Prayer to be Strong and Courageous (Joshua 1:9)

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Pray Joshua 1:9 for strength and courage!

God’s Word can be accurately described with many adjectives. 

Boring is NOT one of them!

Our focal text for this article takes place in a jaw-dropping scene that left me wishing you and I could go through the entirety of the first chapter of Joshua together, verse by verse! (Which is my preferred method when I teach, by the way!)  

In order for us to appreciate the gravity of the message the Lord God gave to Joshua at the onset of His mission we need to set the stage with a little context.

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The Book of Joshua: Opening scene 

God’s chosen people, the Israelites, were camping on the east bank of the Jordan River with their Promised Land on the other side.

The Israelites had been wandering in the desert for 40 years, they were finally in close proximity to their destination, and they were mourning the death of Moses, their beloved leader.

The Lord chose Joshua to be Moses’ successor.  

Joshua had big shoes to fill, and an enormous task to accomplish.

A few facts about Joshua:

  • He was one of the only two people still living who was an eyewitness to the Egyptian plagues and their exodus into Egypt.
  • Joshua was Moses’ aide for the last 40 years. He was equipped with on-the-job training from the best mentor possible!
  • Of the 12 spies sent years before to explore the Promised Land, he was one of the two who had confidence that they could conquer the land at the Lord’s command. 
  • The Lord appointed Joshua to be the new leader after Moses’ death; he was not nominated by the group, nor did he assert himself in this role. (Numbers 27:18-23)

Joshua’s new job description was enough to make any man shake in his boots! 

He was commissioned by the Lord to lead a group of over 2 million people into Canaan and conquer it. 

Joshua was assured of God’s calling and instruction, but that didn’t change the fact that the task ahead was daunting. 

This wasn’t a job for the faint of heart… NO task from God is – that’s equally as true for you and me today.

The Lord of Heaven provided instruction for Joshua to equip him for success, and the message He provided is also relevant to you and me today.  

Joshua 1:9 typed over sunset

God’s message to Joshua

The Bible verses in the first chapter of Joshua contain vital instructions for Joshua to apply in order to be successful. 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

This clear command needed to set the course for Joshua’s mindset and attitude as He walked forward in obedience to the Lord one step at a time. 

Centuries later, you and I can apply the same concepts to our daily lives when the Lord calls us to serve Him.

The pivotal place to begin is the answer to the question, “Who initiated the task?”

Whenever God calls a person to do something, you can be certain He’s equipped him or her to accomplish that task. 

Every time. Without exception. 

If God calls you to do something, His grace will enable you to accomplish it. 

This principle can be applied to anything that our heavenly Father would call us to do, regardless of how big or small (or even impossible) the task appears in our estimation.

Let’s be sure to think outside of the box and not limit our thinking to only include ways of serving associated with a church, ministry, or organization. 

ANYTHING God calls us to do falls under the umbrella of a God-sized task and requires us to lean into His mighty power, grace, and mercy to enable us to obey.

Here are just a few examples that quickly come to my mind – see if any of them resonate with you:

  • Befriend a specific coworker, neighbor, or acquaintance (who truth be told you’d rather avoid like the plague!)
  • Sing in the church choir
  • Extend grace to a family member known as the “black sheep”.
  • Go on a missionary trip
  • Lead a small group or Bible study
  • Raise a child.
  • Choose to have a servant’s heart towards your spouse

When we’re certain the Lord is the one initiating our steps, we can confidently move forward.

Two common struggles addressed in Joshua 1:9

I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced both of the following struggles more times than I could count. 


With every God-given assignment, the temptation to fear will arise. 

Consider the following ways we’re tempted to fear when God calls us to do something:

Fear of:

  • Failure
  • Persecution
  • Being hurt
  • What other people will think
  • Financial security
  • Rejection
  • The unknown

Examples of things we fear are indefinite and vary from person to person, but I can tell you as I wrote the list above I actually said the word, “Check!” after typing each one, because each one hits home for me!

If we focus on our own abilities and strengths, we’ll find ourselves under the weight of insecurity!

Our confidence cannot rest in our own self, but in who we are in Christ!

Fear is not from God, and it can be extremely intimidating and even paralyzing at the onset of any God-given mission.

This is, in fact, EXACTLY what the enemy sets out to do when he temps us to be fearful; he wants to prevent us from serving the Lord, and fear can have a profound effect on our effectiveness!

Fear can prevent us from speaking out and/or stepping out.

Satan wants to stifle our message and minimize our effectiveness, but once we determine to fix our eyes on the Lord, choose to not only KNOW what the Bible says, but believe it, and lean into His power to enable us to serve Him – Satan has NO authority over us, and he cannot keep you and me in any place to weaken our message or mission!

