Sometimes I Forget

prayer
I hate to say it but sometimes I forget that God answers prayer. I think that sometimes I am guilty of looking at prayer as a discipline I need to practice just because it is one of the disciplines that Christians practice. It is easy for me take for granted the fact that prayer is an open conduit to God, who willfully sacrificed Himself so that we could have a conversation with Him.

I ran across a few scriptures in my devotional readings that have helped remind me that God answers prayer. 2 Kings 19-20 chronicles the reign of King Hezekiah. Two times in these chapters we see specific instances of where God responds to King Hezekiah’s prayers.

First in 2 Kings 19:14-20:

14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD, the 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. 16 Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 17 Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands 18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 19 So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.”
Isaiah Prophesies Sennacherib’s Fall
20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Your prayer to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.

Then in 2 Kings 20:1-6:

In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’ ” 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3 “Now, O LORD, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: 5 “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD, 6 and I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.”

In both of these passages we see God respond to King Hezekiah’s pleas. These two passages of scripture are just a small sampling of examples in the Bible of God responding to prayer. I also wanted to include Psalm 116:1-2 here because it really gets to the core matter of our relationship with God through Jesus; a need for mercy, forgiveness, and salvation.

Psalm 16:1-2

1 I love the LORD, because he has heard
   my voice and my pleas for mercy.
2 Because he inclined his ear to me,
   therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

So what’s the take away? For me it’s a simple reminder that God answers prayer. It is additionally a challenge to be mindful of what I am praying. How fortunate are we that we would be allowed to interact with the Creator of the Universe in such a personal way as prayer? How fortunate are we that God is mindful of each one of us individually? And how fortunate are we that not only does God listen, but he answers!

What about you guys? Any thoughts on prayer?

Grace and Peace.

Tony

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5 thoughts on “Sometimes I Forget

  1. Tony,
    I also sometimes pray out of duty, without expectation, so it is no surprise when those prayers are not answered. Why would God answer me when I show no faith? Would it be better for me not to pray at all on those occasions? I think not, but it is an area of my spiritual life that can use a lot of improvement.

    On a different subject, how many times in the Bible do we see a reference to the third day, foreshadowing the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

    2 Kings 20:5 “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD…”

    In Nehemiah, he rests for 3 days when he arrives in Jerusalem,

    Nehemiah 2:11 So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 Then I arose in the night…

    In fact just searching for “three days” in the ESV yields 70 results, for example…

    Genesis 40:12, 13
    12 Then Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. 13 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer.

    Exodus 3:18 And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’

    Am I so impatient that I don’t see the answer to many prayers because I refuse to wait three days?
    -jim
    http://ke4juh.wordpress.com/

  2. Tony,
    If I was writing the post that you wrote, I would have to entitle it “Often I forget.” I find myself sometimes talking or thinking to myself as I would a prayer, but not conciously and purposefully “sending” that message to God. I know God knows all my thoughts, ramblings, desires, fellings, etc. But we all love, live, and die my the fact that thoae thoughts, ramblings, desires, feelings, etc. are supposed to be prayers. Paul says to “pray without ceasing” but in my Daily thoughts and prayers, I daily think my prayers but don’t conciously “send” that message to God. I prayed last night at small group for “our interactions with the people that are drifting from God would be purposeful,” meaning that they would not be just passing comments. I pray know that our thoughts and prayers be purposeful and deliberately intended for God to hear. The more often that happens the better we all will be. It was good to see you at small group, I have really been missing the group and being at church lately. Thats one benefit to the holidays being passed for a few weeks…I am able to be around again! Woo Hoo!

    -Daniel Reynolds

  3. Tony,
    I’m about to sleep, but I was doing my nightly reading and I’ve been reading “A Love Worth Giving” by Max Lucado. He writes, “For as you recieve his love, you’ll find it easier to give yours. As you reflect on his courtesy to you, you’ll be likely to offer the same.” For me this speaks loudly. When I pray, manyu times I feel guilty for asking for things. I feel that I don’t have the authority or I don’t deserve to ask God for things, because I have fallen short of his desires for me. However, in all reality, after reading this chapter of the book I have been realigned witht the fact that God wants us to ask him for things. He want’s us to dote on him, to need him, to desire all things from him. God is jealous and wants this from us. If we ask of this and he gives, then we see, feel, and experience the love that we need to show others. Your blog on prayer has really sparked a series of thoughts inside my mind. Thanks and blessings be to you!

    Daniel

  4. Good post Bro,

    I feel the Lord does answer our prayers but in his own timing and his own way. I have prayed for a lot of things to happen but when they didn’t I saw where the Lord knew what was best for me. One example would be when I wanted to get hired on at Mercedes, I felt the door was opened and I walked through it but in the end I never got a call back. I even took the drug screen and the training. But that’s where the Lord came in. He promoted me in my current job and gave me a better deal. Now the Auto industry is taking a turn for the worse and who knows where I would be if I had that prayer answered. We will never know what plans the Lord will have for us, I just take comfort knowing he is looking out for my best interest. Jim as far as the third day references in the Bible I think that could be symbolic of the trinity. I also find it interesting how many times 40 days/ years are used in the Bible; Jesus temped in the wilderness for 40 days, raining for 40 days and nights, Jesus remained on earth for 40 days before he ascended to heaven, the Jews spending 40 years in the desert..ect ect….Peace my Brother…Chris

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