Read: 2 Chronicles 20:5-17
O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. (v. 6)
Messengers came to King Jehoshaphat with the terrifying news that an enormous army was gathered against the people of Judah. So Jehoshaphat prayed. First, he reminded God that God is almighty. (Perhaps he was reminding himself even more!) Second, he reminded God that God had already acted for the chosen people. God had given the land to the descendants of Abraham and driven out the competing inhabitants. On that basis, the king prayed urgently for God to save the people from destruction. Because God had been faithful in the past, Jehoshaphat dared to hope and dared to ask for God’s continued faithfulness. God answered the king’s prayer for deliverance and the people were rescued through an amazing twist. Incredibly, the enemy armies treacherously turned against each other and were completely destroyed.
When we pray to God with sorrow in our hearts, it may help for us to remind him of the faithfulness we have experienced from God in the past. Because of who God is, we pray. Because of what God has done, we pray. This is the pattern of faith we learn from the remarkable story of King Jehoshaphat. —Leanne VanDyk
Prayer: God of might and God of constant faithfulness, hear our prayer now again as you always have in the past. Be always our rock and our salvation. Amen.
About the Author
Leanne Van Dyk is a Reformed theologian and theological educator. She has focused much of her work on atonement theology and the development of theological education. She is the tenth president of Columbia Theological Seminary.