4th February 2012

Magnificent Prayer, Part 2

“Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, ‘Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.”
2 Kings 20:2-3 (NIV)

In a previous Day by Day, I looked to Mary’s example in John 2 to encourage us to keep on praying, even when the words feel flat, repetitive and strained.

But what about the times when there are no words at all; when our distress is so great, we cannot speak?

Hezekiah’s example above is a great one to follow. Do not feel afraid to cry before God. I’ve never cried bitterly in prayer, but there have been times when I have shed tears. God hears those prayers as loudly as any words. “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears,” God declared to Hezekiah, through the prophet Isaiah (2 Kings 20:5).

On another occasion, Hezekiah took a threatening letter before God (2 Kings 19:14-19). He,  “spread it out before the Lord.” (verse 14) Such acts also speak loudly to God.

I once received a text from someone in distress. I did not know what to say in prayer – so I just read the text out loud to God. We are taught that all Christian prayer is directed to the Father, through the name of His Son (John 16:23-24). Therefore, all great prayer begins with, and ends with, God. At no point is the effectiveness of our prayers resting on our shoulders.

Words may often fail us, but prayer can continue. God accepts our distress and our tears with the same passion that accepts our spoken offerings. We may feel inadequate, but let us always remember that the power of prayer lies not in us but in the One who is declared to be “the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).

Father, help us to see that all our prayers are greatly loved by you and that you always see the times of distress, of mourning and of tears. Also, we thank you that your Son ushers up all our moments of prayer to your throne room in heaven. In Jesus name we pray.

Study by Ian Woodley

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