A Prayer for the Ages!

Posted on August 22, 2019

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By David Ettinger

Dire Circumstances
King Asa of Judah knew a bad situation when he saw one. Though his army numbered a robust 580,000 soldiers (2 Chronicles 14:8), that of his opponent was far greater:

Now Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and he came to Mareshah. So Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up in battle formation in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.

King Asa knew what he was up against, the odds he was facing, and that he could not win this battle in his own strength. He also knew exactly what he needed to do: pray!

“Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”

How did the battle go? Verse 12 reads: “So the Lord routed the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.”

Notice how the battle was not recounted; just the results. This is because the intention of the passage is not to exalt Asa’s prowess on the battlefield, but the reason for that prowess – the Lord God, and the kind of prayer which moves Him.

Let’s briefly analyze the prayer.

Stating a Crucial Fact
Asa begins by saying: “Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength.”

The first thing believers must acknowledge is that we have “no strength” in and of ourselves. Without the Lord, we are helpless to fight against the evil forces of this world which come against us, be they physical or spiritual.

We must be willing to tell the Lord that without him we are frail and helpless, and that we can win none of life’s battles without Him. Yes, like Asa, we must engage in battle, but to think we can do so in our own strength and come out victorious is madness.

So, too, should you and I consider it madness to face daily life without God. We must ask Him to see us through each day, going before us, next to us, and beside us as we fight our battles.

 Increase Our Faith!
Asa next prayed: “… so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude.”

In asking God to join us in our battles, we must acknowledge that we have complete faith in Him; that “we trust in” Him. We can’t be wishy-washy with the Lord as if to say: “Well, God, I’ve got this major challenge before me and I need help. I hope you can help me.”

This won’t do! We must have complete faith in the Lord’s ability to sustain us, and we must bravely face our day not in our own strength, but “in Your name.” Just as armies would dedicate their wars to their monarch, so we as believers must dedicate our days – and the battles which come with them – to the name of our righteous King, the Lord Jesus Christ!

God’s Representatives
Asa finished his masterful prayer this way: “O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”

Because Israel was God’s Chosen People, Asa saw them as God’s representatives on Earth. As such, their actions reflected upon Him. Asa understood that defeat would give Israel’s surrounding nations the impression that her God was weak and ineffective, and Asa did not want to see the Lord’s reputation soiled.

As believers in the Lord Jesus, we, too, are chosen (1 Peter 2:9) and are therefore God’s representatives on Earth. We must serve Him in such a way as to bring glory to His name and not shame, that we fight our battles in integrity and honesty, doing all we can to exalt our Savior!

What a Prayer!
Far more than just winning a battle between armies, Asa was concerned about the honor and glory of the God of Israel. In having such a heart for the Lord, he left you and me a prayer for all seasons, one we can offer up to God every day of our lives!