Have you ever been up late at night praying with something heavy on your heart and as you begin to pray you wonder if you are even being heard? Considering the billions of people on the planet, does God really have time to listen to all the prayers? Maybe you don’t think that He really does as you cross your fingers hoping this whole prayer thing will work. But does it really work?
The Prayers of a Dying King
King Hezekiah was a king in the Old Testament who became very sick and close to death. Isaiah, the prophet, visits King Hezekiah and delivers a rather grim message: “The Lord says to get your house in order because you are going to die.” I don’t suppose this was the uplifting message King Hezekiah was hoping for as he lay on his deathbed.
Isaiah wasn’t just sharing his medical opinion with the King, but was delivering a message from God Himself. If I was Kezekiah, I would probably have planned to spend as much time with my family as I could and maybe write somethings down I wanted my children to remember when I was gone. I would have assumed God’s decision to be final.
But that’s not what Hezekiah did. Instead, in brokenness of spirit, he went before the Lord and asked Him to reconsider. Of course God was too busy to hear Hezekiah’s request, right? God had already decided it was Hezekiah’s time to die so he was just wasting his time, wasn’t he?
No! In Isaiah 38:5, we find Isaiah once again being dispatched to Hezekiah’s room with a second message from God. God had heard Hezekiah’s prayer, had granted his request, and his life was extended an additional fifteen years.
What if Hezekiah hadn’t gone to the Lord in prayer? We’ll never know for sure, but he may have missed out on having his life extended, and experiencing the presence of God in his life. Hezekiah was not afraid to speak to God as a son speaks to a father. Hezekiah didn’t doubt God could spare his life.
Praying for a Baby
Then there was Zacharias and Elizabeth. Zacharias was a priest and both he and his wife were commended as being righteous by God (Luke 1:6). Elizabeth, however, was unable to have children. I wonder how many years this couple and prayed for a child. How many tears had they shed? How many hours had they spent on their knees in prayer? They were advanced in age, and when Elizabeth’s biological clock ran out of time, I wonder if they felt forgotten. I wonder if they gave up praying for a child.
When it came time for Zacharias to fulfill his duties as priest, an abel appeared to him. The angel told him, “Do not be afraid, for your prayer is heard and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son” (Luke 1:13). Nine months later—you bet, she had a son. They named him John, and he grew up to be known as John the Baptist.
Confidence in Prayer
We can be confident God hears us, and since we know He hears us, we can trust our requests are safe in His hands. God doesn’t want us to pray with crossed fingers, hoping that somehow our prayers make it past the ceiling. We are told to come with boldness before the throne of grace, where we will find mercy and help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
When I think of a throne, my mind conjures up the image of an oversized chair encased in solid gold and engraved with intricate carvings. It stands for power and authority. God chooses to call His throne a place of grace. A place of refuge. A place He wants us to run to when we have a need. He even tells us to come with boldness, expecting something to happen.
Even when you don’t think your prayers are being heard, they are. Uncross your fingers and pray with boldness. You are loved. You are heard.