How often have these words described your life; overwhelmed, alarmed, discouraged, perplexed, confused, or afraid? When you’ve faced adversity, how have you responded? How have you prayed when you’re surrounded and drowning by one or more of the above emotions?
In 2 Chronicles 20, the people of Judah faced a grave threat. No less than three different groups of people had conspired together in an attempt to battle the kingdom of Judah. The situation was bleak.
King Jehoshaphat does go to prayer and seeks the LORD’s help. His prayer of 2 Chronicles 20 is an excellent example of what Godly prayer really looks like. As a leader, the King is not only looking to protect his people from defeat in battle, but he seems to understand how we need to approach prayer, particularly when we are facing great difficulty.
I see no less than 5 Principles of Prayer from his example, as listed in verses 3 through 15 of 2 Chronicles 20.
Principle Number One – Humbly Seek The LORD First – vs 3
Right after King Jehoshaphat hears of the enemies of Israel conspiring together to attack him, he turns to God. What’s interesting to me is what he doesn’t do. He doesn’t take a census of his army or try to find out how many sharp swords they have. He didn’t call for horses to be prepared for battle, but he did call on God. Notice verse 3,
And Jehoshaphat feared and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout Judah.
The king hears of this bad news and turns to God BEFORE he did anything else. Further, he calls for a nationwide fast. Some would say this isn’t the time for a fast, this is a time to summon soldiers, do some marching drills and prepare for war. But not for King Jehoshaphat. He knew, if they were to survive this very powerful alliance assembled against him, he needed a higher power than any earthly army he could command.
His call was heeded as “Judah gathered together to ask help from the LORD.” The people saw their king, turn to God and humbled himself by fasting. One gets the sense most of the nation saw this as a threat and yet had great confidence in their leader. He demonstrated humility, asked them to join him in a fast and together, they all sought the LORD.
What is your first response when facing adversity? How quickly is the LORD sought when you are overwhelmed? I think often there may be a temptation to try to figure out a solution on our own before we bring God into the picture. This might be especially true when we are in positions of leadership. We may figure since we are in a position of authority and responsibility, we should come up with a plan. We may want to seek God AFTER we have a plan and want His blessing on it, but the plan is ours. Except I find that God almost never uses my plan.
Instead of trying to fix the situation on our own, our FIRST response needs to be like good ‘ol King Jehoshaphat and turn to God, humbling ourselves before Him.
This is not to say we must always enter into a fast, but I do think we are to be humble. Fasting has a way of humbling you – letting you realize how vulnerable you really are as just a few hours away from food, our bodies begin to complain.
This is only the first principle of prayer as found in 2 Chronicles 20. Humbly, seek God first.
Blessings My Friend!