A Pattern for Successful Prayer
- Wednesday, July 11, 2012
“When we praise God, He inhabits or enters our praises, and His power overwhelms the power of the enemy. He is a mighty God, and Satan cannot match His strength. Light will dispel darkness through God’s entering into our praise. Through praise, the Lord Himself begins to do warfare on our behalf to silence our enemy, as we shall see.” -Cindy Jacobs
Wouldn’t you like a more successful prayer life? Wouldn’t you like to mentor others in victorious prayer? If there were a pattern for successful prayer, would you not want to know what that is? I know I would!
When I was growing up I took a sewing class at school. I remember how my home economics teacher gave us careful instructions on how to make a dress. We first had to pick a pattern and then buy the right amount of material for that particular dress. Without the pattern it would be impossible to sew the dress - especially our class of eleven-year-old girls! I remember obediently going to the store with my mother and picking out the pattern and material. Throughout that course, I made the dress and even got a good grade for the class.
There was only one problem - I never wore the dress!
What was the reason? By the time I finished the dress, I had realized something very important. I didn’t like the pattern that I had originally picked out. And the color of the material was an ugly tan - I still remember it clearly - I had picked out the wrong pattern and the wrong material. As you can probably imagine, I never did become a seamstress - I never applied what I learned - and I definitely was not successful in that area of my life.
But I want to tell you about someone who was extremely successful in prayer. He had the right pattern for successful prayer. It was a perfect pattern that strategically empowered others. The Bible gives us an example of a victorious answer to prayer that affected multitudes of people. In one sense what happened in this situation is a pattern for successful prayer that is repeated all throughout the Bible. We can find an amazing picture of prayer in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30.
Let’s learn how we can mentor others in successful prayer by looking at the pattern of King Jehoshaphat. He was a great example for us to follow. His pattern worked!
The first thing to realize about this King is that he was desperate. A vast army was coming against him! He was alarmed but resolved to inquire of the Lord. He proclaimed a fast for all Judah, and all the people came together to seek the Lord. The King was desperate - a good place to be - and His eyes were on the Lord. Instead of trying to figure everything out first - what we often do - He looked straight to the lord and said,“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
The Pattern for Victory
Judah must go first. Judah actually means “Praise Yahweh”. This is truly the pattern for ultimate victory. Praise must go first. Let’s look at Jehoshaphat’s pattern for successful prayer.
- Praise God - In 2 Chronicles 20:6-9 he prayed, "O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, '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'”
- Describe the situation - In 2 Chronicles 20:10-11 he prayed, "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. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance.”
- Ask God to intervene - In 2 Chronicles 10:12 he prayed, “O 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 upon you."
Jehoshaphat spent a lot of time praising God. Instead of spending most of the time trying to figure everything out, he turned his eyes upon God first and praised Him for who He is and what He has promised. This is the major part of his prayer. Then he described the situation (the problem) to God. Finally he asked God to intervene and help.
So often we reverse our priorities in prayer.
So often we complain and advise God what He should do.
So often we spend very little time praising Him for what He can do.
But look at this pattern - the majority of his prayer was praising God and the least amount of his prayer was asking God to intervene. If we were to consider the seriousness of this problem in our own lives, we would say it was pretty major. The army was vast, and it was coming against him. It was an immediate emergency!
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