C) The Needed Substance of Prayer (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.
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).
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,
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.
Biblical Foundations for Freedom