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Solving Problems Through Prayer

Embracing Prayer as Taught in 2 Chronicles 20:1-3

Prayer is an incredibly powerful tool, often employed by individuals during times of trials and tribulations. It serves as a connection to the divine, a refuge in times of storm, and a source of wisdom in moments of confusion. The Bible, our spiritual compass, has numerous passages that illustrate the profound impact of prayer. Today, let's delve into the book of 2 Chronicles, specifically verses 20:1-3, and uncover the invaluable lesson it teaches about solving problems through prayer.

The passage reads as follows: "After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, 'A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar' (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah."

In these verses, Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, is faced with an overwhelming problem: a vast army is marching against him. His reaction, however, is one that provides a timeless lesson for us all. Instead of surrendering to panic or rushing into action, Jehoshaphat turns to prayer. He decides to "inquire of the Lord," essentially seeking divine guidance for his troubling situation. It's noteworthy that Jehoshaphat doesn't use prayer as a last resort; instead, it's his first line of defense.

In our lives, we often encounter daunting challenges that leave us feeling lost and powerless. Sometimes, we rush into decisions, letting anxiety or fear guide our actions. In these moments, Jehoshaphat's example serves as a reminder of the strength and wisdom found in prayerful introspection. It urges us to seek divine guidance, to quiet our minds, and to trust in a power greater than our own.

As you face your next challenge, consider approaching it as Jehoshaphat did. Rather than succumbing to fear or hastily plotting a course of action, make prayer your first response. Seek divine guidance, listen for the still small voice within you, and have faith that you are never alone in your battles. It's not about delegating our problems to God and sitting back, but it's about aligning ourselves with divine wisdom and strength to face the trials of life.

Remember, prayer is not merely a desperate plea in the face of adversity. It's a conversation, a communion with the divine, a pathway to wisdom, and a source of strength and peace. In the face of difficulties, may we all embody Jehoshaphat's spirit, turning to prayer as our first line of defense, our beacon of hope, and our guide to a solution.

In the verses that follow 2 Chronicles 20:1-3, we find another significant aspect of Jehoshaphat's approach: the king didn't face his problems alone; instead, he turned to the collective strength of his community. He proclaimed a fast throughout all of Judah, summoning the people to seek help from the Lord. By doing so, he united his kingdom in prayer and fasting, recognizing the amplified power of collective faith and solidarity.

Verse 2 Chronicles 20:4 reads, "The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him". This communal gathering was not merely a show of unity; it was a manifestation of collective faith and an acknowledgment that the problem they faced was bigger than any individual. It was a shared burden that needed shared strength, wisdom, and faith to overcome.

In our lives, we often face challenges that seem too daunting to overcome alone. In such moments, Jehoshaphat's example is a reminder that prayer can also be a communal act, a shared experience that unites us in faith and strength. When we gather with others in prayer, whether it's within our family, our church, or our broader community, we echo the essence of that ancient gathering in Judah.

The strength of community prayer lies in its ability to forge bonds of solidarity and shared hope, and to remind us that we are not alone in our struggles. As the people of Judah did under Jehoshaphat's leadership, let us stand together, in faith and prayer, when faced with adversities.

In conclusion, the story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20 provides a timeless blueprint for problem-solving: embracing prayer as the first response and harnessing the power of community. This two-fold approach - personal prayer for divine guidance and communal prayer for shared strength - can provide us with a resilient shield in the face of life's battles. The problems we face may be formidable, but the collective power of prayerful hearts is formidable too. Just as Jehoshaphat's kingdom triumphed through faith and unity, so can we overcome our struggles when we seek divine guidance and stand together in prayer. May Jehoshaphat's story remind us that prayer is more than a solitary dialogue; it's also a communal conversation, a shared journey towards divine wisdom, strength, and solutions. And through this journey, we can indeed transform our problems into victories, one prayer at a time.

Charles Stanley's summary of 2 Chronicles 20:1-3 are as follows

1.    God is interested in your problems.
2.    The Lord is greater than your difficulties.
3.    Your first response should be to seek the Father.
4.    God may want to involve other people in praying about your difficulty.
5.    The Lord will always give you a solution to your difficulty.
6.    Your prayers are to be God-centered, not problem-centered.
7.    The Father’s answer to your trouble will usually require an act of faith.
8.    God’s solution is always best.

Contemplative vs Discursive Prayer

Biblical Contemplation

Traditional Prayers

Personal Prayers

Lectio Divina

Ignatian Contemplation

The Anglican Rosary

Obstacles to Prayer

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