Have you ever made the following statement: “I guess all we can do now is pray”? I’ve said it. Many times. It should go without saying that prayer would be a key to breakthrough, but oftentimes we see it as a last resort. Jehoshaphat didn’t.
Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said: “O Lord, God of 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. 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? 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.’
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. 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? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:5-12, NIV).
This is one of my favorite passages in Scripture. Jehoshaphat didn’t wait until there was no recourse other than prayer. He proclaimed a fast and then inquired of the Lord. He gave God glory by ascribing all power and might to Him. He acknowledged that God was the only One with the power and the only One with the answer. Jehoshaphat also acknowledged his own weakness and humility, saying that he didn’t know what to do, but he knew where to turn.
Key # 2: Prayer (For key #1, click here)
First, we need to acknowledge God as our only source of help. Before we share our problem with anyone else, we should take it to the Lord. Oftentimes, we go to others with our problems before we take them to God. Granted, there are times when we need to seek godly wisdom, but don’t forget we have our own personal Counselor, the Spirit of Truth.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16, NIV).
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26, NIV).
So many times I sit and worry and stress over a situation. Imagine if I put all that effort into prayer! Instead of trying to figure out an answer, we need to trust the One who has all the answers! In prayer, I get to release my worry and put my concerns in the hands of the Almighty One!
Second, we need to trust that God loves us and cares for us enough to work all things together for our good.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV).
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).
Jehoshaphat and his people were confronted with a vast army that they had “no power to face,” but they knew the One who did. And we can’t overlook the fact that verse 3 says he was “alarmed.” But out of that fear, he resolved to inquire of the Lord. He didn’t let the fear control him. Instead, he sought the One who rules over all the nations, including those coming against him. Jehoshaphat knew that God had a plan for him and his people, and he trusted God with that plan.
On your best day, you can’t fix a problem as well as God can.
So, if you are facing an army of problems right now, learn a lesson from Jehoshaphat. God may be just waiting for you to humble yourself and acknowledge Him as the Source of your help. Put your trust in the One who cares.
Don’t save prayer as a last resort when all else has failed. Pray now.