There is a secret weapon that cannot be overcome or subjugated with even the most meticulously planned military strategies, smart missiles, or even nuclear bombs. This secret weapon is able to uncover carefully concealed intelligence of the enemies agendas and strategies. It is able to accurately pinpoint names, places and dates of calculated terror and atrocities. This secret weapon has the power to utterly devastate all the weapons, operations and future plans of the enemy. This secret weapon is all powerful and all conquering! There is no comparison nor equal to the authority that this secret weapon wields!
It is the secret weapon of deliberate, focused, united corporate prayer, that executes the miraculous and divisively annihilates the seemingly more powerful enemy.
Let’s look at an old story in a new light, to discover more about our ‘secret weapon’ in our modern day environment!
The serenity of the royal palace in Jerusalem is suddenly disrupted with the scuffling of urgent, fearful feet. The abrupt shock of the unexpected interruption slowly gives way to incredibility. “What’s that you said?” King Jehoshaphat asks the shaken group of men to repeat their alarming communique.
"A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar, near En Gedi.”
Three armies only 68kms SE of Jerusalem are poised for battle. Alarm bells are ringing in the Palace. The enemy is within striking distance! (2 Chronicles 20:1-2).
1. HOLY RESOLVE
Resolve to seek the Lord was Jehoshaphat’s first response to this disastrous news. He had made seeking God a habit because he was a man of prayer, so his natural instinct was to turn to God in times of trouble, as the first priority. He refused to lean on his own strength, experience or competence, neither to turn to others for help or counsel. Refraining from counting the soldiers, studying his army battlements inventory or embarking on military strategies, Jehoshaphat determines to seek God first! ‘Alarmed’, but not panicked into making hurried or pressured decisions, Jehoshaphat is instead seized by a holy resolve to pursue his God in crisis. The enemy is perilously close to the city, and despite the imminent danger, he stills his heart for prayer. His resolve is rewarded by the Lord, who opens his understanding to the first strategic battle plan - corporate prayer - the battle plan instigated from the Throne! (2 Chronicles 20:3-34).
2. INTELLIGENT STRATEGIC PRAYER
King Jehoshaphat calls all Judah for urgent prayer and fasting, ‘and indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek Him.” (2 Chronicles 20:4). With everyone involved as one man, they align themselves with the king to seek the Lord.
During the course of his reign, Jehoshaphat had turned his people back to the Lord and reestablished godly rule and justice. (2 Chronicles 19:3,4,8). This sudden deadly turn of events was the immediate opposition to the nationwide move of God lead by Jehoshaphat; the opposing armies being the human face to demonic resistance to God’s purposes for the nation.
Jehoshaphat stands up in the presence of ‘all the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones of at the temple of the LORD.’ (2 Chronicles 20:5). It was time to get serious with God. Jehoshaphat’s prayer reveals the depth of his intimacy and relationship with God and his ability to lead his people in crisis:
1. The king KNEW his God. "O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.” (2 Chronicles 20:6).
2. The king KNEW his rights because he KNEW the Word of God. “O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 'If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.' (2 Chronicles 20:7-9).
3. The king KNEW the enemy was transgressing the inheritance of God’s people. "But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. O our God, will you not judge them?” (2 Chronicles 20:10-12).
4. The king KNEW his own limitations. “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.” (2 Chronicles 20:12).
5. The king KNEW that only GOD could help in this situation. “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." (2 Chronicles 20:12).
6. The king KNEW that God would hear and answer their corporate prayer: ‘All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.’ (2 Chronicles 20:13). They stood in God’s presence, waiting on God for His word and direction.
From her vast experience Cindy Jacobs says, ‘Corporate intercession ... praying in large numbers gives an added force to intercession that brings great moves of God. It means greater assurance of His divine presence in evangelism and revival.’ Corporate prayer is the church’s ‘secret weapon’ against Satan and his diabolical endeavors. Fearful of the effects of corporate prayer, our enemy works tirelessly to prevent corporate prayer at any level.
