Formula for Deliverance: Prayer and Praise

Every man of Judah and Jerusalem returned with Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies. - 2 Chr 20:27

Have you ever faced a situation bigger than you, where you see trouble coming from afar and have no idea how to ward off the coming disaster? Jehoshaphat, king of Judah found himself in such a place. Just when he felt his troubles were ending, new troubles in the form of massive enemy armies arose on the horizon.

Jehoshaphat did what most people terrified for their lives would do. He prayed.

But he didn't just offer the "Help me now, God!" prayer and leave it at that. Jehoshaphat sincerely sought God's will and his hand in a spirit of humble submission to the almighty ruler of the universe. Open your Bibles to 2 Chronicles 20 with me. We see Jehoshaphat's sincerity through his actions.

  1. He proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah (2 Ch 20:3).
  2. He publicly praised and prayed to God for his nation (2 Ch 20:5-12)
  3. He demonstrated complete trust in God and commanded his people to do the same (2 Ch  20:20)

Once Jehoshaphat turned his eyes to God, the rest of the people followed him in prayer and praise to God (2 Ch 20:21) and God came through with a victory in a most dismal circumstance.

When they began singing and praising the Lord set ambushes against the  sons of Ammon, Moab & Mount Seir, who had come against Judah. (2 Ch 20:22)

The Israelites did nothing but look to God for help. And God came through for them in a mighty way. In what circumstance do you need the victory today? Relationships? Finances? Health issues? Turn to God and He will deliver you in his perfect time.

Dear Lord, forgive us when we take matters into our own hands, showing you that we lack faith in you.  Help us to believe you can and will come through for us. Show us what to do and enable us to be obedient to your call. Amen.

You Can Ask, But You Might not Get

You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. - James 4:3
God gives good things to his children, tells us to ask for our desires and encourages us to be persistent in our asking.  However, just because we ask God for something doesn't mean we will get it. What we receive from God is contingent upon our motives for asking.
Sometimes our prayers are a waste of time.
Okay, maybe not a total waste of time. Stick with me here. Coming to God in prayer is an act of submission to God and acknowledges our inability to do everything for ourselves. That's a good thing. Pouring our hearts out to our Creator is also always a good thing and certainly no waste of time because in praying we draw closer to him. But how long is too long to pray for something without considering that maybe, just maybe, God doesn't want us to have that thing we ask for?
At some point we need to question whether or not we are praying with the right motive.
Praying with the right motive simply means that what we ask for aligns with God's big picture plan. God's plan (his will) for us is pretty simple. He wills that we be conformed to his image and that we all accept the gift of eternal life in the form of belief on Jesus for salvation. He also wills that we do all things for his glory and for the greater good of his kingdom.
He does not desire that all of us have material wealth, fantastic health, or friction-free relationships on this earth. He doesn't promise us all of the various forms of abundance we feel entitled to. God promises abundance to his children, but guarantees abundance only in eternity, not here on earth.
How well do your prayers align with the will of God? If you've been praying for something for awhile without getting the answer you want, examine your motives. Are you asking for your will to be done or God's will to be done? Ask God for new ways to pray about the object of your prayers. Eventually, you'll learn and like his will...and then you will get what you want.

Janna Rust is a Professional Coach, Trainer and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her other blog at


Insincere Prayers

And they do not cry to me from their heart when they wail on their beds; For the sake of grain and new wine they assemble themselves, they turn away from Me. – Hosea 7:14 NASB


When someone asks you for help, do you sometimes question their motives because maybe their words don’t match the body language conveyed or what you know about the person?  Here in Hosea, God is using the same discernment, with the advantage of being an omnipresent mind reader!


In Hosea’s time, the Israelites were anything but sincerely seeking God’s will for their lives.  They wanted God’s help when they needed Him, yet wanted to do their own thing the rest of the time.  They wanted to have their cake and eat it too.    They must have thought they could fool God into helping them in spite of their disobedience.


Sometimes we are no different.  We wail on our beds for God to change our worlds and provide for our needs.  In reality we want comfort for the symptoms of our “disease”, not the means to a cure for that “disease”.  We too, want help to survive while continuing on in our own foolish ways.   Unfortunately, we can’t fool God any more than the Israelites could.


