There's a path to overcoming overwhelming odds - the story of Jehoshaphat reminds us to pray, fast, and praise our way to victory.
A Winning Formula
Is there a formula for prayer in the face of overwhelming odds? Yes! Pray, fast, and praise, understanding that “the battle is not your’s but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15)
The Bible tells the story of King Jehoshaphat, ruler over Israel’s southern kingdom. Jehoshaphat worked hard at reminding the people in his kingdom to follow God; and the people responded. He also appointed upright judges and took care in charging them to make just decisions. Jehoshaphat was a faithful servant of God.
Overcoming Overwhelming Odds
Although Jehoshaphat followed God, he was not immune to difficult situations. And sure enough, a major crisis came. Several nations joined together to attack his kingdom (the story can be found in 2 Chronicles, chapter 20). The odds were overwhelming and southern Israel faced ruin. How did Jehoshaphat respond? With prayer, fasting and praise.
He personally sought the Lord. He proclaimed a nation-wide fast. The people of his kingdom began gathering together to join in asking the Lord for help. And in response, the Lord answered through a prophet, “be not afraid nor dismayed... the battle is not your’s but God’s... stand still and see the salvation of the Lord... for the Lord will be with you!” Thankful for that encouraging word, the people began to worship.
The next morning, Jehoshaphat further encouraged the people, “believe in the Lord your God... believe his prophets.” And they began to sing and to praise. Later that day, the Lord brought confusion and disarray to the advancing armies. In their bewilderment, the enemy-armies turned on one another and destroyed themselves. Against all odds, the crisis was averted.
So what lessons can we learn from Jehoshaphat when facing crisis situations today?
Focus on following God.
Spend time in prayer.
Find a group of people to support you in prayer. (Getting involved with a praying church is important.)
Spend time reading God’s word, the Bible. Determine to accept God’s word as truth in spite of your situation.
Finally, don’t let fear overwhelm you. Instead, honor God through praise and worship.
Here's a prayer to help you reach out to God, even when you're overwhelmed and facing impossible situations. With God, nothing is impossible.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your word and for the encouraging example of Jehoshaphat. When I am in turmoil, facing what appears to be overwhelming odds, help me to trust you. Even in those times when bad news is coming from every direction, help me remember that you are a God who hears and answers prayer. So... hear my prayers, hear the supporting prayers of my friends, and help me trust your word. Help me focus on following you and encourage me as I praise you, worship you and trust you to give me the victories that I need.