Recently I was reminded of one of my all-time favorite prayers in the Bible. And believe me when I tell you that I have many. But this particular one is the prayer of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:12.
In case this prayer is unfamiliar to you, allow me to provide some background. Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, had just received news that impending danger lay just around the corner for him and his people, as not one but three of their fiercest enemies are about to launch an all out attack. You can imagine the fear and trepidation that must have run through the King’s soul upon hearing this news. But as I have learned over the years, it’s not so much what happens in our lives that has the power to defeat us, but rather our response to it that matters most.
And what was Jehoshaphat’s response? I ask this question because as the leader, the people would take their cues from him. Did he send word to get the men of battle ready to go to war? No. But if he had, I’m not sure how successful that would have been, seeing that they were greatly outnumbered. And no, neither did he run in the opposite direction as many of us are tempted to do when we feel the stress of life and all the pressures that come with it.
As it does in our own lives, Jehoshaphat’s response revealed a great deal about this King and his walk with God. Scripture simply says that when faced with the onslaught of the enemy he simply turned to God in prayer. But it’s not the fact that he turned to God in times of crisis that makes this such an amazing prayer, but rather the words that he used ultimately to form his request:
“O our God, will not you 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 on you.”
What a powerful testimony this prayer of Jehoshaphat is! Not only does he acknowledge his own limitations before God, but by promising to keep his eyes on God, and not his circumstances, he is acknowledging the sovereignty of God that is at work in his life.
Too many times when we find ourselves faced with situations that tend to render us helpless, our focus becomes fixed on the situation, which only helps to paralyze us even more. But Jehoshaphat, through this simple but yet powerful prayer, reminds us that our eyes should always be fixed on God in anticipation of what he is able to do, regardless of what we may find ourselves confronted with in this life.
Of course, there is a great deal more to this story, which neither time nor space will allow me to share. So when you have the opportunity, I admonish you to read 2 Chronicles 20 it in its entirety. But to me the pivotal point in this entire scenario in Jehoshaphat’s prayer is verse 12, “…But my eyes are on you”.