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The Prayer Of Jehoshaphat: What To Do When My Processes Fail?

the prayer of Jehoshaphat..
Faith is like a cheat code for life.

While the processes of some are more developed than the processes of others, we all have them at a basic level. Processes are habits we have established to help us grow, manage stress, and get through the tough times of life. The processes of an athlete, for example, may consist of waking up early, lifting weights, doing cardio, studying film, eating healthy, and sleeping well. My general life processes, for example, consist of prayer, eating healthy, working out, and quiet time. I also have particular processes when it comes to specific issues like sexual integrity, which include establishing boundaries and dominating my thought life. In general, and in particular, we can only “trust our processes” to the extent that we believe that our daily routines will get us where we want to be in life.

However, there are times when our processes fail us. Life is unpredictable, and it can bring even the strongest people to their knees. It could be a trauma, or an illness, or an economic depression, or a natural disaster, or the death of a loved one.

What do we do in these situations?

Besides waiting for time to pass, the obvious answer is to “upgrade our processes.” To think of better routines and disciplines, spiritual and otherwise, that will yield better results. However–and I can’t stress this enough–sometimes even our best processes are simply not enough.

Faith In The Midst Of Crisis Or Trauma (The Story Of Jehoshophat)

Take the fascinating story of a Hebrew Biblical King named Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat got word that a large alliance of enemies was coming to attack his kingdom. His inferior armies would almost certainly would have been fresh meat for the invaders.

After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. 2 Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). 3 Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.

2 Chronicles 20:1-3

Instead of panicking or resigning himself to annihilation, Jehoshaphat sought help from God. The following verses record Jehoshaphat’s lengthy, earnest prayer, the essence of which can be summarized in verse 12.

O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

2 Chronicles 20:12

Jehoshaphat certainly had his processes in place. After succeeding the throne from his father Asa, he had “stationed troops in all the fortified cities of Judah and put garrisons in Judah and in the towns of Ephraim that his father Asa had captured.” Jehoshaphat sent a team of Levites to preach the Law of God throughout the whole country (2 Chronicles 17:7-9). The text also records that he “built forts” and “store cities” and had acquired “great wealth and honor” (2 Chronicles 18:1).

Jehoshaphat had invested great energy in developing his army and his kingdom. However, none of that mattered when faced with a superior invading army. There was simply nothing he could do in the moment to overcome this enemy by his own strength.

In verse 15, the answer to Jehoshaphat’s prayer came through a prophet named Jahaziel:

This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

2 Chronicles 20:15

This is one of the rare occasions in the Bible in which the people of God did not have to fight their own battles. Typically, God would send help, but prayer and massive action would go hand-in-hand. And the same is true of our battles in life. We have to take massive action if we want to experience success. However, this case was the exception, not the rule. What was, however, the rule, and not the exception, was God making up the difference upon exercise of faith.

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

2 Chronicles 20:22-23

Faith is like a cheat code for life. Faith doesn’t mean things will be easy, nor does it mean we won’t have to work hard. What it means is that God is with us to meet our needs, even when they exceed our human capacity and limitations.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26

For more, see the complete archive of articles on integrity.

An intellectually curious millennial passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of their lives. When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy hiking, web-making, learning foreign languages, and watching live sports. Alumnus of Georgetown University (B.S.) and The Ohio State University (M.A.).

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