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The Lord Makes Us Strong (1 Chronicles 19:13)

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Be strong and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.
– 1 Chronicles 19:13

There’s so much to learn in this little verse, specifically about how to pray, motives in our praying. In this passage in First Chronicles 19, Joab is working hard to arrange the armies for war and he is doing so wisely, but he’s also doing so knowing that everything is ultimately in God’s hands, and he’s encouraging the people to be strong but listen to the purpose for being strong. Be strong and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God.

God, help me to be strong so that I can be a blessing and encouragement to others.

Oftentimes, we ask for strength, really just focused on ourselves. We feel weak and we need strength simply for us. Yes, there’s a sense in which it’s good to go before God, our father, to ask for strength simply for our own good but what I love about First Chronicles, Chapter 19, verse 13 is the exhortation to be strong here is attached to using that strength for the sake of others. God help me to be strong so that I can be a blessing to others, so that I can be an encouragement to others, so that I can use the strength you provide for others’ good and ultimately for your glory, trusting that you will do ultimately what seems good to you, so let’s pray accordingly.

First Chronicles 19:13. What a good exhortation to us, to pray for strength not just for our own sake but for the sake of others. God, we confess today our weakness before you. John Chapter 15, verse five is in so many ways the foundation for our praying. Apart from you, we can do nothing. We are powerless, hopeless without you, apart from you, we need your strength and we know that we can do, Philippians 4:13, all things through Christ who strengthens us.

As we rely on your strength in us, you will give us, we know, everything we need to do all that you call us to do. And so, God, we pray today as weak people for your strength in every way we need it. God, I imagine there’s a lot of people praying this right now who feel really weak and who are struggling in different ways and need your strength. God, even for those who are not feeling weak, we pray you remind us of our weakness, that we might look to you for our strength, and that as you provide it, as you give us strength, as you give us courage, as you give us wisdom, as you give us everything we need, that you would use all these things, namely the strength you provide, for the good of others.

God, make us strong so that we can serve others well. Make us strong, we pray, so that we can be a blessing to others. Make us strong so that we can be a reflection of your love and your provision in others’ lives. Make us strong for the sake of our families. Make us strong for the sake of our friends, and neighbors, and co-workers. Make us strong for the sake of our churches. Make our churches strong, we pray, for the sake of people around us who need the gospel.

Make our churches strong, we pray, for the sake of the nations, even as we pray today for the Chhipa people of India, this people group that is both Sikh and Hindu and Muslim in a very unusual way, but none of them out of hundreds of thousands of them know the good news of your love in Jesus. God, we pray that you would make your church strong, our lives and families strong so that we might go to the nations in need of the gospel. God, help us to be strong today for the good of others and ultimately for the glory of your name, trusting that you, the wise, sovereign, all-powerful Lord will do what seems good to you. We trust in you, oh God. Oh God, we pray all these things in Jesus’ name according to First Chronicles 19, verse 13. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.
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