Please take it away Lord, give me Your novocaine Let me not be numb
Behind the lines
I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes – it also has gone from me. Psalm 38:8-10
Some days are harder than others
Without your curves under the covers
Waking up knowing I’ll never hold another…like you
But then there’s days when I think everything’s gonna be alright
And nights when my heart tells me I’m gonna survive
Without you snuggling by my side
Another day gone, another day strong
I’ve gotta long way to go, down this lonely road
I don’t feel like I’m getting far, when I’m missing you so hard
But I’m praying one day at a time, since you’ve been gone
I’m another day strong
Some days I’m haunted by your face
Driving by spots where we used to date
Sometimes you appear in crazy ways…out of the blue
Like hearing that song you always sang the wrong words to
When a caller on the radio sounded just like you
Catching the scent of your perfume
I’m moving on, never the same
Changed by love, changed by pain
But your memory will never fade
Another day gone, another day strong
I’m another day strong
As we approach the National Day of Prayer, below are six principles on what to do when we don’t know what to do, as found in 2 Chronicles 20. This is not a six-step prayer formula with guaranteed success. Instead, it’s six-steps for praying through tears with hope and dependence as we wait on the Sovereign.
In the passage, Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, was completely overwhelmed as a great army was approaching prepared for war. So, what do we do when we’re overwhelmed with the battles of this life and the way forward seems impossible?
1. Seek the LORD The first thing Jehoshaphat does is seek the LORD through prayer and fasting:
Jehoshaphat was alarmed and set his face to seek the LORD. And he proclaimed a fast throughout Judah. So the people of Judah gathered to seek the LORD, and indeed, they came from all the cities of Judah to seek Him (2 Chronicles 20:3-4).
2. Acknowledge His Power Next, he acknowledges where his Hope comes from:
Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the house of the LORD, in front of the new courtyard and said, “O LORD, God of our fathers, are You not the God who is in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can stand against You (2 Chronicles 20:5-6). 3. Acknowledge Our Weakness He admits weakness, but not without hope:
Our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast army that comes against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You (2 Chronicles 20:12).
4. Eyes On Him! This brings other verses to mind:
My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net (Psalm 25:15).
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2).
…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).
5. Wait On Him The people stood waiting (their wait was short, but the wait could be long) and then God spoke through Jahaziel:
Meanwhile all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel…
And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you” (2 Chronicles 20:13-17).
6. Worship While Waiting Even before victory, they believed, worshipped, and sang. The good news is we know that Christ has won the ultimate victory, but we often have to fight for the right perspective during our darkest hours:
Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD (2 Chronicles 20:18).
….And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say,
“Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed (2 Chronicles 20:20-22).
Engage Comment with a praise story of how God answered your prayer as you trusted Him through a difficult situation.
“Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8
As Christians, we must humbly desire to pray aright. Our text is the what, the how, and the why of true prayer. Note that we must “pour out” our hearts before God! This is essential if we pray correctly. Listen to Ambrose Serle (1742-1812) on this subject: “When the mind is truly touched by grace, it will and must pray. If the heart cannot find words to carry up its request, it will send them forth in earnest groans.
Prayer can no more be kept from ascending than flame from the fire. ‘Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered’ (Romans 8:26). The cries of a drowning man are above the formality of words, and forcibly pierce the ear for help; so the deep-felt anguish of a convinced heart is inexpressibly eager for mercy, and with moans and groans sues it out from God in right earnest.”
What powerful, searching words! Note the importance of the mind being touched by grace with heart-felt anguish, moans, and groans. We need more than “formality of words” or “florid oration” or “fine speech.” To truly pray there must be “grace” in the heart, which alone produces “earnest groans” and “tearful sighs.” The Greek text of Romans 8:26-27 further clarifies the doctrine of prayer: “groanings” is from stenazo, “to sigh,” and such “unutterable groans” are attributed to the Spirit of God making “intercession on behalf of” the saints. The work of the Holy Spirit is necessary in order “to rescue us” with “sighs that baffle words,” Paul picturing the Spirit “taking hold at our side” as our Paraclete “at the very time of our weakness” (A. T. Robertson).
Some think Jesus taught us to pray something like this: “But when you pray, tilt your head, close your eyes, and listen to the designated person leading in prayer.” Is this not sadly so? Is that the only kind of “praying” you know? But the Master taught us that true prayer is personal, spiritual, of the heart, spontaneous, done mostly in secret, and is not with “vain repetitions” or “many words” (Matthew 6:6-7). An unbeliever cannot pray! The world cannot pray (John 17:25). Bought by Christ’s blood at Calvary, the quickened children of God alone can and do truly pray.
Let us earnestly seek to know prayer’s spiritual power by “humbling ourselves” before the great and awesome Yahweh (Nehemiah 1:4-5; James 4:10). God indeed is the majestic Sovereign, before whom we must come in contrition and fear, being commanded, “Ye people, pour out your heart before Him.” True prayer affects our hearts, often causing groans and sighs and tears, or just an “Abba, Father.” May we know this experimentally through our Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.
A form of words may please A sinner dead in sin; But quickened sinners want to pray, As prompted from within. Gadsby’s Hymns #725
My heart overflows with a joyful theme
I address these verses to Christ my King
Each thought rushing to an inviting stream
Joining others pouring out prayers and praise
Tears voicing words we’re all trying to say Rolling whispers shouting mercy and grace
Behind the lines
My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
(Psalm 45:1 ESV)