Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, “If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.”—2 Chronicles 20:7-9
Wow! Read those verses again. In fact, if you’ve got your Bible close (as you should) read all of 2 Chronicles 20. Now, let’s take a few minutes with verse 7, “Did you not . . .?” This is King Jehoshaphat praying. In this verse, his focus is on the faithfulness of God. So, he’s not just reminding God who He is, it’s what He’s done. He doesn’t change. God will do as God has done. Fear not!
And so he says, “Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?” The king is declaring in public, I know what You’re like. I know what You did. Then he moves on in verses 8-9 to review why he is standing before the Temple, crying out to God.
Verse 9 quotes 1 Kings 8:33, part of Solomon’s dedication prayer. Notice the phrase, “for your name is in this house.” God didn’t “live” in His house, but His name, His reputation, His character and relationship with Israel was represented by the Temple.
The question is, does God need reminding? Does He ever forget what He did or what He promised? Absolutely not! So, is the king in trouble? No. Reminding God of something He did or said is one of the best ways for us to remember who He is!
If you and I are not claiming God’s promises and reviewing His acts of faithfulness in prayer we are missing out on great power. God is never irritated when we accurately quote His Word back to Him. Our prayers should be applications of Scripture before our attentive heavenly Father. When God said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8), He wasn’t just pointing out our obvious limitations. He was also pointing us to the most trustworthy source in the universe for direction in thought, action, and prayer: God’s own Word. Memorizing Scripture is not only an essential step in godly meditation (see Psalm 1); it is also a crucial step in developing a robust prayer life! —James MacDonald
· What Scriptures do I use most often in prayer?
· What are some promises or instructions from God’s Word that I haven’t memorized yet but realize I need to as “fuel” for my prayers?
Father, did You not promise, “Draw near to Me and I will draw near to you?”(James 4:8) Because You promised to be with me always, I don’t have to stand in a certain place, but have immediate access to You. Today I want to walk with You in such a way that at various times I will be suddenly aware that You are keeping Your promise and drawing near to me. Thank You for Your powerful and trustworthy Word! In Jesus’ name, Amen.