A Good Way to Pray
Jehoshaphat’s prayer is what captured my heart this week as he seeks the Lord’s will when he hasn’t a clue what to do next. He simply puts all his cards out on the table and says, Lord, we don’t know, we don’t have any power, but You do, and so we totally look to You because You alone can save us. Let’s take apart his prayer and pick up a few pointers on his faithful prayer.
2 Chronicles 20:9-12 “O Lord, God of our fathers, (We have a history together, Lord. We stand on that history as we pray, increasing our faith by what you have already done for our fathers) are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. (You are the only God we know and your lordship reigns over every other kingdom and nation; so when we don’t know what to do about our enemies attacking us, they have to answer to You, too. They are under Your authority.) O our God did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? (It never hurts to remind ourselves of the history of deliverance we have been given as a people of God. We know how much God has done for our ancestors and can stand in faith) They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.‘ (My family called on You and You heard our cries of distress and saved us before. And besides, that temple bears your Name. So, we ask with faith, knowing the importance of defending Your Name.)
“But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. (We wanted to defend it before, but You wouldn’t let us, and we were good to them so today here we are with the enemy within our gate.) See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. O our God, will you not judge them? (When we have a grievance with others, tell on them to God!) For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. (When we are weak, He is made strong. When we acknowledge it is not within our power to do something, we release God to act on our behalf.) We do not know what to do, but our eyes are fixed upon you.” (THAT is a wonderful place to focus, when we do not know what to do. Just turn your eyes upon Jesus and look full into His Face. You don’t have to know what to do. He will guide.)
Then in Verses 18-19, the King Jehoshaphat bowed low and his priests praised the Lord. (Not a bad way at all to end a prayer!)
“Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voice.”
Then, Jehoshaphat proclaimed in faith in verse 20-21: “Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
“Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.”
(After praying, our faith is renewed and we can encourage others, praising the Lord, singing of all His splendor.)
“Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lutes and trumpets.”
(Good leadership comes from a prayerful man. After the victory, don’t forget to give God all the credit and sing your victory song in Him!)
And I close with something that isn’t funny, but it struck me as kind of funny. Ahab and Jehoshaphat were trying to decide whether to go to battle or not in 1 Kings 22:18 “The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?” Two kings sitting on their thrones. Jehoshaphat wants Ahab to inquire of the Lord about whether to attack. Ahab says, I have one prophet who speaks the truth, but he never says anything nice. Sometimes, the truth is flat inconvenient. Does that invalidate it? Does it make you mad at the person who says it? So many times, I want to hear only the good, not the bad. I don’t know if it’s just my nature or something in me related to the ostrich’s head in sand theory. It reminds me of that Jack Nicholson quote from the movie, “A Few Good Men,” “You can’t handle the truth.” Lord, make us able to handle the truth and to take heed when You speak, whether it is what we want to hear or not.
Join Bev and the rest of the gang here to reflect on this week’s Bible readings from Cover to Cover.
This is a beautiful song based on Psalm 91 in our readings this week. And for your listening pleasure, I just happened to find a version sung by Josh Groban.
Wishing you a week filled with His blessing and The Word made Flesh enveloping you in His peace. He loves you so!
I have to agree with Angie. You and Bev have such incredible gifts of insight when you read God’s Word! I get so much from reading your recaps!
It is NOT within my power to … so I definitely need God to act on my behalf! I better fix my eyes upon Him or I’ll go crazy in this world! I loved how you wrote this week’s insights! Thanks for encouraging me to stick with this chronological reading of His Word!
There is so much comfort and encouragement in praying “Lord, we don’t know, we don’t have any power, but You do”. Thanks for the song. I love Josh’s voice.
This post really edified me this afternoon.
I love how you broke down J’s prayer…so good…and a great idea to focus on the prayer life of one that depended on the Lord and not himself.
I got a giggle as well about the part with the prophet not saying anything good and I read it to my husband…it struck me as so funny and so true to life…I don’t know how I missed that before…if you ever venture to search my blog…look for the Movie Buff’s Guide to the Bible…it was something I had fun with in a writing class I took a couple of years ago(totally done in fun)…your Jack quote reminded me of that…
Have a blessed week…you always challenge me and other times you just make me plain smile!
Ok I want to know what the secret is- you and Bev both do it. You see scripture- and it seems to speak to you both.
When I read scripture- I try so hard not to be confused about what is being said- not to mention trying to pronounce the names, and places. I read what you read this week- even the prayer- and walked away from it confused, on how I could take that and find the lessons in it. Of course I saw the obvious. The sins, and the worshipping of Idols,etc- but then I struggle with- especially in the Old testament what it is I am to learn, and what I am to apply to my life.
Looking forward to hearing from you…
Your Sister in Christ-
Annette, what spoke to me from your post was your prayer, Lord, make us able to handle the truth and to take heed when You speak whether it what we want to hear or not. I needed that reminder this morning. There may be some more major changes in my life and I am not overly thrilled with the prospect, however knowing Who is in control does bring comfort and peace. Blessings on your day and week. Mary Lou
Wow this spoke to me 1 Kings 22:18 Wow sometimes we don’t like what God says… I just have to remember that he knows what is best for me, and if I do my will in stead of his I will be unhappy and things won’t work out the way Iwant them to…
You are in my prayers…
I had forgotten that I marked the verse “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are fixed on You.” as one to remember. (see the irony there?) That is definitely one I need to cling to over the next little bit.