|Theme: Focus on God in Prayer
|Focus on: Jehoshaphat
|Reading Portion(s): 2 Chronicles 20:1 to 30 & 17:12 to 19.|
|– Important Background Information|
|– Helps you find strength in God|
|What this article teaches you|
| We often focus on our needs in prayer. At other times we focus on other’s needs. But whatever be the needs the best moments of prayer come when the focus is on God. It gives us much strength even when we feel powerless. This happens because we focus on God who is Almighty.
Let us ask ourselves this question: In the face of overwhelming difficulties, how many times have we been able to focus on God in prayer? Not many times anyway. So we should learn to keep our eyes on God no matter what happens around us. We need not keep our eyes on the strength of our resources nor do we need to waver if our resources are too small. Both situations do not determine the final outcome if we focus on God. His power will do for us everything when keep our eyes on God and Him alone
Focus is very important. The photographer should know how best to focus his camera on the object and the archer or shooter should know how best to focus on the bull’s-eye. A lack of focus could mean a blurred or unclear photograph or it could result in missing the mark.
In prayer too focus plays an important role. If the focus of prayer is not right we may not get the desired result of prayer. Needless to say the focus of prayer is God.
We have an account of an invasion that King Jehoshaphat had to during his reign in Judah. Moabites and Ammonites and some of the Meunites had invaded the land with a vast army. Jehoshaphat did not know of the invasion until very late. When some men came and told him about the invasion the enemies were already in the territory of Judah.
Jehoshaphat was alarmed. His next response was not what kings usually did. He decided to inquire of the Lord. He also proclaimed a fast for all Judah. And the people came in large numbers to seek God’s help.
Then in front of the new courtyard of the temple of the Lord the king stood up before the people and prayed to God. He expressed the fact that since God is in heaven and rules over the kingdoms of the nations; no one could withstand Him. He also added that it was God Himself who dispossessed nations and gave it as an inheritance to the descendants of Abraham who was God’s friend. Then he used an argument by saying that in the land given thus to them they had built a sanctuary for God’s Name with the hope that God will hear them when they cried to Him in their distress standing before this temple.
The entire focus here is on God. Jehoshaphat first of all acclaims God’s great power and His hand in giving them the land they now lived in. Then he reminded God that they were now standing before His temple in the hope that God will hear their cry of distress.
It was after all this that the king introduced the immediate problem before God in prayer. He told God that the enemies were making an unjust invasion since they had not invaded their land when they came from Egypt. He reminds God that they are coming to remove them from the land God had given them as an inheritance. He wants God to judge them for this injustice.
Now we move to the climactic moment of this prayer. Jehoshaphat told God that they had no power to the vast army that was attacking them. He told God that they did not know what to do. Finally He told God that even though things were like that their eyes were upon Him.
Now Jehoshaphat had a great army. This the Bible very clearly records. Yet his focus was not on the number of army men. He knew that numbers don’t count. He knew that power was from God. It is something like this. A large football stadium may have a good number of floodlights mounted in towers in the four corners of the stadium. Yet in themselves they are dead. But when power is switched on they come to life and bathes the entire ground in brilliant light. And Jehoshaphat was looking for this switching on of power which came only from God.
He did not know what to do. So he kept his eyes focussed on God. This is a good example for us to emulate.
As all the men of Judah with their wives, children and little ones stood before the Lord, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel who was standing in the assembly. He told the people not to be afraid or discouraged because of the vast army. He added that the battle was not theirs but God’s. He asked them to march out against them the next day. He added that they need not have to fight the battle; but they needed only to stand firm and see the deliverance of God. Then all the people fell down in worship and some of the Levites stood up and praised the Lord with loud voice.
To our surprise we find that Jehoshaphat had arranged men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holinesss the next day. And they were marching in front of the army singing to the Lord. No king would dare to do such a thing. Yet this was his confidence in his God because his eyes were totally focussed on God alone.
God honored the king’s focus on Him. As soon as they began to sing and praise the Lord set ambushes against the army and they all slaughtered each other. The people reached the enemy only to find all of them dead. The plunder was so much that they collected it for three days. And on the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah (Beracah means praise) and they praised the Lord there.
Then led by Jehoshaphat all the people returned joyfully to Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with musical instruments. The fear of God fell upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard about this great victory God had given them. Then the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace and God gave him rest on all sides.
As we look back at this incident we find that the first step the king took when he heard about the invading armies was that he went to the temple of the Lord. The last thing we find him doing after the victory is also the same. The first time it was with fasting, the next time it was with great joy and jubilation.
The king’s prayer began by focussing on God’s great power in heaven and over the kingdoms on earth. It ended by focussing on their own powerlessness and with their eyes on God.
God was so pleased with this prayer that He gave them an immediate answer as to what they were supposed to do. And then He fulfilled His promise by destroying the enemies by giving them a great victory.
Let us keep our eyes focussed on God in our prayers. And let us also look forward to such great victories which God graciously gives to those whose focus is on Him in prayer.