Prayer and Praise – II Chronicles 20
I am privileged to write to you about an exciting Scripture in the Old Testament, II Chronicles 20. In this chapter, we learn a lot about prayer from the lips of King Jehoshaphat. He has his priorities in the right order as he prays to the Lord. Why do I make that statement? I believe this to be so because the main focus of his prayer is to praise God!
Have you ever been in a prayer meeting where someone prays on and on with a long list of requests and needs? (By the way, that was a rhetorical question!) Of course, we all have. The person goes on and on with this prayer and many times nothing has changed on the list. Somewhere along our journey, we have become focused on what we need or want rather than praising God.
In II Chronicles 20:6-12, we find that Jehoshaphat spends most of his time praising God for who He is and what He has already done. It is a powerful prayer focusing on how God has taken care of them and even if calamity comes upon them, they will stand in the temple that bears God’s name and He will hear them and save them. That is a prayer of confidence! Only then does Jehoshaphat make his plea for help and even in this plea he praises God for His power and admits his weakness by saying “we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You”. Wow! That is a powerful prayer. So many times, we come up with a plan, then pray to God to “bless” that plan. Obviously, this is faulty theology and we can learn a lot about how to pray through this fantastic prayer.
Following this prayer, Jahaziel stood before the king and stated: “Listen King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ ” Then he gives the Lord’s instructions in verses 16-17. Space will not permit me to give all the details, but they were victorious as their enemies ended up destroying each other in battle! Read the rest of the story.
I am glad that our hymnal (# 485) includes a song based on verse 15. Stanza 1 reads: “In heavenly armor we’ll enter the land, the battle belongs to the Lord! No weapon that’s fashioned against us will stand, the battle belongs to the Lord. We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord!”