Saturday, October 29, 2016

Does Prayer Change Things?

Do you remember Hezekiah from the Old Testament? He was the 13th king of Judah and reigned somewhere around 700+ years before the birth of Christ. As far as I can tell, Hezekiah was a pretty good king and his reign brought forth numerous religious reforms. He worked hard to bring an end to the worship of other gods, and to restore allegiance to the one true God. 

2 Kings 20 tells the story of Hezekiah becoming gravely ill and describes his as being near death. The prophet Isaiah came to him and gave him the news, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

 We would be safe in assuming that was not good news for Hezekiah. After all, a prophet had delivered God's decree to him, telling him he was going to die. The Bible tells us Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall and began to pray.  In his prayer, he mentions his faithfulness to God and recounts his devotion to doing only those things that were right in God's eyes. Hezekiah kept praying and weeping.

God's prophet, Isaiah, had already left but had not gotten very far before God sent him back to Hezekiah with these words. "This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.”

Hezekiah's prayer had touched the heart of God and instead of hearing the echo of a message of death, he was now hearing that God was going to heal him. Not only that, God also promised to add 15 years to his life and deliver Hezekiah and his people from the hand of the king of Assyria. 

I remember seeing a movie which showed the flashing neon sign on the front of an old run-down church building, "Prayer Changes Things."  It sure changed some things for Hezekiah. It brought him healing, a longer life and deliverance. 

Do we have the confidence that our prayers, according to the will of God, can bring us healing and life and deliverance?  If we focus on faithfulness and devote ourselves to doing things which are right in God's eyes, I think we can have that confidence. 

Our study on prayer, specifically intercessory prayer, has taught us of God's willingness to hear and answer when we pray. In Hezekiah's story where he prayed for himself, or in our praying for God to bless the lives of others, God's love for us is seen in the infinite God listening to finite man, and answering his prayers. 

Prayer does change things, and an improvement in our prayer lives will show that to be true. My prayer is that God will bless and strengthen you as you grow closer to Him. 


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