When You Pray for Relief, Worship First
BY RICK WARREN — SEPTEMBER 4, 2019
“King Jehoshaphat went and stood before [the people] and prayed aloud” (2 Chronicles 20:5-6 GNT).
Life includes times when you feel like you’re in an impossible situation, when you feel like you’re being attacked from all sides. That’s what happened to Israel’s King Jehoshaphat, who prayed to God when he faced armies from three different nations. To get through those times, you need to learn how to model your prayers after Jehoshaphat’s so that you can get relief.
Jehoshaphat did three things in 2 Chronicles 20 that you can do, too:
Refocus on God. Even with your problem looming before you, shift your focus to God’s character and promises. Jehoshaphat prayed, “God, you’re bigger than all the nations. You are bigger than anything I will ever face.” Your problems may be too big for you to handle, but they will never be too big for God. Change your perspective by shifting your focus.
Remember God’s faithfulness in the past. Jehoshaphat recalled all the ways God had worked in Israel’s past. Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past will help you trust him for the future. You need to recall the times God has worked powerfully in your life.
Request God’s help. Jehoshaphat essentially prayed, “My problems aren’t too hard for you, God. You’ve helped us in the past. Please do it again!” God loves you, and he cares about your problems.
Jehoshaphat’s prayer is built around three questions: “Are you not God?” “Did you not help us in the past?” and “Will you not do it again?”
When you are overwhelmed, you need God’s help. But it’s important to understand that your Father isn’t a vending machine who gives you whatever you want just because you’ve deposited a few prayers. God wants your worship first. You worship when you focus on him and thank him for his faithfulness. Then you pray and ask for his help.
Jehoshaphat was faithful to worship the Lord and ask him for help, and God delivered him from his enemies. God will do the same for you.
Talk It Over
How does remembering that God is bigger than your problems change your perspective on a difficult situation you’re facing?
What does it mean to pray expectantly? How do the three questions about God help you pray this way?
What is a healthy, Christlike response if God doesn’t answer your prayers for relief when or how you thought he would?