Post By Pastor Dennis Smith
God has given us many promises in the Bible to meet our every need. Both the Old and New Testaments have outstanding examples of God’s people claiming the promises of His Word when facing difficulties.
One of my first exposures to the Bible’s teaching on prayer was in The ABC’s of Bible Prayer; a book by Glenn Coon. I learned the concept of claiming God’s promises in prayer as a young Christian, and it was proved to be a great blessing throughout my life and ministry. The prayer formula is simple:
Ask – “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matt. 7:7)
Believe – “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24)
Claim the promise with thanksgiving before any answer is seen – “And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.’ Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’” (John 11:41-43)
In these verses we see that Jesus thanked the Father for hearing and answering His prayer before there was evidence of it being answered.
God’s promises are sure. We can be confident that God will do what He says:
“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Num. 23:19)
And He can do what He promises:
“Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.” (Jer. 32:17)
Just as the oak tree is in the acorn, so is the fulfillment of God’s promise in the promise itself when claimed by faith. Concerning the promises of God’s Word, Ellen White writes:
“In every command and in every promise of the Word of God is the power, the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the Promise realized.” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 38)
God’s power and very life are contained in the promises of the Bible. Nothing can stand in the way of His promises being fulfilled when we claim them by faith in persevering prayer.
In 2 Chronicles 20:6-12 we find a marvelous prayer model of claiming God’s promises. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, was facing an imminent invasion by a confederacy of armies. He had made preparation for such a crisis by building up Judah’s army and defenses. He had more than 1 million well-trained men ready for battle. However, when the threat became known to the king, his first response was not to look to his preparations for war, but rather look to the Lord.
When we face problems in life, our response should be the same – look to the Lord first. This doesn’t mean that we don’t do what we can to meet whatever situation may arise. The danger is that we have the tendency to go immediately to our human resources for help and deliverance. Our mind often begins formulating ways to solve the problem rather than turning to God first. Jehoshaphat’s response is a good example for us to follow.
This prayer reveals five steps for victoriously praying for the promises of God:
- The king began by praising God’s attributes, especially those related to the problem he was facing (verse 6). He recalled that God rules over all the kingdoms of the nations, that “power and might” are in His hand, and that no one can withstand Him.
- The king recalled past victories, similar to the present victory Judah needed (verse 7). Recalling God’s provision in the past, as related to our present need, reminds us of God’s faithfulness and builds our faith.
- He stated in prayer a promise God had made to His people in the past – a promise related to the problem he was facing (verses 8, 9).
- Jehoshaphat then stated the problem (verses 10-12).
- He praised God before any evidence of victory was seen (verses 18, 19).