So often when we pray, we do so bringing a list of problems to God. It can be very easy to feel overwhelmed by circumstances, as Jehoshaphat was when faced with attack from the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites (2 Chron 20:1), and there’s nothing wrong with being honest as he was: ‘we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.’ (2 Chron 20:12) Jehoshaphat called all the people together (including the children and little ones (2 Chron 20:13) as they sought God together.
When the people of God cried out to God in this way, He heard and answered through Jahaziel (2 Chron 20:14-17), encouraging them to trust Him and reminding them that ‘the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ (2 Chron 20:15) Their job was then to praise God for the victory He would bring before they saw it. Praying from the place of praise is a vital weapon in our armoury. Jesus taught this principle too: ‘whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’ (Mark 11:24) Faith means that we pray with confidence in an all-powerful, all-loving God; the people of Judah set off with the Levites at the front singing ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.’ (2 Chron 20:21) It was as they began to sing and praise God that the Lord set ambushes for their enemies who ended up defeating each other, with the people of God not having to lift a hand in battle but simply to go in and plunder the loot afterwards. (2 Chron 20: 22-26)
When we pray from the place of praise rather than from the place of problems, we are acknowledging God’s sovereignty and power and goodness. The result, unsurprisingly, is more praise as we see God move on our behalf. On the fourth day, after collecting all the equipment, clothing and items of value from the plunder, God’s people assembled in the Valley of Berakah (Praise) and praised the Lord. (2 Chron 20:26) Instead of a vicious cycle of worry, depression and fear, they lived in the virtuous cycle of praise, prayer and praise!
Let’s fix our eyes on God as we pray and understand His goodness, love and power, that He is working for our good in all circumstances and that no plan of His can be thwarted!