Praying With Humble Responsiveness To The Word Of The Lord
  By Dave Butts

    During the Gulf War, Dennis and Betty Jo Conner’s son was stationed in a dangerous area. Betty Jo, who lives in Dallas, Texas, and serves with her husband in their ministry, Called to Serve, related this beautiful story of the power of God’s Word when she was faithful to respond to His leading:

    "During the Gulf War, our son, Sean, was stationed in an area where noon was dark as night because of the oil wells that had been set on fire. The smoke was so thick it literally covered the sun. All during the time he was there (I didn’t know exactly where he was during these times), the Lord had me pray perseveringly and with great confidence like never before the verses of Psalm 91.  Verse four was especially prominent each time I thought of Sean. It was as though I could literally see a giant wing, feathers spread out wide, covering him, shading him, sheltering him. Of course, at the time, none of the medical issues about Gulf War Syndrome due to inoculations and gas masks, etc. were apparent to anyone…but God knew and HE was keeping the "pestilence" (vv. 3, 6) from our son by day and by night. To this day, neither Sean nor his three children have suffered any of the physical problems that some of the veterans and their children have experienced.

    "During the night prior to the day the ground war began, Sean was in a Bradley vehicle going across the Iraq desert. The bombs were bursting all around him (I can’t hear/sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ the same since hearing his description of such a moment in his life) and they were able to get all the way around to the back side to be part of the major assault from the north, a surprise tactic. "No harm" befell him and "no disaster" came near his tent (v. 10) during these times: bombs, oil well fires, inoculations, and gas masks! To God be the glory! I still remember those times with the Lord and the power of His Word with great delight and warmth…My God is able to deliver!"

    Betty Jo had the comfort and the power of the Word of God to pray over her son in harm’s way. Can you imagine not having access to your Bible in times of struggle or crisis? The nation of Judah experienced this very thing when the Book of the Law had been lost for many years due to neglect. When it resurfaced during the reign of King Josiah, this young man immediately humbled himself before the Lord and re-established the authority of the Word of God in the life of the nation.

Good King Josiah’s Reign

    Josiah was the last of the good kings of Judah. His father, King Amon, son of Manasseh, was an evil king who was killed by his own officials. At the tender age of eight, Josiah became king. His reign was marked by a return to godliness, restoration of the authority of the Word of God, and a great celebration of the Passover. "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left" (2 Chronicles 34:2).

    Eight years into his reign, Josiah had a life-changing experience. According to the Word, when he was sixteen, "…he began to seek the God of his father David" (2 Chronicles 34:3). This teenage king turned his heart toward God, and for the rest of his life he followed the Lord with his whole heart, bringing the nation with him on his journey. At age twenty he began a purge of all the idolatry that had sprung up under his father, King Amon. He personally toured the country making sure that the idols were destroyed and pagan altars torn down.

    It was in his eighteenth year as king that he turned his attention toward repairing the temple that had been left in disrepair. Workmen on the temple made an amazing discovery. The Book of the Law that had been given to Moses was found in the temple where it had apparently lain unused and ignored for many years.

    Josiah reacted to the finding of the Book of the Law with godly sorrow, tearing his robes and grieving over the affront to God. Though his prayer is not recorded for us, the fact that he prayed was. The prophetess Huldah spoke these words to Josiah, "Because your heart was responsive… and because you humbled yourself before Me and tore your robes and wept in My presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord" (2 Chronicles 34:27).

    How we need to have this sort of responsive heart before God when we find that the Word of God has been neglected in our own lives. No matter how far we advance in the matters of the kingdom of God, there will always be times when the Word of God comes to us, confronting us with our neglect in some area. The humble response of Josiah will bring us to a place where God can restore and empower us to do what He has commanded us to do.

    Josiah’s response was not merely that of sorrow. He acted upon his repentance by calling Judah together, while he himself, as king, read the entire Book of the Covenant to them. After reading the Law, 2 Chronicles 34:31 says, "The king stood by his pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord – to follow the Lord and keep His commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book." Then he called all of Judah to pledge themselves to do the commands of God as recorded in the Book.

    Let’s apply the lessons of Josiah to our own day. Can you imagine living in a place where the Bible had been lost? How does that make you feel about those nations and people groups today who have no access to the Word of God? Even closer to home, what about Bibles that sit unopened…neglected by those who have access, but lack the spiritual desire to know God’s Word?

    Of course, it’s never just reading the Bible…it always means obeying the Word. Can you think of a time when the Bible brought conviction to you? How did you respond? May we be like Josiah, and his ancestor David before him, who, convicted by the Word of God, repented and began to live in a way that honored the Lord and advanced His Kingdom.

    Excerpted from: Pray Like The King: Lessons from the Prayers of Israel’s Kings by Dave and Kim Butts. PrayerShop Publishing, Terre Haute, IN ©2007 (available at www.prayershop.org).

    If you would like to read more articles by Dave Butts, please visit www.harvestprayer.com.