We have always had a need to make sense of the world we live in—through science, through mathematics, through geography—so that we are able to explain and justify our experiences. However, God’s ways don’t always make sense.
As an analytical person who works every single day in spreadsheets and numbers, it makes logical sense to me when the world says, “We don’t need prayers; we need action.” I have to remind myself that prayer is the most important action we could take.
In the New Testament, there are more verses about Jesus praying than there are about Him performing miracles. When giving advice to the disciples in Luke 18, He tells them that they should always pray and not give up. Philippians 4:6 tells us that in every situation, we are to present our requests to God through prayer.
Prayer is the most powerful weapon that God has given us because it allows us to directly petition him in our time of need. From there, He can tell us what to do. If we pray, and God tells us to move, then we need to move. If He tells us to hold still and wait, then we need to hold still and wait, knowing that He will bless our obedience. It’s much more important to seek wisdom and discernment than to jump headfirst into a battle you don’t know how to win.
I want to look at two examples in scripture where the action plans from God were definitely not the logical plans His people would have come up with if they had not first come before Him in prayer.
The first is Jericho. There is absolutely no way that Joshua would have had a strategy meeting and told his army to simply march around the city once each day for six days, while priests carried the ark and blew trumpets, if that direction hadn’t come from God. This battle plan made no sense, but on the seventh day, the army marched around the city seven times and gave a shout, and the walls of Jericho fell down flat.
The second example is Jehoshaphat and the battle he never had to fight. Instead of spending his time preparing for a war, Jehoshaphat spent his time before God in prayer and the Spirit of the Lord said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” When Jehoshaphat sent his army down the next day, he appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him and sent them to the head of the army. His front-line was made up of men singing praises to the Lord!
Can you imagine if our generals came before us and told us that their plan was to have the armies march around blowing trumpets or to send singers to the front of the line? Can you picture the outrage, the condemnation, and the disbelief that would follow?
Before taking action, it is vital that we first come before God in prayer, asking Him to show us what steps, if any, we need to take. That time of worship and petition should always be our front line. Maybe God will tell us to stand up and march, or maybe His answer will be to hold still and trust Him to fight the battle for us. Either way, when we take the time to first hear from God, and we have complete confidence in what He has called us to do, then the world’s opinion doesn’t matter.
God never fails, and He will always follow through on His promises when we are obedient to His direction.