It ain’t no prayer of Jabez (1Chron. 4:10). But it is a prayer. And it is buried in the genealogies that fill the opening chapters of 1 Chronicles. And, while I don’t think I’ll be able to convert it into a book that sells millions, I do think it’s worth chewing on for the profit of this individual. It’s the prayer of battle.
The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had valiant men who carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, expert in war, 44,760, able to go to war. They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. And when they prevailed over them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried out to God in the battle, and He granted their urgent plea because they trusted in Him.
(1Chronicles 5:18-20 ESV)
There’s an old adage which says “there are no atheists in foxholes”, suggesting that in the most desperate of situations, like being pinned in a ditch under heavy enemy fire, everyone is going to find a belief in a “higher power.” But I’m guessing the adage might have been coined by a wishful believer. The Scriptures indicate that the heart of man can be pretty stubborn in the face of God — even when fire is raining down (Rev. 16:9-11, 16:21).
But there is something about being in the heat of battle, something about having your back against the wall, something about reckoning with a desperate situation that reveals at the core what, or Who, we’re depending on to get through the harder seasons of life.
These valiant men of 1 Chronicles 5 cried out to God in the battle. As they confronted the enemy, they called to heaven for back up. As they were pounded, they petitioned. As they struggled, they supplicated. As they were under pressure, they offered up urgent pleas.
And what did it reveal about them at their core? They trusted in Him.
God wasn’t their “go to” because they had nowhere else to go and might as well give Him a try. It wasn’t a “we have nothing to lose so let’s try prayer” sort of thing. It was a faith thing. A belief thing. A knowing and kneeling before the promises of God thing.
When the going get’s tough, it’s where we find ourselves going which so often reveals in what we’re trusting. Where do we look for a lifeline? Who’s the first one we think of when we desperately need to use one of our “call a friend” cards?
In the midst of the battle, though they carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, and were expert in war, these mighty warriors had HEAVEN-911 on their speed dial. Because they trusted in Him.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
(Psalm 20:7 ESV)
Like I said, no prayer of Jabez, but prayer in the battle is going to be a pretty good indicator in Whom we believe.
This too is the fruit born from His abundant grace. Fruit evident in the battle for His all-deserving glory.