How To Pray for a Breakthrough in 2018
Many people begin each New Year with resolutions—most never make it through the first 24 hours! I am convinced that God doesn’t just want to give us New Year resolutions, He wants to give us New Year breakthroughs! A breakthrough has been defined as “a sudden, dramatic acceleration that leads to an impactful advance”. A breakthrough is to push through a barrier that has brought pain, fear, and discouragement. David, after one victory in I Chronicles 14:11, said, “I watched the Lord breakthrough my enemies like a mighty flood.”
Perhaps through much of 2017 you felt stuck; up against a wall in your health, finances, ministry, business, or certain relationships. Perhaps you’ve felt bombarded and attacked by temptations of different kinds. The Bible says that “when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will raise a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19 AKJV)
The Bible reveals to us that the key to breakthrough is prayer. In the beginning of January, we are encouraging everyone in our church to pray through every detail of their lives. There is no doubt in my mind that God wants to bring breakthroughs in all of our lives that will amaze us.
So…how do you pray for a breakthrough? Let me just refer you to the story of Jehoshaphat found in 2 Chronicles 20. Jehoshaphat was the King of Judah. He woke up one day to discover that he was surrounded by three enemy armies that seriously outnumbered his armies; and they were moving into destroy Jerusalem. Naturally, he was alarmed; however, his first response wasn’t to mobilize his troops, it was to mobilize his people to pray. Consider 5 ways Jehoshaphat prayed for a breakthrough:
1. He united people together to seek the face of God.
In the first verses it says that Jehoshaphat brought everyone together to pray and seek help from God. Everyone came even the kids and babies. I remember a time when I was in elementary school and we received word that our youth pastor had been in a serious car accident. My Dad brought all of us into the living room and we spent the evening on our knees in prayer. It was a powerful memory to me. That night we witnessed God do a breakthrough and the youth pastor made an amazing recovery. Breakthrough prayer has strength in numbers. Ask others to unite with you. Call the prayer line and friends to lock arms with you. Approach the gates of Hell with a battering ram, asking as many people as possible to push with you.
2. He called for the people to fast.
As Jehoshaphat gathered the people to seek God, he declared a fast for all of Judah. Fasting is not about us to trying to earn or get God to move for us, it is about getting us out of the way to release the move of God that He wants to accomplish. When we fast we are more sensitive to God. In fasting we experience the paradoxical truth that, “when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV). Fasting is a way of humbling ourselves. Humility prompts us to easily recognize things we need to repent of, allowing God to remove these things from our attitudes and mind. Then, we can be in alignment with what God wants to do and say in this situation. There are many verses that speak of how God gives grace to the humble, that He is just waiting and looking for hearts totally yielded to Him, so He can do something mighty (see 2 Chron. 7:14, 2 Chron. 16:9, I Peter 5:6-7).
3. He led the people to shift their focus.
Instead of focusing on their problem, Jehoshaphat led the people to turn their focus on to God. In verse 6 Jehoshaphat prays, “O Lord, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over every kingdom and nation. You are so powerful and mighty that nothing and no one can defeat you!” Someone said that fear is putting our problems between us and God; faith is putting God between us and our problem! The choice to make God big in our situation is the first step to moving from a reaction to a revelation.
4. He led the people to pray specifically for a breakthrough.
God wants us to ask boldly and specifically for Him to produce a great breakthrough in our lives! In verses 10-12 Jehoshaphat prays, “our enemies want to destroy us, will you not stop them from defeating us. Lord we are powerless against this mighty army that is coming to attack us, and we don’t know what to do; but, we are looking to you for help.” In the last months our church went through a financial struggle. We really came down to the wire; almost exhausting our reserves as the giving went sharply down for several months. What made it even more trying was that we had launched out on a badly needed remodel and repair project for our kid’s chapel, requiring funds far beyond our normal giving. As many prayed, I asked specifically that the Lord would give us $100,000 for the remodel above all the regular tithes and offerings in December. I just received the word that we received over $118,000 in December! What a boost to my faith to see a specific prayer answered as a breakthrough step!
5. He led the people to wait to hear from God.
The people waited to hear from God; then, they obediently took the step He gave them to face the battle. In verses 15-18, God gave them a prophetic word. The Lord told them several things including:
-Don’t be afraid or discouraged
-It’s My battle, I will handle it
-Stand strong and position yourself in faith to see what I will do.
I believe for every fear and worry we face God has a whisper. We simply need to let Him get our hearts in position to hear it. The word He whispers is always about a way that He wants us to transfer the battle from our court to His court. He wants us to let Him handle what needs to happen. With the whisper there is always a step; a small step that God tells us to take. That step can’t solve the problem; however, God works through our obedience to show us what He can do. In this case, they were to send out the choir and sing praises to the Lord! That’s right, not a massive army—A choir!!!
One of the beautiful things about this story is that not only were the people of Judah delivered, they came out of the battle with far more than they had when it started! By the time the choir got to the battle field, they discovered the enemy armies had turned on each other! Most of them were killed; the others were fleeing so quickly they left leaving tons of spoils behind! It took 7 days to collect the spoils of a battle they didn’t even fight—God fought it for them!! It is interesting that the battlefield they gathered the spoils from is called the “valley of Beracah”, which means the “valley of blessings”. This is God’s promise to all of us under siege today. He will not only fight for us, but He will turn a valley of battle into the valley of blessing. We will come out of the fight with far more than what we went into it with. This story really describes the type of breakthrough God wants to bring into your life as you pray!
When I was in my 30’s, I went through a very difficult period of dealing with a disabling chronic depression combined with anxiety attacks that would keep me from sleeping. This went on for months. With the help of some wonderful Pastors and friends, I followed these steps in praying for a breakthrough. I remember that eventually it was clear that the Holy Spirit was telling me to take small steps of faith:
-Listen to praise music at night and thank God that you have more time with Him
-Keep showing up for breakthrough prayer appointments with friends who would spend 20-30 minutes praying with me 3 times a week.
-Read a list of memory scriptures declaring healing every day
-Keep showing up for work and serving people
-Go on an outreach to Juarez and a mission trip to the Philippines.
I can’t really tell you the day it happened; but, a full breakthrough came. I have been free from depression for over 25 years!! Consequently, I know breakthrough prayer works!
The breakthrough you need won’t come from a sudden remarkable thing you do, but from a small way you are faithful just to be obedient to what God calls you to do. Start your journey toward your personal breakthrough today remembering these five key things Jehoshaphat taught his people to have a breakthrough. Then, no matter how simple it sounds, do what God tells you to do!