3. HEAVEN’S RESPONSE
God responds to the corporate cry of the assembled people. The second strategic battle plan is revealed - Praise & worship! God tells them through the prophetic word, that ‘God Himself will fight this battle for them’, and then gives specific battle directions. Odedience will ensure God’s response and consequent victory. (See 2 Chronicles 20:14-20). Encouraged by the Lord’s promise, the entire assembly spontaneously worship the Lord.(2 Chronicles 20:18).
Obedience sees God act! Early the next morning the Israelite army prepares to march to the designated place of battle revealed in the prophetic word. ‘As they began to sing and praise’, (Heaven’s second battle strategy), God acts suddenly and unexpectedly against the enemy armies. God’s people entered the purposes of God that day with PRAISE. ‘As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated." (2 Chronicles 20:22).
AS they set out and the praises of God were in their mouths, something was happening among the opposing armies. While they praised the Lord, at the battle site still some distance away, the enemy forces were annihilating each other. They were thrown into confusion as God's people worshipped. While the Israelite army advanced to the battle with the sounds of praise, the enemy was utterly defeated. The result of corporate prayer was dramatic and final! God's enemies were destroyed and God's children escaped the devilish plots against them!
‘Praise in itself can be a weapon of spiritual warfare to weaken the influence of the powers of evil and open the way for God to be glorified.’ (1.) ‘Worship is intercessory ... it has the power to break Satan’s strongholds.’ (2.) This is what happened on this day as the people began to praise the Lord! Obedience to the revealed battle strategy saw a spiritual action transpire. Through the avenue of corporate prayer, God’s specific will was understood and consequently carried out. The enemies plans and personnel now lay shattered!
The corporate prayer of the people of Judah saw God’s miraculous hand move in a previously unprecedented manner. The Lord ‘set ambushes’ against the once united armies. They were thrown into complete chaos by God’s intervention. When the men of Judah arrived at the scene there was not one man from the combined armies still alive. God had miraculously intervened and did as He had promised, ‘You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you...’ (2 Chronicles 20:20-21).
The first result of corporate prayer is miraculous intervention and deliverance!
It didn’t take Jehoshaphat long to absorb the enormity of the scene before them at the battle site. Quickly the king and his men went to carry off their plunder, ‘and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value--more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.’ (2 Chronicles 20:25).
Without raising the battle cry or drawing a sword they were given victory.
The second result of corporate prayer are the rewards.
There was plenty for Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah ... so much, that it took more than 100,000 people three whole days to collect the battle spoils! One day to plunder each enemy army!
Corporate prayer sees the enemy defeated, his weapons stripped from him, and his treasures given to God’s people. Jesus draws a New Testament parallel in his discussion on spiritual warfare, ‘How can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.’ (Matthew 12:29).
TAKING THE PLUNDER!
Although not immediately apparent by the nature of the crisis, God’s purpose in allowing this situation was to ultimately bless the nation. With the battle won, everyone was rewarded, all were blessed.
This historic event is reminiscent of another strategic three days of plundering the spoils of an arch enemy - Jesus plundered hell! ‘And having disarmed (KJV having ‘spoiled’), the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.’(Colossians 2:15). What Christ gained is maintained and enforced by the church; ‘His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Ephesians 3:10-11).
Through corporate prayer we are able to ATTACK, OVERCOME AND DESTROY the enemies strongholds. Jesus teaches, "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.” (Luke 11:21-22). The spoils are ripe for the picking once we have attacked, disarmed and vanquished our enemy through prayer! And the spoils of our battle are of inestimable value ... the souls of men.The spoils of our battles are the souls of those previously held captive to the devils will. (2 Timothy 2:26). Our plunder is securing the deliverance of those oppressed by the devil. (Acts 10:38). Our reward is bringing to the light those blinded from the true knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 4:14, 10:5).
Miracles! Healing! Deliverance! Salvation! We can all be involved in the attack, overcoming and plundering of the strongman and seizing his possessions! The gates of hell will not prevail against a praying church. And today’s praying church must rise up in militant force to possess the spoils of battle for our God and His Kingdom!
The solution to Jehoshaphat’s dilemma started with corporate prayer and ended with corporate celebration, the direct consequence of binding the strongman and plundering his goods.
