Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.
2 Chron 14:11
Have you ever felt like King Asa felt? Have you ever thought you were secure, with plenty of money in the bank, with good health and a future that looked bright and rosy, and then suddenly, Wham! Bam! — disaster looms? You realize you are outnumbered, outgunned and outclassed, up against a circumstance too big for you to handle. I’m sure there are some facing that very kind of thing.
Notice that the very first thing Asa does is to recognize the unique ability of God to give help — unique ability — because nobody helps like God does. The reason there is none like God to help, of course, is that God knows so much more about us than anyone else and there are a thousand and one things God can do to set us free. King Asa recognizes also that part of the uniqueness of God is that it does not make any difference whether you are mighty or weak. This phrase, to help the powerless against the mighty, reveals that human contribution to the victory is insignificant in God’s eyes. He can use armies if he wants to, or he can use a single individual.
The second thing King Asa did was to request specific aid for the present emergency. He prayed, Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. When you are confronted with a situation like that, you do not have time to pray around the world. I once heard of a man who was invited to pray for someone who was dying in a hospital. As he stood beside the bed, this man began his prayer, Bless the missionaries in China and India and Africa, etc. He continued in that vein until someone stopped him and said, I’m sorry. While you were in India the patient died. It is important to come to the point in our prayers, to deal with the specific situation, as King Asa did here. Do not tell God what to do. That is the mistake so many of us make. We have our prayer all outlined, written down even. We say, Lord, first do this. Then when that happens, do this. God’s best and most frequent answer to such a prayer is to check the square that says, None of the above. He has his own way of working. He will not give way to us. That is what makes us get so angry at God.
Then, third, King Asa reminds God of a divinely established relationship: Lord, you are our God. He is saying, We did not make you our God. You chose us. You created this relationship we have. We are your people, therefore, if this battle is lost, you lose. That is the ground we stand on in our prayers before God. This is what King Asa is crying. Any defeat would be God’s defeat. Asa stands upon that relationship. That relationship gives us boldness too. We are invited to come before God and ask for help because we are sons. We are invited to come boldly because God himself promises that we will obtain mercy and find grace. It is already ours to help in time of need, so we are exhorted to come boldly.
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Father, thank you that I may come to you in good times and in times of crisis. There is nothing too big for you, nothing that takes you by surprise. Thank you that you are my God and a very present help in times of trouble.
Asa’s prayer illustrates three important principles for us to observe in our prayers. Do our prayers reflect our cognizance of God’s character and the ways in which he works? Do we pray expectantly, specifically, and in complete dependency upon God’s power and purpose and presence?