Monday, March 17, 2014

How to pray: an example in Hezekiah

Prayer is important. I hope you all have a vibrant and active prayer life. I don't pray as often as I should and I know I don't pray as I ought, but I do pray and I'm not ashamed to pray at any place at any time for any reason. I just love talking with Jesus.

Very often essays or sermons on prayer focus on the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6:5-13). This is good and reasonable, after all, the Disciples had asked how to pray and Jesus answered them. We have a point-blank lesson from Jesus on how to pray.

But there are other important and wonderful prayers in the bible we can see as a Godly model. Hannah's prayer, (1 Samuel 1:10-18), Mary's prayer, (Luke 1:46-55), and Hezekiah's prayer.

I'm reading 2 Kings. Hezekiah, 13th King of Judah, was a king like no other before him or after him. The LORD was pleased with Hezekiah. In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah's reign, a situation occurred. In the throes of the situation, Sennacherib king of Assyria sent Hezekiah a letter indicating he was about to invade. Hezekiah's response and his prayer are recorded both in 2 Kings 19 and in Isaiah 37. Here is the prayer from Isaiah 37:14-20,

Hezekiah’s Prayer for Deliverance

"Hezekiah’s Prayer for Deliverance

14Hezekiah 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. 15And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16“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. 17Incline 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. 18Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19and 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. 20So 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.”
.”

Isn't that just beautiful! How humble and loving and God-fearing!

I'll add some comments from the MacArthur study bible.

Verse 14: Godly Hezekiah returned to the House of the Lord as he should have, whereas Ahaz in a similar crisis refused to even as for a sign from the LORD.

Verse 16: The basis for Hezekiah's plea was God's role as Sovereign and Creator of the Universe, not Judah's worthiness to be delivered.

Verse 17: hear...see...hear...- in contrast to the gods of other nations the God of Israel heard and saw all.

Verse 18-19: Hezekiah exploded the Assyrian theory that the LORD was no different from other gods of the other nations that they could not deliver their worshipers.

Verse 20: Hezekiah displayed the highest motivation of all in requesting the salvation of Jerusalem- that the world may know that the LORD alone is God.

I just love that mental scene of Hezekiah spreading out the letter before the LORD. It is so beautiful, such intimate conversation between God and His servant, the LORD being so real and alive to Hezekiah. I love how he went immediately to the Lord for help. We can learn much from Hezekiah's example.

Please consider these wonderful things as you pray. Remember that God said of Hezekiah,

"And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. ... He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the Lord. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with him..." (2 Kings 18:3, 5-7a)

3 comments:

  1. Notice in Luke 11:1, Elizabeth, that the disciples asked Jesus to theach them to pray, not how to pray!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Notice in Matthew 6:9, Anonymous, that Jesus told the Disciples "how" to pray, "in this way"!

      http://biblehub.com/matthew/6-9.htm

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    2. Yes, I know. I just thought the wording in Luke was interesting...wording I had not really noticed before the past week. I don't mean to remain anonymous. Have no accounts. Mary

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