The Prayer of Jehoshaphat

Happy New Year. On behalf of the SBC of Virginia, thank you for your partnership in the Gospel. I’d like to share with you a few thoughts from one of my favorite examples of a leader praying in the Bible. There are a number of exemplary prayers in Scripture, but the one I am referring to is in 2 Chronicles 20, The Prayer of Jehoshaphat.

Even Leaders Can Be Afraid

Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. (2 Chronicles 20:3–4 ESV)

Jehoshaphat is the king, yet, the Bible tells us that he was afraid. He was not the first and won't be the last leader to face a fearful situation. Some situations can strike fear in a leader.

Seek Help from the Lord

Jehoshaphat and the people call upon the Lord. They pray. When we face a fearful situation or need the help of the Lord, we need to call out to Him in prayer. Psalm 116:2 reassures us, “Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.”

Adrian Rogers said, “Prayer infuses us with the energy of God and confuses the enemies of God.” Christian leaders ought to seek help from the Lord.

Because We Are Powerless

There are times when our powerlessness will be apparent. The primary reason for me drawing our attention to this particular King of Judah is 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 Chron 20:12). Jehoshaphat confesses his weakness, powerlessness, and feebleness. When was the last time you saw a leader admit his weakness?

Leaders ought to strive to lead well and with excellence. Leaders are people of influence. We have responsibilities, and we are to be stewards of that which is entrusted unto us. Leaders cast vision. However, there are times it is clear that we are powerless on our own.

The reason for me to highlight this prayer for us today is that it exemplifies a biblical paradox for Christian leaders. The Apostle Paul offers us a commentary in 2 Corinthians 12:9–10, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

What are some situations that cause Christian leaders to be afraid? How do you seek the Lord? How have you experienced the strength of God in your weakness?

Praise the Lord for His strength. Praise God that we are empowered with the Holy Spirit. Praise the Lord that we are not alone.

Your brother in Christ,

Brian Autry