Step 3 – Explain on what legal (Scriptural) basis you’re asking God for help
And they dwelt therein, and have built Thee a sanctuary therein for Thy Name, saying, If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in Thy Presence, (for Thy Name is in this house,) and cry unto Thee in our affliction, then Thou wilt hear and help.
II Chronicles 20:8-9 (KJV)
When one is praying, one needs to find a legal basis on which to stand his/her petition. This simply means: find an appropriate Scripture and hang your case on it. Amen to that. Jehoshaphat’s legal basis for coming to God for help was the prayer that Solomon prayed when he was dedicating the temple (I Kings 8:22-53/II Chronicles 6:12-42 especially 28-31). II Chronicles 6:28-31 says:
If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be: Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all Thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house: Then hear Thou from heaven Thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart Thou knowest; (for Thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:) That they may fear Thee, to walk in Thy ways, so long as they live in the land which Thou gavest unto our fathers.
II Chronicles 6:28-31
After Solomon’s prayer the Bible says that the fire fell on the sacrifices and offerings and consumed them, and God’s glory filled the temple, showing that God had heard his prayer. God also confirmed to Solomon that He had heard this prayer, and He said to him at night:
“…Mine eyes shall be open, and Mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.”
II Chronicles 7:15
That was enough for Jehoshaphat. He found somewhere to base his petition. In other words, Jehoshaphat prayed: “God, when You gave us this land, You chose to place Your Name here. We Your people have built a sanctuary unto Your Name in this land. And when we built it, Your servant King Solomon prayed and asked that if we’re ever in trouble, if we should pray in this place, this temple, You would hear and help.” Jehoshaphat didn’t have a full Bible like you and I. He only had what had happened up to that time. But he still found somewhere to hang his case. We are so fortunate to have the whole blessed Book, numberless examples and promises!
A lesson from Jesus’ job description
I love Luke 4:17-20, I call it Jesus’ job description. The Bible says of Christ:
And there was delivered unto Him the Book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the Book, He found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” And He closed the book, and He gave it again to the minister, and sat down.
That, my friends, is the lesson, right there. Christ found a place where it was written about Him (Isaiah 61:1-2) and quoted it. So ought we to open the Book and find the place where It’s written about us – and quote it back to God. “About me?” you ask? Sure! Pray a “God, You said…” prayer. If you’re sick, find where It says that He “healeth all of thy diseases.” (Psalms 103:3) If sin is the problem, find the place where It says that He “forgiveth all thine iniquities”. (Psalms 103:3) If you’re in trouble and you can find one place where God promised to help those who are in trouble, stand your prayer upon It because He has said He doesn’t change. Find the place where It’s written! And then point it out to God. Base your case upon It. Rest your petition upon the written Word of God.
One thing’s for sure, we can’t pray based upon our own goodness or virtue. We don’t have any. We have absolutely none. The Bible says “…we do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousnesses…” (Daniel 9:18) Friends, few if any prayers would be answered based on our own standing. We’re a lot like Isaiah, if we were ever to see God, we’d say “woe is me”. We can’t pray based upon the fact that we deserve the things we ask for, either. We don’t.
No friends, except our prayers be founded upon Scriptural Promise – what God Himself has promised to do about situations like ours – there is very little hope for them. But thanks be to God, there will be many Scriptures that apply, especially if it is character that we seek, for it is written: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature… (II Peter 1:4)
Find the place where It is written – about your problem.