‘On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, where they praised the LORD ... Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the LORD with harps and lutes and trumpets. The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. (Remember the demons tremble at the name of Jesus uttered from our lips!). And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.” (2 Chronicles 20:26-30). Only days before the city of Jerusalem was in high alert. Now it was pulsating with music, song, rejoicing and celebration! Their prayers miraculously answered! Their enemies dead and plundered!
Corporate celebration and worship is the final victory of corporate prayer.
ACTIVATING THE ‘SECRET WEAPON’
Jehoshaphat and Judah had prayed together, plundered together and celebrated together!
Through effective prayer, ‘we are working together with God to determine the future. Certain things will happen in history if we pray rightly.’ (3.)
In World War II, the secret weapon of corporate prayer was used powerfully to defeat the Nazi invasion of England. Corporate prayer changed the course of history! In September of 1940, Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England during WW II, had received intelligence reports that a Nazi air invasion of England was pending. The British Royal Airforce were hopelessly outnumbered. The invasion commenced with more than 200 Nazi bombers heading towards the shores of England. The British responded with a meager 26 squadrons. The following historical account of this event is taken from British history as recorded in Katherine Pollard Carter’s book, ‘Hand on the Helm’.
"... Then inexplicably the discs on the wall chart began to move eastward. The great air flotilla had turned back. With 185 of their aircraft downed in flames they were in retreat! Miraculously, against all logistical probability, the Royal Air Force had won the battle...
Amazing reports came from the downed Nazi pilots. [Several were] quizzed as to why they had turned back when only two planes were attacking. “Two”, exclaimed one pilot. “There were hundreds!” Another Luftwaffe officer asked them in perplexity, “Where did you get all those planes you threw into battle over Britain.?” His British interrogators managed to mask their surprise. Actually, the powerful Nazi bomber force had been met by a mere handful of little outmoded Royal Air Force Spitfire and Hurricane fighters. There was no sky full of Royal Air Force planes!...
A Nazi intelligence officer captured still later came nearest to disclosing the divine source of the ... mirages which had confused the Luftwaffe pilots. “With the striking of your Big Ben clock each evening at nine,” the Nazi told the British intelligence officer, “you used a secret weapon which we did not understand. It was very powerful, and we could find no countermeasure against it.”
He was right! There was a powerful force set in motion each evening as Big Ben struck nine. It was the powerful force of a nation in heartfelt prayer against which no countermeasure could hope to prevail - a nation in prayer to the omnipotent God of creation. Each evening as Big Ben struck nine, the people of the British Isles and of the far flung English Commonwealth halted for the famous Silent Moment of Prayer ..."(4.) (Bold italics are mine.).
It was the secret weapon of deliberate, united corporate prayer that wrought the miraculous and defeated the seemingly ‘more powerful’ enemy.’ E.M. Bounds correctly points out that, ‘Prayer is not preparation for the battle; it is the battle.’
“MY HOUSE WILL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER!”
Now is the time to bring to fruition the desire of Christ and revolutionize His House into ‘a house of prayer.’ (Matthew 21:13). The hour has come for the church to rise to her full potential in holy resolve. The time is at hand for the church to fight and take back for God the spiritual dominion over our cities, regions and nations. Once the strongman is bound, his goods can be looted. But, until that victory is won, relentless, unified, strategic corporate prayer must continually raid and bombard the heavenly realms, to destroy the devil’s strongholds and to usher in the kingdom of God.
The ‘secret weapon’ of praying churches result in rewards for all and culminates in corporate celebration. Will you join the prayer assault? Will you activate in your church, the ‘secret weapon’ of corporate prayer, to see the will of God done on earth as it is in heaven, here and now?
(1.) Peter Wagner, “Churches that Pray’, Chapter 7.
(2.) Cindy Jacobs.
(3.) Richard Foster, ‘Celebration of Discipline.’
(4.) Katherine Pollard Carter, ‘Hand on the Helm’. (Springdale, Pa.: Whitaler House, 1977), pp. 4-5.
Karen Elengikal is an inspirational, published writer from Sydney, Australia. Karen's first book 'Kidz Battle Zone' was released in 2007. (see FW Book Review).