Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 The Message (MSG)
Yesterday we introduced what I believe is a necessary combination for our lives, namely praise and prayer.
I want to illustrate how in this lockdown we can both praise and pray. A remarkable example of how God works while we keep going on with our daily lives is found in 2 Chronicles 20. The background to our story is a group of nations decided to make war on another nation. The nation about to be attacked was led by Jehoshaphat who resolved to inquire of the LORD.
Three important steps Jehoshaphat did.
- Real about the situation. Notice that Jehoshaphat wasn’t just closing his eyes to the threat against his kingdom or pretending the enemies weren’t there. He did not bury his head in the sand. He did not hope if he forgot about it long enough it would go away. We are in the same situation regarding the virus.
- Recognised his own hopelessness to solve the situation. He knew he didn’t have a chance in his own might. Have you at times felt hopelessness at the current situation. We are desperately hoping a vaccine is just around the corner. Let me offer you hope that will lead you to praise. God is in control no matter what you face in life. The old song He has the whole world in His hands is certainly true when it comes to followers of Jesus. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will take Him by surprise. Why not take a moment to praise Him.
- Resolved to turn his eyes upon God. He cried out to God: This what he prayed “We have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chron. 20:12 Amplified Bible).
Followers of Jesus are told to do the same thing in the book of Hebrews, namely to look unto Jesus as the hymn writer says “turn your eyes upon Jesus”
An important step in the act of praising God is not to take our eyes off God and look at the threatening circumstances but look to God instead, recognising our own helplessness, and turn to God for help. Remember the famous saying: Don’t tell God how big your circumstances are, tell your circumstances how big your God is. Feelings disappear then when we focus on God. So can you see how both praise and prayer combined can help us through our current situation?
Let me finish by saying we do not have to pretend, exaggerate or wait to approach God. Just be real. He loves and cares for us and most of all he knows already our situations He is just waiting, so are you ready to be Real about your situation, Recognise your own hopelessness to solve the situation, Resolved to turn your eyes upon God.