C) The Needed Substance of Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:5-13)   

Prayer is where our trust is given to God.

Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD before the new court, and he said, “O LORD, the God of our fathers, art Thou not God in the heavens? And art Thou not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Thy hand so that no one can stand against Thee.

 “Didst Thou not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Thy people Israel, and give it to the descendants of Abraham Thy friend forever? And they lived in it, and have built Thee a sanctuary there for Thy name, saying, ‘Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before Thee (for Thy name is in this house) and cry to Thee in our distress, and Thou wilt hear and deliver us.’

  “And now behold, the sons of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom Thou didst not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt (they turned aside from them and did not destroy them), behold how they are rewarding us, by coming to drive us out from Thy possession which Thou hast given us as an inheritance. O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on Thee.” And all Judah was standing before the LORD, with their infants, their wives, and their children (2 Chronicles 20:5-13).

Our focus for this month is prayer. For our church to be a church where God in His full power, glory and love is seen, we need to be a praying church. It grieves me now how few churches actually have prayer meetings. It is even worse when we see how most Christians pray when they do pray. They are often self-focused on meeting their own needs. We can expect this from a small child but how long until we start think of our neighbors and the needs of others. In verses 5-13 we find the king’s prayer. It is an amazing prayer to study. We are not suggesting that your prayer needs to imitate his to be good but good prayers will have some similar characteristics to his. Again, when alarm comes to our lives, our prayers often improve in their quality. How? Let’s look.

1) Our prayers are based on faith (20:5-9).

I am amazed at how many prayers not borne of faith arise from our lips. By this I mean prayers that aren’t real prayers. We just say prayers. We are not sure if anyone is listening. We are not sure our prayers will make any difference. We might read a prayer or make up one, but the distinguishing factor of religious prayers is that they lack faith. We don’t really believe we are talking to God or that God is listening. Let’s contrast this with Jehoshaphat’s prayer.

“O LORD, the God of our fathers, art Thou not God in the heavens? And art Thou not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Thy hand so that no one can stand against Thee. Didst Thou not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Thy people Israel, and give it to the descendants of Abraham Thy friend forever? And they lived in it, and have built Thee a sanctuary there for Thy name, saying, ‘Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before Thee (for Thy name is in this house) and cry to Thee in our distress, and Thou wilt hear and deliver us.’(2 Chronicles 20:5-9).

He was speaking to God. We note this by the ‘You’ he uses to address God. We can also sense his faith when he wrestles with God. “Didn’t you say this God?” We don’t talk like this unless we believe we are actually talking to someone.

(2) Our prayers are based on the promises of God (20:5-9).

Looking at the same verses we see the king declaring what the scriptures state. He states what God has done. Look in the book of Judges. We see that in verse 8 he is referring to Solomon’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 6-7. He has confidence that God will hear because He knows God’s Word.

So many of us neglect serious reading of God’s Word. Then when you run into trouble, you turn to the scriptures. That is fine of course but the scriptures need to be in you before the testing. In the king’s case he already established his faith and knowledge of the living God. Otherwise Satan brings all these doubts into your mind, “If God really cared for me, He wouldn’t ….” Did you ever have those thoughts enter your mind. That is a temptation the evil one has his spiritual troops whisper in your ear. Another one might be, “You’re a fool. God doesn’t really exist anyway.” Can you see how these thoughts would hold you back from crying out to God. But if you have the scriptures in your heart, you use the words of God to pray.

(3) Our prayers are concerned with the will of God (20:10-13).

Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.Jesus led His disciples to pray, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Those that come to God in genuine prayer must realize that they really want God’s will. Witchcraft is when we use different devices including prayers to get something God doesn’t want. They try to manipulate God to get their will done. True prayers really want God’s will done. We can only do this when we come to the cross. It is here that we can truly meet God and trust in His love. We see our foolish resistance of His will and purpose of our lives. We confess our sins and ask Him to forgive us in Christ’s Name. It is here we in Christ seek out God’s will. We find our purpose in doing His will for this is the reason we were made.

As I was preparing this message, a friend sent me a prayer letter. He said,

At church last Sunday, the estranged wife asked my wife for forgiveness for speaking unkindly to her. We had given her up to God, knowing that we were powerless to help her further, and His power was made manifest.

 Another instance of divine intervention came a few days ago when a sister’s mother said she was more at peace with her daughter’s desire to follow God’s leading into some sort of Gospel ministry. Again, we confess that this is God’s doing.

Effective prayers always have to do with a person sincerely seeking out God’s answer to prayer. We will see the reason for this later on. Why should God answer prayers that have nothing to do with His will? That is ridiculous. We will only become convinced of His will through the scriptures.


Next =>D)  The Delightful Answer to Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:14-19)       Answers to prayer come when God speaks.

   Introduction to Prayer: 2 Chronicles 20:1-30
A) The Urgent Need for Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:1-2)     Difficulties lead us back to God.
B) The Proper Time for Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:3-4)               Fears always should lead us to trust God.
C)  The Needed Substance of Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:5-13)          Prayer is where our trust is given to God.
D)  The Delightful Answer to Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:14-19)       Answers to prayer come when God speaks.
E)  The Required Faith for Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:20-23)           We always are asked to prove our faith.
F)   The Blessed Reward of Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:24-30)           God always blesses those who seek Him.
   Study Questions on 2 Chronicles 20:1-30

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Biblical Foundations for Freedom

Paul J. Bucknell

NASB used throughout unless otherwise noted.