God wants us to come to Him with our needs, but He wants us to come to Him with a sincere desire to change our ways and get to know Him better.  He wants to help cure us, changing our character, so that the symptoms of our “disease” no longer appear.  When we come to Him with a pure heart, He will also take care of our symptoms, providing comfort and provision as we work through our problems. 


How is the condition of your heart?  When you pray, are you asking for God to help you change or for Him just to help you?  Keep asking.  Keep praying.  Most importantly, sincerely turn to Him, putting aside your own agenda and asking God to accomplish His will in your life.  He will gladly oblige.



Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

Broken and Praying

So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.  - Nehemiah 1:4 NKJV

Nehemiah was heartbroken over the news that his people, the Israelites, were in "great distress and reproach." (Ne 1:3)  The city wall of Jerusalem was broken down, and so were the floodgates for Nehemiah's tears.  The situation compelled him to pray and fast for answers.  As a result, new history was made. 

I admire the compassion Nehemiah had for his people.  I also admire his reliance upon God for comfort and guidance.  Additionally, Nehemiah provides an excellent example of intercessory prayer and its power to impart change.  We find out later on in the book of Nehemiah how God answered his prayer and eventually enabled Jerusalem's wall to be rebuilt under Nehemiah's leadership.

How do you respond when crisis strikes?  Do you immediately turn to God in prayer or do you take matters into your own hands?  We can all learn a lesson about prayer from Nehemiah.  Prayer works.  Especially when we pray God's very words back to Him.

To ponder:
1) What is it that I am most broken for?
2) Upon whom do I rely on for comfort in times of distress?
3) What can I do to strengthen my prayer life?


Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

Jesus Lives for Us

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.  (He 7:25 NKJV)

Have you ever really thought about how much power Jesus has?  It is unfathomable to me really.  When I read this passage in Hebrews that compares the High Priest of Old Testament times to the High Priest we have in Jesus, it really comes to light.  Back then, the people of Israel had to make many a sacrifice on the altar to pay for their sins.  But now that is not necessary because Jesus' blood paid the price for all - once and for all.  Unlike regular men who were priests back in that day, Jesus' priesthood will never end because He will live and reign for all of eternity.  He has an unchangeable priesthood (He 7:24).

And I think the best thing of all is that not only did Jesus die for us but He lives for us as well.   He lives so that He can speak to God - make intercession - on our behalf for all of the things that we need.  We pray "in Jesus name" because He is the reason our prayers are even heard at all.  Jesus is the ultimate intercessor.

We can model Jesus in this way here on earth as well through intercessory prayer of our own.  Yes, we should pray for ourselves, but we also need to pray for others as well.  Do you have a prayer partner with whom you regularly share prayer requests?  Can you count on that person and can they count on you to pray when either of you cannot?  From my experience, it is a wonderful thing to have such a relationship. 

How can you make a difference in someone's life through prayer today by interceding for them as Jesus does for you?  Take some time today and pray for someone else.  Both of you will be blessed.

Effectual Fervent Prayer

During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up both prayers and petitions with loud cried and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. - Heb 5:7 NIV

Can you picture with me the cries and prayers of someone who knows he has been sentenced to death, knowing he must go, but doesn't want to go? It breaks my heart to imagine this as it is written about Jesus while in the garden of Gethsemane (Mt 26:36-45).  Jesus sums up his state of mind clearly when he says to his disciples:

"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." (Mt 26:38 NIV)

Jesus goes off alone to pray and begs God, his Father, three separate times to take the responsibility of dying for the sins of mankind off of his shoulders.  Three times. But each of the three times, Jesus also acknowledges his willingness to humbly surrender to God's will in spite of the cost.  To me, this scene with Jesus is the best example of fervent prayer and submission in the bible.  Jesus cried.  Jesus prayed.  Jesus yielded to God's will.

If anyone was ever a righteous man, Jesus was it, wouldn't you say?  After all, he was the only sinless man ever to walk the face of the earth.  God heard Jesus' prayers, but still had no choice but to let his son suffer the death of the cross.  So what did Jesus' prayers accomplish then, if they were heard but God's will was not changed? The bible says the following in James 5:16:

Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. - James 5:16

We will be healed through our prayers if they are fervent and righteous.  Jesus was definitely righteous and his prayers were without a doubt fervent.  Maybe Jesus was "healed" that day even though he wasn't relieved of the duty of crucifixion that was yet to be his.   Maybe, all of those prayers gave him the strength to face that overwhelming sorrow and burden with courage.  We do know that they were worth something.

