May 5, 2020

The Difference Prayer Makes

“Because you prayed … The Lord has spoken …” Isaiah 37:21, 22 (NLT)

Are there events in your life that you can look back on and see the hand of God because you prayed? John Wesley once said, “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” James, the half-brother of our Lord Jesus, said, “You don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” James 4:2 (NLT) Jesus said, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:24 (NIV)

I believe when we get to heaven, we are going to be blown away by the number of things we see labeled, “Not asked for.” That was certainly not a problem when I was a child. Children rarely cease from asking for what they want. When did we lose the confidence or the courage to simply ask? I was struck by this passage in Isaiah. The prophet was speaking to Hezekiah, the King of Judah. The King had just received alarming news that threatened all the people of Judah. An enemy that had already wiped out the ten Northern tribes of Israel was now aiming their sites on the only remaining tribes of the Southern Kingdom over which he ruled! The odds were overwhelming! He was in serious trouble! His first response was to ask the Prophet Isaiah to pray, after which the problem escalated with further threats! It was then that Hezekiah went up to the Lord’s Temple and prayed. He prayed for God to rescue his people from the power of the enemy. He acknowledged God’s great power and his own weakness. He asked God to show His strength by defeating the enemy so that all the kingdoms of the earth would know that He alone was God!

God heard Hezekiah’s cry. He sent Isaiah to him with this response. “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Because you prayed … the Lord has spoken …” To sum it up, God assured Hezekiah that this enemy was done! He would never enter the city. They would never even shoot an arrow at it! (Vs.33) God said, “I will defend this city and protect it.” (Vs. 35)

That very night an angel of the Lord killed 185,000 enemy soldiers! And when the enemy King returned home, he was assassinated. Prayer answered –you think? I hope you never have to pray about something as drastic as Hezekiah. Still the challenge remains. If you want God to answer, you must pray. It’s great to ask others to pray but God is waiting on you to pray. Let it be part of your personal faith legacy that God moved mightily, provided supernaturally, and changed lives because you prayed!