Summary: This sermon shares four keys to finding victory through prayer.
Are you looking to find victory in some area of your life? I think that is a dream within the heart of every person. All of us would like to know that we are experiencing victory with God. I read about a pastor who had a five-year-old daughter. The daughter noticed that every time her dad walked to the pulpit to preach he would bow his head for a moment before preaching. The little girl noticed that he did this every time he got up to preach. One day after the service she asked her dad, “Why do you bow your head right before you preach your sermon?” “Well Honey” the preacher answered, “I am asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.” She looked up at her father and asked, “Then how come he doesn’t do it?” (Contributed to Sermon Central by Dan Cormie) That little girl was not sure that her daddy’s prayers were connecting.
Victory is something that all of us desire! Each of us have struggles through which we would like to find victory. For some it may be a habit. For some it may be a family situation. For some it may be a health issue. For some it may be a job. Regardless of the issue, victory is the goal. In the spiritual realm, prayer is the key that unlocks the door. We are going to look at a man who found victory through prayer. The text is found in II Chronicles 20. I want you to see the before and after of the story. The before is found in verses 2-3. “Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; already they are at Hazazon-tamar” (that is, En-gedi). Jehoshaphat was afraid; he set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” The after is found in verse 30. “The realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.” Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah found victory through prayer.
Before dealing with this text I would like to make an observation. Jehoshaphat was afraid because of conditions in his country. That is true in our country today. I am not here to plant seeds of fear. However, I would not be truthful if I did not recognize the presence of much fear in our country. We have just celebrated our nation’s birthday. I believe you would agree, our nation is facing significant trials. We need prayer. In this passage we learn some important lessons. A proper understanding of prayer is vital in our finding victory.
Joke: The story is told about two men who were walking through a field when they spotted an enraged bull. They immediately ran toward the nearest fence. The bull ran after them in hot pursuit, and they realized that they were not going to make the safety of the fence. Terrified, one man shouted to his friend, “Say a prayer, John. We’re in trouble” John said, “I’ve never prayed out loud before. I don’t know what to say. “But you have
to” yelled his companion; “The bull is catching up to us.” “All right,” said John, as he ran with all his might; “I’ll say the only prayer I know. My father used to say it at the table: Oh Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.”
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Jonathan Busch) They had a lot to learn in their theology of prayer.
Follow the text as we discover some keys to finding victory through prayer.
1. Look at verse 3. “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” What is the truth? Jehoshaphat and his people were in trouble. They were surrounded by their enemies. Immediately they went to God in prayer. They made prayer a priority.
• If we are going to find victory in prayer it must be a priority in our lives. It should not be a last ditch effort.
Ill- I once heard about a church that was having many internal problems. The pastor spoke to the deacons about the issues. He told the deacons they needed to proclaim a church wide season of prayer. One deacon said to the pastor “Has it got that bad?”
Unfortunately we sometimes we treat prayer as a last ditch decision. It takes something horrific to bring us to our knees.
• When prayer becomes a priority we will display fervency in practicing it. Prayer is our key to victory; therefore, it must be practiced with fervency. The people of Judah turned to God in prayer and fasting. Fasting is a sign of fervency. When a person gets broken they will fast as they seek the face of God. One of the things you rarely hear mentioned in churches is the concept of spiritual warfare. Paul discusses this extensively in Ephesians 6. Whenever you and I understand that we are in a war we will get serious about prayer.