I was at Sunday morning prayer meeting last week, where we had several needs on the table…those who were sick and suffering from cancer and other various ailments, a woman who had lost her leg in a grilling accident, and other “pressing” issues. As we began to pray, I sensed the Lord begin to speak to me about worship.
Worshipping God BEFORE we bring him our petitions, needs, and wants PROVES we trust Him. It PROVES we are still maintaining our peace, which is so vitally important to seeing reality. It is PROOF that we have the faith, trust, and the patience to set aside the pressing issues, and take the time to recognize who He is, and to remind ourselves where our answers lie. And it is not in us. It is not in how diligently we pray. It is not in the words we use when we pray. It is not in how much time we spend praying.
We come to Him with our burdens and our sorrows and attempt to pray, attempt to do warfare against the things that are coming against us. Many times we are motivated to pray BY those burdens and sorrows, which the bible says we are to cast upon Him. Psalm 55:22. There is also a grief and burden, or compassion, of the Holy Spirit which may bring one to a position of petition also. But what I am addressing is the anxiety that tries to come because of circumstances.
A bible example of what I am talking about is a story about King Jehoshaphat from 2 Chronicles, chapter 20. A large army had amassed itself against the king and his people. The word came to him about the great multitude that was going to come and fight him.
Jehoshaphat feared (the burden) and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. Judah gathered together to ask help of the Lord in the new court. The king stood before the people and spoke encouragement to them, and He began to extoll the great virtues of God (to worship) and to acknowledge His goodness.
THEN God answered through a Levite, a worshipper from the house of Asaph: “Listen you, all Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you king Jehoshaphat, Thus says the LORD to you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is NOT YOURS, but God’s. (emphasis mine) Tomorrow go you down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and you shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. YOU SHALL NOT NEED TO FIGHT in this battle (emphasis mine): set yourselves, stand you still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. (2 Chron. 20:15-17)
What happened here is HUGE. Here comes an army, armed to the teeth, intending to take the Israelites out. And God says you don’t even have to fight? That reminds me of the story about the guy who went over a cliff and managed to grab a branch sticking out to save himself. As he began to holler for help, a voice from above said, Let go of the branch. His response was, Is there anyone else up there? I want a second opinion! In Jehoshaphat’s case…I want a second opinion! I’m going to trust what this guy says that God says? This worshipper guy better be hearing from God very accurately!!!!
Just how would we do in this situation?
Jehoshaphat’s people bowed and worshipped God after the instructions had been given. The Levites started a loud praise session in vs. 19. The next morning the Israelites were instructed to believe the prophets. Then the king put the praisers out IN FRONT of the army. (Can you believe it?) Their job was to sing and praise the Lord. Verses 22-23 say, “And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, who were come against Judah; and they were defeated. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.”
“And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked to the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.” vs.24
Just look at that. Wow. God did it for them. Totally did it for them. And He will do it for you too. He is no respecter of persons.