The following passage is about King Jehoshaphat and how fasting, prayer, lots of praise and obedience won a miraculous victory for Israel.
2 Chronicles 20:1-30 (NIV)
20 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.
2 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). 3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.
5 Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard 6 and said:
“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdomsof the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 7 Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this landbefore your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9 ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’
10 “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance.12 Our God, will you not judge them? For 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.”
13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.
14 Then the Spirit of the Lordcame on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.
15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lordwill give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”
18 Jehoshaphat bowed downwith his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord.19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
“Give thanks to theLord,
for his love endures forever.”
22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. 26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah to this day.
27 Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lordhad given them cause to rejoice over their enemies.28 They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.
29 The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.
We can use this prayer guideline in our own situations. We may not face an army like King Jehoshaphat did but we do have an enemy that brings trouble our way. God has given us His word and the examples of people in the Bible so that we can have faith and be victorious in the “battles” we face.
- (2 Chronicles 20:1) Trouble comes – When trouble comes seek the Lord and His answers.
- V.2-4 Fast, pray and seek the Lord – King Jehoshaphat called for a countrywide time of fasting and prayer. Fast and pray (as the Lord leads you, this may be a meal, a day, an extended time or even a fast from a specific food, drink or activity. If you “listen” closely to the Holy Spirit’s leading you will know how to fast for your situation).
- V.5-9 Pray, remember what the Lord has done in the past – King Jehoshaphat prayed and reminded himself, the people and the Lord of the wonderful works done in the past. Praise the Lord, thank Him for His wonderful works.
- V.9 Confess in faith what you want the Lord to do – speak the Word (Bible verse) that the Lord has shown you or find a passage that meets you situation and confess this as already done.
- V.10-12 Make your petition to God (get specific, if you want specific answers make specific prayers. Write a list if you need to.). Remember Jesus is our advocate (lawyer). 1 John 2:1 (NIV) My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. Wow, what power this gives us!
- V.14-16 Refuse to Fear – The Word of the Lord came (not through the king but through one of the people.) v.15″This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” Notice the Lord said 2 times “Do not be afraid or discouraged”. If fear comes to you about your situation, speak the Word against it in words and song. Remind yourself; 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. and Psalm 27 (NKJV) The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.
- V.16-17 Be obedient to God’s commands – Do what God has shown you to do. Sometimes this is to stand still and watch. It can be harder to face the enemy “do nothing” in obedience that to try to “fix” a situation. Pay attention to what you “feel” God is telling you to do.
- V.18-19 Worship and Praise God for the victory! – Praise!Praise!Praise! This is the fun part. Notice how often in this chapter everyone praised the Lord, with musical instruments and singing before the battle began (or maybe this part was the battle). This is very important to our victory.
- V.17-23 Stand and wait expectantly for the answer(s) – The Israelites continued to sing and praise and wait. Wait is an interesting word. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines wait as both a noun and a verb. Wait means – “To rest in expectation and patience” and “The sense is to stop, or to continue”. So we get the sense of holding still and expecting something to happen at the same time.
- V.24-25 After the battle is over gather the plunder – It took them 3 days! to carry away the plunder (valuables of the enemy). This shows that God wants His people to be not only victorious but to bless them with the valuable items the enemy has. Don’t settle for less than what He has for you. Expect more, expect the “plunder”!
- V.27-30 Praise and thank God for His blessings – v27 Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies.28 They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.29 The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side. Continue to praise and worship after the victory. God gives His people peace and rest.