Day 14 // Answered Prayer

“But the angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.’”  Luke 1:13 (NLT)

Just before the birth of Jesus, there was another miracle birth. Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, would have a child in her old age. She was married to a priest named, Zechariah. In fact, Elizabeth came from the line of the High Priest Aaron. They were both described as “righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations.” The Bible also tells us, “They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.” This was extremely difficult for them especially in their day. To be childless would have been considered accursed in their day, yet God described them as righteous. (Don’t judge by appearances.) No doubt they both longed for and prayed for a child year after year until they had given up hope that it would ever happen. But God knew their heart’s desire and had a plan they could never have known until He revealed it to them. It’s amazing to me how God will do that. Just about the time you give up on the desire you have in your heart and think it impossible to achieve, God shows up for a miracle! I love the way it unfolds. Read this:

Luke 1:8-17 (NLT) “One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying. While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. But the angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.’”

The funny part comes next when Zechariah, the priest, the man of faith serving in the temple, a man of prayer, questions the angel asking how it could be possible. “You don’t understand, Mr. Angel. My wife is old and unable to have children. And besides, look at me! I’m much too old! Oh, we’ve prayed and fasted for one, but God has not heard us. It’s too late now to think about having a child. You must have the wrong priest.” Ever doubt God like that? Let’s be honest, we all have! The most difficult time in our lives is the time between when a promise is given and when the promise is received! Think of Abraham – 25 years before Isaac would come. Moses waited 80 years to be used of God. David was in the waiting room some 10-to-12 years hiding from Saul before he would become King!

What prayer have you given up on? Maybe you’ve taken no answer as the answer “No.” But did God say “No?” If He didn’t, then don’t quit praying! Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and keep on asking ….” Elijah prayed seven times before the rains came. Maybe you’ve quit praying too soon. Don’t give up until God answers.

Look up Luke 1:19-25 to see what happened to Zechariah! It’s worth the time. Then, consider again the desire God planted in your heart; and lift that up to Him in prayer. Be honest with your struggle of doubt and impatience. That’s human. Then, thank Him that He understands and will answer in His time. That’s faith!

Your ways are not our ways, O God; neither are Your thoughts our thoughts. Teach us to trust Your heart even when we don’t understand Your hand. Help us to remember how much You love us and only want the very best for us! Forgive us when we forget.

What desire has God put in your heart that is a righteous desire but hasn’t been fulfilled?

Have you given up too soon? Pray again, but this time thank God that He understands your heart and that you trust Him to answer in His time and His way.