Sunday, December 27, 2009

HOW TO PRAY WHEN FACING DANGER -- Devotional for December 27, from "Good Seeds"

It was reported that a great multitude was coming against Israel from beyond the sea. King Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he turned his attention to seek the Lord with these words: “O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude which is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” (II Chronicles 20:2-3,12)

The best hymn on friendship is also the best hymn about prayer…
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear;
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

In movies whenever trouble hits, the hero hits back – but if there’s anyone religious on the scene he starts mumbling the Lord’s Prayer. Here people are facing life threatening danger from evil enemies, natural disasters or unnatural aliens, and all this supposedly holy man can think of to pray is, “Give us this day our daily bread”! Well then, how should we pray when facing trouble? Try the prayer of Jehoshaphat: the prayer of humility and faith. Jesus pointed out the first ingredient of the prayer that gets answered, HUMILITY, in His observation of two men praying in the temple: the Pharisee rehearsed before the Lord all his own good points, as if to prove to God that his prayer deserved to be heard and answered, while the publican could do nothing but beat his breast in penitence and beg for mercy (Luke 18:9-14). Jehoshaphat prayed like the publican: “Lord, I’m scared to death! With my meager strength and resources I haven’t got a chance against this great enemy. But not only am I powerless, I’m also clueless. That’s right, I haven’t the faintest idea what to do.” But it wasn’t just the humility of Jehoshaphat that got God’s attention; it was also his FAITH. James wrote, “It is the prayer of faith that restores those who are ill” (5:15). Jesus concurred when He said, “It is not those who are healthy who call the physician, but those who are sick” (Matthew 9:12). Jehoshaphat did well to turn his attention to seek the Lord, but he didn’t stop with, “I don’t know what to do…” He continued with, “…but my eyes are on You. Humility admits our weakness, but faith acknowledges God’s strength. A scrawny little kid can face the town bully simply by saying, “My big brother can beat you up!” Relationship is the key: you know your Big Brother by name, you know where to find Him, and you know He loves you and will come to your aid. That’s what we’re saying when we call out, “O my God, I need You. Will You please come to my defense? I’m totally inadequate, but You’re totally in control, and bigger than any problem I could ever face.”
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer.

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