Does God Answer Prayer?
Isaiah 36:13-20, 37:5-7, 37:14-21,37:33-38; 2 Chronicles 32:1-23
I have prayed ever since I was a child. It started with the “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer. Then as I got older it advanced to “Dear God please let me be either Marsha or Jan Brady.” I didn’t want to be Cindy because I didn’t want to speak with a lisp. I also prayed that I would be stranded on Gilligan’s Island with the agreement that I could share Mary Ann’s hut because she was my favorite. Then my prayer life took a drastic change, which naturally corresponded with the purchase of my first Donny Osmond album. This led to a concern for my future. So my prayers sounded a lot like, “Dear God please let me marry Donny Osmond.” God in all His infinite wisdom answered my prayers. with a great big “NO”.
Set aside from the fact that my prayers were based on television shows and Mormon singers they were actual desires of my heart. That was the problem. This is what I wanted and God had a different plan. Praying to God is more than just presenting your “wish list” to Him. In the book of Isaiah, King Hezekiah was in a lot of distress. Jerusalem’s vicious enemies the Assyrians were right outside the city and they were coming for him and his people. What did old Hezekiah do?
Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood, and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.” Isaiah 37:15-20
When faced with this dilemma old Hezekiah made the right decision. He humbled himself and his people before God and prayed. So how did God answer Hezekiah’s prayer?
“Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.” Isaiah 37:33-35
Yes, Hezekiah did have an agenda with his prayer. He wanted to save his own skin but he also knew that the Assyrian’s had basically spit in the eye of God. This was about saving Hezekiah and his people but it was also about letting the Assyrian’s know who the One and Only True God is. Often we turn to God when things are beyond our control or like me, pray to God with a huge wish list. We are all guilty of this. God does answer prayer and He has three answers. He answers yes, He answers no, or He answers later. Sometimes we think we may have lost because God answers no, but if it’s His answer, then we win! Isaiah 36:1-37:38