His obligations. The connotation here is about timing. The time had arrived. It is almost as if God determined the Israelites were now ready. The time had come – the people, conditions, and circumstances were right. It is following this prayer that God meets with Moses in the far side of the desert and speaks to him from the bush. It took the prayer of the Israelites to reveal the readiness of heart for God’s moving.
Here’s what I take away from this passage and that I find are appropriate principles concerning prayer:
Some of our most meaningful prayers are borne out of adversity. It is in adversity that we develop a greater God dependence and are more open to His working and moving. We become less self-managers and more God surrendered.
Sometimes God waits for the assembly to cry out. Whether the crying out is corporate or in individual unison, it’s the unified cry of the people that God heard. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe prayer can move the heart of God. I also believe there’s power in corporate prayer.
Sometimes God’s answer is beyond my circumstance or me. God’s answer would begin with Moses. Remember this murderer who was shepherding in the far side of the desert. God captured his attention through a burning bush and called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. The answer for those who were praying in Egypt wouldn’t be found in themselves.
This passage reveals the concern of God for our circumstance and for our future. God demonstrated His concern for the Israelites as His heart was moved to begin their future. Know that God is concerned and not ambivalent to your condition.
And finally, the greatest prayer lesson learned from this story is found here. God’s greatest moving and working is just a prayer away. Did you catch that! It is following the prayer of the Israelites that you find God’s plan unfolding and put into action. What are you waiting on? What burdens are you carrying? What do you desire to see God do around you and through you? Is there a church to cry out for? Is there a neighborhood to cry out for? Is there a city to cry out for? Is there a nation to cry out for? Cry out to God! God’s greatest moving is just a prayer away.