The Prayer of Jehoshaphat Against Bullies
30 June 2017 Year A
2 Chronicles 20:5-12
You may have heard of the Prayer of Jabez. You may have even heard of the Prayer of Jesus. But have you heard of the Prayer of Jehoshaphat? The Prayer of Jehoshaphat is the prayer against bullies. In 2 Chronicles 20, the enemies of Israel have come together to destroy the people of Israel. The sheer number of military might surely scared King Jehoshaphat. He was so afraid that he decided to seek God and he called the people of God to fast and seek God with him (2 Chronicles 20:1-4).
So Jehoshaphat stands before the temple in Jerusalem in the courtyard and prays publicly to God for help (2 Chronicles 20:5). This is not just a public appearance for political sake. The king knows that he is outnumbered and outgunned. He knows that this could be the final hour for his kingdom. So Jehoshaphat prays. Jesus’ prayer is about promotion of the church (John 17:1-26). Jabez’s prayer is about procuring of more influence (1 Chronicles 4:10). The Prayer of Jehoshaphat is about protection from bullies.
Bullies are people who taunt and harass you to tear you down. They try to insult you just to make themselves look and sound better. Just like you, I have had to pray for help against the attacks of the bullies in my life. Here, we see four elements of the prayer of Jehoshaphat against bullies.
FOUR ELEMENTS OF THE PRAYER OF JEHOSHAPHAT
1. No one can stand against You, God (2 Chronicles 20:6)
“He said: Yahweh, the God of our ancestors, are You not the God who is in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can stand against You.” (2 Chronicles 20:6, HCSB)
No one can stand against God. God can never be bullied. This is the assurance that Jehoshaphat relies upon. He can count on God.
2. I need You (2 Chronicles 20:9)
““If disaster comes on us—sword or judgment, pestilence or famine —we will stand before this temple and before You, for Your name is in this temple. We will cry out to You because of our distress, and You will hear and deliver.”” (2 Chronicles 20:9, HCSB)
Whenever difficulties or disasters come, I should realize that I need you. In times of distress, I need your help to deliver me.
3. I treated them well, but they are bullying me (2 Chronicles 20:10-11)
“Now here are the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir. You did not let Israel invade them when Israel came out of the land of Egypt, but Israel turned away from them and did not destroy them. Look how they repay us by coming to drive us out of Your possession that You gave us as an inheritance.” (2 Chronicles 20:10–11, HCSB)
Now Jehoshaphat narrows his prayer to a specific concern. The very people his nation has helped has decided to turn and hurt him and his country. His nation is being bullied by other nations. This is the specific distress that he is under.
When you and I are being bullied, we need to identify the bully. We need to call them out for what they are. We need to stand up in prayer and let God know that we are bullied. Being bullied shows me that I need help to fight and that brings me to the last part of the prayer.
4. I can’t fight and win against them. Please fight them for me (2 Chronicles 20:12)
“Our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12, HCSB)
When I am in distress and I identify the bullies in my life, and I pray to God and tell him that I can’t fight them without His help. then I need to pray for the miracle. I need to pray for the part where God has to fight the battle for me. Next, I pray for the answer that God can give in this situation. Then, I end my prayer by saying: “Look, I don’t know what to do. All I can do, God is look to You for help.”
After that, I wait for the answer. God will answer the prayer. In Jehoshaphat’s case, God did answer the prayer. His answer was very clear: “The battle is not yours, but Mine. Trust me!” (2 Chronicles 20:15).
When you are being bullied, you can count on God to stand in for you and fight for you. In this case, God turned the bullies against each other (2 Chronicles 20:22-23). But no matter how God stops the bullies, you can be sure that He will.