Can anything good come out of 2 Chronicles, some wonder? Chapter 20 contains some of the most challenging and encouraging verses on worship and prayer. Jehosaphat’s enemies are advancing against him and he immediately inquired of the Lord (v. 3). God, how often do I quickly run to secure my own defenses, how often do I look to physical protection instead of immediately turning to you?
Jehosaphat then proclaimed a fast for all Judah (v. 3). This reminds me that Jesus didn’t abolish fasting when faced with abuses; he didn’t say if you fast; rather he said “when you fast… (Mt 6:16). A practice of fasting serves the Lord, and would serve us well by reminding us of our utter dependence on God in this age of instant gratification and self-reliance.
Jehosaphat continues in verses 6-7 with deep words of praise not often found on our lips, and then prays boldly in a way that almost challenges and tests God, as if to say, “God, isn’t this land something that you promised, which is about to be taken away? Won’t you bring glory to your name by answering this prayer?” Father, inspire us to pray in such accordance with your will that we can use equally bold words in our supplication.
The end of his prayer has become a standard prayer in my own life. He concludes, “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 upon you.” Most of us are not attacked by physical armies, but we are attacked daily by spiritual ones: doubt, various temptations, physical suffering, insecurities, indecision, fear, and the list goes on. Lord, I don’t know what to do when I am trying to solve conflict between neighborhood kids (or adults). Sometimes I don’t know what to say when I am counseling individuals at church. I have no idea what to say when a brilliant neighbor argues against your existence and I am tongue-tied. But my eyes are on you.
I’ve taught this simple, yet profound, prayer to my kids that I pray will be pulled out and used years later: “I do not know what to do, but my eyes are on you.” It even rhymes.