For further thought:

1) How often do I pray like Jesus prayed in the garden?

2) How righteous am I so that my prayers will touch the heart of God?

3) How willing am I to submit to all of God's will? 


Jesus' Prayer

"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." - Jesus, John 17:20-21 NKJV

Every time I read Jesus' prayer for His disciples and for the rest of the believers, both present and future to Jesus, I get a renewed sense of God's love for me.  Jesus prayed for me.  Jesus prayed for you.  Yes, we know that Jesus is at the right hand of God right now intereceding for us in prayer, but there is nothing like seeing Jesus' actual words in black and white (or red, depending on what type of Bible you have) to show how much He cares.

Christian, can you see where Jesus prayed for you?  He prays for all those who WILL believe through the words of Jesus' disciples.  Jesus prays for a number of things for us in this entire chapter of John 17, among them protection from satan, unbelievers, and for our own purity in this world we live in.  All of these prayers undergird one basic wish: that everyone might know that Jesus was sent by God into this world.

Throughout the pages of God's written word, we find a similar theme.  In all of the plagues miracles and prophetic words, God merely wants His creation to know that He is God.  In Jesus' prayer in the above passage, I can sense His deep desire, birthed out of compassion for us, that we just believe in Him.  Oh that we would and that we would all be able to see the riches God has in store for us! 

God has so much in store for us in this life and in the life to come, but we can't know it nor can we have access to these riches of good character, blessings from service and rewards in eternal life, if don't take the time to be with God and get to know Him through His word.  How can we know Him without studying what He says if His ways and thoughts are not our thoughts.  There is no other option.  How will you get to know God better today so that you can make Him known to others? 

Dear Heavenly Father, I am awestruck by your love for me and amazed that no matter how many times I have read Jesus' prayer for me, I never cease to be deeply touched by it.  Show me more of yourself each time that I open my bible so that I can share You with others from the overflow of You in my life.  Put me in touch today with people who need a fresh dose of Your love in their life and allow me to share a Word with them from You.  Amen.

Healing Prayer

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  (2 Chronicles 7:14)

In my opinion, this is one of the most power-packed verses in all the bible regarding prayer.   How much more could we ask for from God but for Him to forgive us, hear us and heal us?  These are God's direct words to Solomon in response to Solomon's prayer for Israel at the dedication of the temple.  It was as if Solomon knew ahead of time that his people - and even he - would turn away from God at some point.  I suppose that is always a given for all of us, huh?

Let's break down the verse a bit, just for fun (okay, my fun) and application to our own lives. 

If my people which are called by my name ...  -  Just as the Israelites were God's chosen ones, we are also God's chosen people.   (John 15:16)  God wants us to be prosperous so we can give glory to His kingdom.

shall humble themselves, and pray ... I haven't been here in awhile on this blog.  The "H" word - humility.  It takes humility to come to our knees before God in prayer and admit we can't do it all or can't do anything, doesn't it?  (1 Peter 5:5-6)

and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways ...  If we seek God's face we will have no choice but to turn from our wicked ways because the light of His face will expose those ways so that we have no choice but to loathe them before a Holy God.  We must pray for this exposure so we know what to change.  (Psalm 139:23-24)  God will hear our prayers when our hearts are pure. (Psalm 66:18)

then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land... Now there is a promise.    God will hear us.  God will forgive us.  And God will heal our land.  Folks, God isn't saying he may.  God says He will.

Have you gotten enough to think about?  enough verses to ponder?  Remember, these aren't just my thoughts.  I'm merely trying to share my interpretation of what God is saying through His word the best way I can.   I've done enough talking.  Please join me in praying...

Father, I want to seek Your face in all that I do.  I want to humbly submit my will to You, only doing what You would have me to do with my life.  But, my pride and my perceptions and my plans get in the way.   Forgive me for the times where I know I've failed you, and show me the areas hidden to me now where you don't approve.  Heal my "land".  Show me Your face.  Help me to live for Your glory.  Amen.

