We are now a little over a week into our 40 Days of Prayer.
I wonder what God has in store for us? Scripture tells us God’s plans are to prosper us and not to harm us, plans for a hope and a future. But sometimes we forget the rest of the passage. The part where we respond to the plans of God by coming into agreement with what God already desires to do. That is one of the great purposes of prayer and an often-overlooked part of seeing His good plans come to pass in our lives.
Mark Batterson in his book on prayer, The Circle Maker, says, “Prayers are prophecies. They are the best predictor of your spiritual future. Who you become is determined by how you pray. Ultimately the transcript of your prayers becomes the transcript of your life.”
What if I told you God had great victory and breakthrough appointed for you in this next season? Who wouldn’t want that?
BUT WHAT IF OUR VICTORY AND BREAKTHROUGH WERE MEASURED OUT BY GOD IN PROPORTION TO OUR WILLINGNESS TO OBEY HIM WHOLEHEARTEDLY?
There is a strange story at the very end of Elisha’s life that underscores the necessity of responding to God wholeheartedly in moments where “our victory” in the next season is tied to our obedience in the moment we are in. I believe we may be in such a moment.
Chariots of Fire and Israel’s Source of Victory
“Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him and wept before him, crying, ‘My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’” (2 Kings 13:14)
What kind of impact must you have had, that a king comes to see you at the end of your life weeping and calling you father? There was a profound recognition in the king that the “real” horses and chariots didn’t reside with his army but in the unseen realm.
Proverbs 21:31 says, “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.”
Some years before, when Elijah informed Elisha he was going to be taken into heaven, instead of preparing to take over as the next prophet, Elisha followed Elijah on a lengthy and challenging journey to the very end. Finally, when the chariot of fire took Elijah up in a whirlwind, Elijah’s mantle fell to Elisha and he yelled “My father! My father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen.”
Elisha in that moment acknowledged that the real “chariots of Israel, and its horsemen” resided not with the king’s army, but with the man of God who was calling a nation back to obedience.
But remember, “Elijah was a man just like us…” For an Elisha, who’s willing to obey God’s leading, there’s always a means of transfer to tap into the same victories of others who have gone before us.
As we see in the unfolding story of Elisha, these chariots of fire would accompany him in ways that would cause the people of God to inherit victory even against incredible odds.
Remember the story when he and his servant were completely surrounded by an army? When panic arose from his servant, Elisha calmly said, “…more are with us than are with them.” As his servant’s eyes were opened, he saw chariots of fire all around them. Or how four lepers marched and they enemy fled as they “heard the sound of horses and chariots.”
Back to King Joash. Facing a battle ahead with the man of God dying, he realizes he may be in trouble. But there is no need to worry, the chariots of fire responsible for the king’s victories don’t belong to Elisha—they are the “chariots and horses of Israel.”
Elisha instructs him to take a bow and some arrows and aim out the window toward his adversaries. “Shoot!” he exclaims, “the Lord’s arrow of victory over Syria, for you must strike the Syrians at Aphek until you have destroyed them.”
“Then he said, ‘Take the arrows,’ and the king took them.” Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Syria and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.” 2 Kings 13:18-19
King Joash regarded Elisha as a prophet, even one who released the horses and chariots of Israel, and yet did not regard his word enough to fully enter into a moment that could have brought total victory.
Often times when God asks us to do something, He doesn’t announce all the implications of our willingness to obey. God is so good that He still released partial victory for King Joash, even in his halfhearted obedience. But when Joash stopped short he left something on the table.
I believe God is so good that He is responding to all His children who will call on Him in truth. I also believe that GREAT VICTORIES lie ahead for those who will show the persistence in this hour of follow-through.
Don’t pray just a few times and give up or become distracted.
LET’S BOTH HUMBLE OURSELVES AND PRAY THROUGH-TO VICTORY IN OUR LIVES AND FAMILIES, OUR CHURCHES AND CITIES.