In part 1 of Lessons From Jehoshaphat, I covered the first lesson of Humbly Seeking The LORD First as described in verse 3 of 2 Chronicles 20. When facing adversity, we must go to God first instead of trying to figure out our own way through the stormy seas around us.
Principle Number Two – Be God-Centered, Not Problem-Centered – vs 6-12
Obviously, when we have a serious problem or face huge adversity, we must tell God all about it – right? Well that isn’t King Jehoshaphat’s idea of prayer. In just seven verses in New King James Version, the king mentions uses the words, “You” or “Yours” no less than 18 times! Think about that, he doesn’t even mention the conspiracy of the enemies of Israel until verse 10. His prayer is God-centered, not problem-centered.
He starts out with praise saying He (the LORD) is the God of the universe and how He rules over all the kingdoms of the earth. Of course, this means King Jehoshaphat knows God is sovereign over him! He says “in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able t withstand You?” The king knew, God was in control and further, he knew his prayer had to be surrounded by the God of Heaven.
I find this so foreign to my way of praying and quite frankly, I have very rarely heard people pray like Jehoshaphat. I think I am correct when I say most of our prayers are a laundry list of things we are handing to God. If there is an especially difficult or scary situation facing us, we bring that up issue first and foremost in our prayers.
Praying a God-centered prayer is different. A God-centered prayer is one where He is the main subject. He is acknowledged as being supreme and His might and power are all encompassing. He is my primary focus and I must concentrate on Him and not on my problem.
When I pray a problem-centered prayer, it is not Him that is the focus, but my problem. In fact, I would make the claim a problem-centered prayer in many ways puts me the center. After all, often the problem or adversity I want God to address is something I’d like fixed or resolved so that my life will be better. It easily becomes about me.
This is a serious attitude adjustment for us. It puts God front and center instead of us. We are, of course, supposed to bring our petitions to God. But we must do it in a God-centered way, not in a problem-centered way.
I find this exercise is much harder to do than one would initially think. Most of us have prayed problem-centered prayers for so long and that is all we know. But try it. When you are praying about a problem or wrestling with an issue, turn your prayers around and see if you can begin your prayer like King Jehoshaphat, mentioning God early and often before bringing up the situation that has driven you to your knees.
Prayer is a relationship and God isn’t Santa Claus. Pray God-centered prayers and see if He doesn’t do some amazing things in your life.
Blessings My Friend!