Sleep On It

Alternate title: Even Prophets Need Time to Process

Who says there aren't principles for our lives that can be gleaned from Chronicles?   I'm seeing myself right in its pages today, as well as some of my friends! :)   Today's story is a tale of unsolicited advice and a tale of saving the best advice for last.  King David was hanging out at his house one day and got to thinking: "Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent."   (1 Chr 17:1 NIV) That was a good observation, don't you think?  After all, why should God be "living" in a place of less stature than an earthly king.  I like how it showed a) David's deep thinking side and b) His respect, love and concern for God.   However, was it a question?  Nathan, the resident prophet, apparently thought so.

Upon hearing David's thought regarding God's housing provisions, Nathan spoke up and said to David:

"Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you." (1 Chr 17:2 NIV)

David sure must have had a good testimony for a prophet to say that God was with him.  Could the same be said of us? Oh, but I digress.  There are more principles here than I thought!  :)  Back to the point I'm trying to make...  I'm interested not in Nathan's first response but his second, after some time had passed and God had a chance to speak to Nathan.  Had Nathan never spoke up a second time, I wonder if David would have wound up building the magnificent temple instead of Solomon.   Our bibles might have read a bit different. In short, Nathan went back to David some time later to tell him what God had said - that David should not build a temple for Him, but his son Solomon would after David's death.  This is quite different than Nathan's first response of basically telling David to do whatever he wished.  Do you see the difference?  God had the final and most definitive say.

So how does this apply to us?  Can you ever think of a time when someone asked your advice about an important predicament in their life?  Let me ask this.  Did you give them an "off the cuff" response, or did you prayerfully consider your reply before voicing it?  I've done both.  While I can't recall the exact details of a specific situation - after all, it is getting to be my bedtime here - I would venture to guess that the times I slept on the issue and waited for God to give me some wisdom, that my advice turned out to be the best.

God tells us to ask for wisdom when we need it.  He granted it abundantly to Solomon so many years ago (1 Kings 3:9-12) and He promises in His word that He will grant it to us.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding falut, and it will be given to him.

Wisdom will be given to us.  God's word doesn't say it will be given to us if we catch God in a good mood, now does it?  If we ask for it, God will give it.  I just love God, don't you?  He is so perfect and so consistent and so good.  What would we do without Him in our lives? 

So friends, don't be afraid to give advice or to ask for it.  Just give God a chance to give you the answers before you come up with your own.  I guarantee God's thoughts will be better.  Let's give out His thoughts, not ours. 

Feeling Helpless?

Feeling helpless is not a very fun place to be.   I'm sure we can all think of a few times when something painful or challenging has come upon us and we had no place to turn but to lift our eyes and voices up to heaven crying out "Why?' or "Help!".   In 1 Samuel 30, David, along with his faithful troop of 600, also found himself facing catastrophe. 

Remember, David had been hiding from Saul and living in the land of the Philistines in a city named Ziklag.   David had temporarily "forgotten" his faith in all of his fear of being tracked down by Saul.  He and his men returned home (to Ziklag) from fighting one day and discovered that the city had been burned down and their loved ones had been taken captive (1 Sam 30:3).   Even David's mighty men had a problem keeping it together with this sight:

Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. (1 Sam 30:4 NKJV)

I can't imagine the helplessness these men felt.  David had even a larger burden to bear.  Had he not led his men out to battle, they would have been able to protect their city and their families from ruin.  David was extremely distressed, however, we see that "David strengthened himself in the LORD his God." (1 Sam 30:6 NKJV).

In the middle of his distress, David sought God for comfort and found it.   Although he had temporarily left his faith behind for awhile, (I say this because had he not, he would have been living with the rest of his people, the Israelites, and not been hiding out from Saul), he still knew that when things got rough, God would be there for Him.   After seeking God for direction (30:8) God directed David and his men to the place where their families were being held captive and saved the day.  David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away.  (30:18)

God proves time and time again that He is in control and that He can deliver us in our time of need.  I wonder, though, how things would have turned out had David not taken the time to strengthen himself in God in his distress.  We need to do the same.  How do we practically find comfort in God in the midst of the trying circumstances of our lives?  How do we strengthen ourselves in Him?

To strengthen ourselves in God is to purposefully remember His goodness, power and strength to accomplish all that He desires for us in our lives.  If we can remember that He is able to overcome any obstacle for us and that He only wishes the best for us, we can be strengthened and encouraged to press on to "fight" another day. 

You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.
In God (I will praise His word),
In the Lord (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
(Psalm 56:8-11)


Janna Rust is a Life Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at