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Friday, September 6, 2019

When I Pray for Relief, Worship God First

In review of 2 Chronicles 20:5-6 this morning, I'm reminded of how “Jehoshaphat stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the Lord. He prayed, “O Lord, the God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are the ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you!” (NLT)

Upon hearing the news of on coming enemies, Jehoshaphat was terrified and begged the Lord for guidance. He ordered everyone to begin fasting, so that they could focus on God and reflect on their own actions. He then stood before the community at the temple of the Lord. He prayed recognizing God for who he is and his mighty strength. He remembered what God had done in the past for them. He then said they've come to stand in God presence where your name is honored. We cry out to you save us and we know that you will hear us and rescue us. The armies now approach us and we are looking to you for your help. Zechariah then spoke up, this is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid or discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God's. March out before them. You will not even need to fight. Take your positions and stand still and watch the Lord's victory. He is with us. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is with us. Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!. The next day the opposing armies began to fight each other and perished.

Life includes times when I feel like I’m in an impossible situation, when I feel like I’m being attacked from all sides. That’s what happened to Israel’s King Jehoshaphat, who prayed to God when he faced armies from three different nations. To get through those times, I need to learn how to model my prayers after Jehoshaphat’s so that I can get relief.

Jehoshaphat did three things in 2 Chronicles 20 that I can do, too:

1). Refocused on God. Even with my problem(s) looming before me, shift my focus to God’s character and promises. Jehoshaphat prayed, “God, you’re bigger than all the nations. You are bigger than anything I will ever face.” My problems may be too big for me to handle, but they will never be too big for God. Learn to change my perspective by shifting my focus.

2). Remember God’s faithfulness in the past. Jehoshaphat recalled all the ways God had worked in Israel’s past. Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past will help me trust him for the future. I need to recall the times God has worked powerfully in my life.

3). Request God’s help. Jehoshaphat essentially prayed, “My problems aren’t too hard for you, God. You’ve helped us in the past. Please do it again!” God loves me, and he cares about my problems.

Jehoshaphat’s prayer is built around three questions: “Are you not God?” “Did you not help us in the past?” and “Will you not do it again?”

When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I need God’s help. But it’s important to understand that God isn’t a vending machine who gives me whatever you want just because I’ve deposited a few prayers. God wants my worship first. I worship when I focus on him and thank him for his faithfulness. Then I can pray and ask for his help.

Jehoshaphat was faithful to worship the Lord and ask him for help, and God delivered him from his enemies. God will do the same for me.

In summary, God is ruler of all, powerful and mighty. No one can stand against him. I often face times when I feel like I'm in an impossible situation, when I feel like I'm being attacked from all sides. To get through those times, I need to learn how to model my prayers after King Jehoshaphat's so that I can get relief. Jehoshaphat did three things: First, he refocused on God. Even with problems looming before me, I need to shift my focus to God's character and promises. So learn to change my perspective by shifting my focus. Secondly he remembered God's faithfulness in the past. I too need to recall the times God has worked powerfully in my life. Thirdly, he requested God's help. I can know that God loves me, and he cares about my problems. When I need God's help remember that God wants my worship first. I should focus on him and his faithfulness. Then I can pray and ask for his help. 

I thank you God for speaking directly to me with your Word and this devotion. When I think of the things that are on my mind, it is a great reminder to shift my focus to you and your character and promises. I need to recall the times in my past when you have been faithful and has been there for me. I know that you love me greatly and care about what I'm going through. With this in mind; I worship you today. You are deserving of my devotion and faith. So I put my faith in you and rest in your promises. I ask you for your help, wisdom and guidance in handling all that is on my mind lately. You have never let me down. I need to stop thinking that I need to handle and manage all of this on my own strength. I pray these things through your Son Jesus name, amen.

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