The "I've Got Nothin'" Prayer: The Rescue
Last time, in The I Got Nothin’ Prayer: The Crisis and The Solution, we saw King Jehoshaphat marching with his army to confront the enemy in battle. An enemy that they already acknowledged they had no power to defeat (2 Chronicles 20:10, 12). An enemy which the Lord had already told them they wouldn’t have to fight (2 Chronicles 20:15, 17).
So why would they march towards this enemy? Well, it’s simple…God told them to (2 Chronicles 20:16, 17). In the face of an impossible crisis, God promised them an unlikely solution.In the face of an impossible crisis, God had promised them salvation through an unlikely solution, so they could march forward in confident faith.
The way Jehoshaphat prayed, and the results of his prayers, give us great inspiration in how to pray in our own crisis, which I learned when my husband was desperate for a job that didn’t seem to exist. Let’s look at those results now.
An Abundant Rescue
Marvel at the abundant sufficiency of the crazy solution—
When Jehoshaphat’s army met the enemy, the battle had already been won, just as God had said! The Lord set ambushes and turned the enemies on themselves; their annihilation was thorough (2 Chronicles 20:22-24). Jehoshaphat’s army then collected “so much plunder that it took three days to collect it” (2 Chronicles 20:25b). The times when I’ve prayed like this, the solutions God provided always left me dumbfounded. In my husband’s job search, he ended up with a job that gave us just, just what we needed, when that looked impossible. God’s solutions are always more appropriate than I could have even imagined or ever have the resources to pull off.
Praise the Lord with joy—
The only appropriate reaction to this kind of deliverance is joyful praise, like Jehoshaphat’s people gave (2 Chronicles 20:26-28). And I’ve experienced the same. The last time God intervened with a perfect, impossible solution, I was left in tears saying, “Oh my God, how could I not trust you?”
Now, I’d never suggest that God is formulaic or able to be manipulated. We don’t get whatever we want just because we pray the right way. Instead, this kind of prayer reminds me of who God is and who I am. It positions my heart in a place of submission and obedience, as well as gratefulness and expectant faith.
The times I’ve prayed this way, I knew I was giving up on solving the problem my way…I was out of ideas. But in this, I’ve found that I serve a God of unlikely solutions and impossible rescues.
The Prayer Applied
In fact, the Christian’s entire life is basically one big I Got Nothin’ prayer. I know I am confronted by three formidable foes—the world, the forces of spiritual darkness, and my own sin within. When God orders me to march against these forces, I do so, knowing that, a.) I have not a chance in the world of winning this war on my own and b.) that the LORD has promised to fight the battle for me, and in fact already has (Romans 5:6). If I forget either of these, I’m sunk.
Because of our sin, we’re powerless to withstand the power of death the enemy brings (Hebrews 2:14-15). But when Christ, who was sinless, submitted to death on the cross, he didn’t just fight the battle for us. No, he turned the enemy’s power against himself, just as he had done with Jehoshaphat’s enemies (Colossians 2:15). What the enemy meant for evil, God used for his own purpose which, as in Jehoshaphat’s day, is the rescue of his people (Genesis 50:20).
And was there ever a rescue that was more abundant? Christ’s one perfect sacrifice was enough to secure the salvation of all who believe in him. (Hebrews 9:26b-28). The more you realize this, you can’t help but respond with greater praise and gratitude.
The Ultimate Example
I encourage you to find this pattern in Scripture and your life. God reveals it over and over. Recently, I was praying about another impossible situation in my life. As I remembered who God is and what he’s done—not just in the Bible, but also in my personal experience—he brought to my mind Revelation 5. To me, this is the perfect depiction of the Impossible Crisis (Revelation 5:1-4), the Unlikely Solution (Revelation 5:5-7), and the Abundant Rescue (5:8-10). The joyful praise that proceeds this, the ultimate rescue, is without compare (Rev. 5:11-14). (You can find super helpful commentary here from 4:00-5:30 in the video).
What’s impossible for us, God can accomplish in the unlikeliest and most amazing of ways. Has God placed you in your own impossible situation? He hears your cries for help. Take this opportunity to witness God’s power in your life. And if you haven’t yet experienced God’s ultimate rescue by believing in Christ for eternal life, consider praying an I Got Nothin’ prayer that tops them all. His abundant rescue is for you today and forever.