Our peace and confidence to enable us to move forward cannot rest in our own ability to overcome our fears but in the reality that, “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Josh. 1:9)  

When God calls his children to do something, His grace to sustain them will be extended in the midst of their obedience and surrounding circumstances.

Sometimes I think we’re hesitant to name our fears because we think we won’t sound spiritual enough, we’re afraid of what other people will think, or because we don’t want to disappoint God. 

Every one of the above is a lie, and we need to be honest and identify them so we can break free from the stronghold of fear! 

Incidentally, God already knows if we’re struggling with fear, so might as well be honest and bring that struggle before Him so it can be dealt with. He desires you to be free from fear just as you do!


Have you ever begun something God called you to do only to find the journey wasn’t exactly what you had in mind?

  • Maybe your task was much harder than you ever imagined
  • Took much more time, effort, and/or energy than you anticipated
  • Wasn’t as much fun as you had hoped
  • The results were not what you had planned or wanted

Once again, I can relate to each bullet point above!

It’s so easy to get discouraged in the day-in and day-out mundane as we chip away at obedience. 

It can be tempting to complain and whine – and it’s easy to make excuses!

Like fear, discouraging factors are real and in our estimation can be very valid reasons to contemplate throwing in a white towel of surrender.

You and I can be of good courage knowing that God is at work in us in the midst of our obedience.

The surrounding Bible verses in Joshua 1 offer great insight into the frame of mind the Lord was impressing Joshua to have; Joshua 1:7-8 reveals another crucial component of Joshua’s leadership instructions:

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be successful.” Joshua 1:7-8

The Lord was extremely clear:

  • Moses was to keep the Word of God at the forefront of his mind. Day and night. 
  • He was to be laser-focused on Scripture and needed to guard himself from distractions if he deviated his gaze by looking to the right or left.
  • There was a direct link from Joshua’s knowledge AND application of Scripture to his success.

God desires you and I to be focused on Scripture and allow it to:

  • Define truth
  • Direct our steps
  • Encourage our hearts
  • Seek the Lord’s direction, wisdom, and counsel

The above points from Joshua 1:9 regarding fear and discouragement were paraphrased from the Bible study I wrote, Wholly Devoted, p. 28-29

large boulders in ocean

Takeaway points of application from Joshua 1:9

  • When God calls His child to do something, He will always empower him or her to obey.
  • Our own strength and mental resolve will never suffice when it comes to serving the Lord. We need to pray and ask Jesus Christ to fill us with His strength and power as we serve Him and lean into the Holy Spirit who will empower and enable us to put one step in front of the other in obedience.
  • The mind is a battlefield. We need to be diligent to reject any false beliefs we’ve erected in our minds and replace them with the truth of Scripture to break free from any stronghold(s).
  • We need to have our mind focused on the Word of God and choose to believe what it says regarding who our God is, and who we are in relationship to Him!
  • We need to choose to walk in faith and reject fear.
  • God’s presence and power is with you and me today as we serve Him just as much as He was with the Israelites, centuries ago. We can embrace a stance of courage and confidence in Christ knowing “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”(Joshua 1:9).

If you’re feeling discouraged today, I’m asking Christ Jesus to pierce through your difficult situations and encourage you as only He can. 

If you’re struggling with fear, I’m asking the Lord to saturate your mind and heart with His peace.

pin image to be strong and courageous

Let’s pray…

Lord God, we come to you in the name of Jesus, humbled that you call us to serve you. Give us your wisdom and discernment to recognize the specific tasks you’ve called us to and help us to yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit as we serve you. Help us to keep your precious Word at the forefront of our minds, allowing it to direct our thoughts and determine our steps. Give us the grace to be strong and courageous as we serve you. We know and trust that you are faithful God to equip your people to accomplish what you call us to do, and any good thing we accomplish is because of you and to your glory alone. We desire to walk in step with your Holy Spirit as we serve you. May you be glorified mightily. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen

“In speaking upon the obedience which was enjoined upon Joshua. I would remind you that OBEDIENCE IS THE HIGHEST PRACTICAL COURAGE.” – Charles Spurgeon.

Joshua 1:9 is a powerful verse to pray for strength and courage.

Related posts to the message of Joshua 1:9:

Break free from a stronghold of fear of discouragement

Move from insecurity to security in Christ

Equipped for spiritual warfare

Living in a posture of worship

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  1. In today’s environment it’s difficult not to be fearful, thanks for the reminder that fear that can easily be overcome with Gods help.

    1. Yes, very thought provoking! If we’ve sincerely surrendered our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ we have the indwelling Holy Spirit which allows us to put one foot in front of the other, leaning into Him for His strength and courage to empower us in our daily walk with Him. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond, Jerry! God’s blessings to you. 🙂

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