I don’t know what enemies you are facing in your life today. I do know, though, that many people feel defeated by the struggles that have weighed them down. There are times when those obstacles seem insurmountable. Impossible, we think. And in facing them with our own power, that’s true. Our true enemy, Satan, is a being with greater powers than we possess. But John reminds us that “... the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Our prayer text is 2 Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat was seeing the storm clouds of war gather on his borders. He knew that the enemies had the power to overrun them. It’s not very flattering for a king to be fearful, but he was. He was also a godly man, and he began to pray. I am sorry to give away the ending of the story, but God prevailed and these so-called enemies didn’t stand a chance when faced with Divine Power. God even turned them against themselves! When Jehoshaphat’s army went down to fight, all they saw were bodies laying on the battleground.
I’d like to tell you that when Satan is in attack mode in your life all you have to do is say a prayer and he will destroy himself. Sometimes the battles are long and rugged. But I did notice some things about Jehoshaphat’s approach to war against his enemies that might give us some encouragements as we pray about the situations in life that are causing us to lose sleep.
Jehoshaphat was afraid, and he resolved to seek the Lord. Then he proclaimed a fast for all Judah, 4 who gathered to seek the Lord. They even came from all the cities of Judah to seek Him. ~ 2 Chronicles 20:3-4
*Seek. Resolve to seek the Lord. I think we need to be careful about assuming what God desires and wants to accomplish in our lives. We are seeking His will … asking Him to establish His kingdom in our lives. Too many times we resolve to solve the problem ourselves.
“Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon.”
― Martin Luther
*Fast. Food is the central place of attention in so many of our lives. Even though it’s been around a long time, I still think it’s funny that there is actually a “Food Network” on cable. It’s on at our house a lot! We have food available on every corner and in complete abundance. In ancient times preparing food took more time, energy, and attention. Food was not for fun and celebration as much as it was for survival. Fasting … abstaining from food … is a key indicator to God that He has your total attention.
*Gather. What strength and encouragement is available when we gather together to pray over a matter of great significance to our heart. Gather your friends, brothers, sisters, neighbors, anyone who will pray and seek God together.
Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.~James 4:7
*Yield. In verse 12 Jehoshaphat confesses, “We do not know what to do, but we look to You.” I would guess some of you reading this today do not know what to do about some situation you are facing. Maybe it is bringing about fear, anxiety, stress, hurt … and you’ve been paralyzed by the prospects of dealing with it on your own. Yield to the Lord and confess to Him that you need His wisdom and help.
*Listen. God tells them not to be afraid. What is God telling you about your situation? Perhaps he is silent because you are not opening the Word and learning from Him. Sometimes God is silent because we have resolved in our heart to follow our own path. Listen to the words of Jesus about fear and faith.
*Praise. They worshiped God with faces to the ground. Some of the shouted aloud their praises. They kept singing their praises of God, His splendor, His power … giving thanks. The Bible says that it was when they began their shouts and praises that God went to work. Do you think that we haven’t been shouting our praises … and that’s why we’re wondering what God is up to?
The moment they began their shouts and praises, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir who came to fight against Judah, and they were defeated. ~2 Chronicles 20:22
*Receive. As they saw the defeat of their enemy they plundered them and realized blessings … so much so that the place was called the ‘Valley of Blessing.’ Right now you might be in a different valley … a valley of struggle or heartache. Exercise these prayer practices and you may find that 2015 will see you walking through the valley of blessing.
God hears our prayers and He will empower us to defeat the enemy. Keep on praying.