Posted by: kathryngraves | August 21, 2012

Praise Before We Engage

2 Chronicles 20:1-30 is the scripture passage for today’s post. Take a few minutes and read it before continuing.

Eminent Attack. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, and his nation, faced an eminent attack by several other allied nations. The situation looked bleak. Jehoshaphat didn’t know what to do, so he proclaimed a fast and stood in public to pray and ask God to take care of the situation.
Scary Situations. When we are faced with circumstances that scare the wits out of us, when we don’t know what to do about the issues we face, don’t we usually tell God how to fix it in our prayers? We know what we want for the outcome, so we assume God wants the same thing. But a little voice inside my head says, “Maybe God doesn’t want the same outcome you do. What then?” My normal procedure is not what Jehoshaphat did: Tell God how great He is and that whatever He wants to do is fine with me.

I don’t normally do what Jehoshaphat did next, either.

God’s Answer. The Lord answered Jehoshaphat’s prayer through a prophet. He told the people not to be afraid or dismayed because the battle was God’s, not theirs. Then he told them to go out the next day against the enemy. “You will not need to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you.” (v.17)

Response. Jehoshaphat dropped to the ground to pray, worshipping the Lord. Then, the next day, before going out to battle, he led the people in a praise and worship service. He sent singers out before the army.

Praise Now. I usually wait until after the thing is accomplished to praise the Lord. And this is my crucial mistake. It was while the people sang that the Lord defeated the enemy. When the army arrived at the battlefield, all they found was a valley full of dead bodies.

The whole time I fought cancer, I waited for the outcome that I believed God promised me before I praised Him. Oh, I prayed every day. I read the Bible every day. I felt closer to the Lord than ever before in my life. I knew God was doing something great, and I said so. But I didn’t praise Him. It was so easy to focus on my suffering and ask for relief from it and strength for the battle against treatment.

Follow Instructions. The army was still instructed to go out against the enemy. They obeyed while praising the Lord. But they didn’t have to fight and they gathered enormous riches.

God is waiting to fight for us and give us spiritual wealth beyond our ability to imagine. The key is to praise Him before we engage the fight.

YouTube/ChristChurchChoir/jzaxlatin

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