The power of prayer!
Scripture reading for July 28th: Isaiah 36-39
In Isaiah 38 we have the record of an interesting incident in the life of a good king of Israel, Hezekiah. Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The Lord sent the prophet Isaiah to tell him to get his house in order because he was going to die. (Isaiah 38:1) God told this man that his time was up on earth! Who are we to argue with what God says?
In the next verse, we find Hezekiah turning his face to the wall. He humbly prayed to the Lord a simple prayer and wept bitterly. “Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” (Isaiah 38:2) Isaiah then heard the Lord speak to him again. He was to go back to Hezekiah and tell him that the Lord had heard his prayer and seen his tears and would add 15 years to his life. The Lord also assured him that He would deliver the king and Jerusalem from the Assyrians. (Isaiah 38:4-6)
God also gave Hezekiah a special sign of His favor and mercy. He made the sunlight go back ten steps on the staircase of Ahaz. As God had promised more time, He demonstrated His power to turn back the clock! Wow, what an amazing God we serve! What a powerful answer to prayer and what grace for a visual sign of the answer!
This record seems so easy! But there are several things to note that are instructive for us. First, Hezekiah simply reminded God of his life of faith! (James 5:16) He had lived by faith for many years and had a habit of trusting God. What a good record to draw on! Second, Hezekiah was sincere and did not just put on a show. He was real with God about his feelings and desire. Third, he did not demand anything from God, but simply appealed to the one who held His life in His hands. God answered because he heard the prayer and saw the tears! (Isaiah 38:5) God saw a sincere heart of faith and it moved Him. Faith always moves God! (Mark 11:22-24) Faith pleases God like nothing else! (Hebrews 11:6) Jesus asked in respect to prayer if He would find faith on earth when He came again. (Luke 18:8)
If you are facing an impossible situation today, try simply asking God like Hezekiah of old. Trust Him to hear and answer! Here is Hezekiah’s response to God’s grace: “But what can I say: He has spoken to me, and He Himself has done this. I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul. Lord, by such things men live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” Isaiah 38:15-17