Dear Church Family,
We have been having Seasons of Intercessory Prayer with our Deacons on Thursday Nights for a few weeks now. These have been blessed times for me. I wonder sometimes how often many of us pray. I wonder how well do we pray when we do pray. So I thought it might be a good thing to share some thoughts on how to pray more effectively.
Hezekiah ruled over Judah and was a good and faithful king.
Hezekiah often became the target of warring nations. The king of Assyria, which was a much more powerful nation, made plans to overthrow Hezekiah’s kingdom. Throughout the stressful time in leadership, Hezekiah consistently used the same battle plan.
He went before the Lord in prayer—and—he followed the Lord’s commands.
Hezekiah relied on prayer to rule his life. This king knew how to pray and he prayed in a way that got results.
At one point, the Assyrian king launched a huge smear campaign against Hezekiah with his own people. It scared Hezekiah’s people.
Hezekiah heard about the threat and went before the Lord. God assured Hezekiah everything would be okay, but the Assyrians wouldn’t let up their verbal assaults. They kept taunting the kingdom of Hezekiah, throwing threats towards Hezekiah. Finally, they sent a letter by messenger to Hezekiah, which basically said, “The Assyrians are tough, and they are coming for you next.”
It was a credible, realistic threat. In a practical sense, Hezekiah had reason to be afraid.
What do you do when you are backed into a corner as a Christian or a leader and you’re about to face something bigger than your ability to handle?
Well, Hezekiah received the letter with all the threats and began to pray.
We find this account in 2 Kings 19:14–19.
What can we learn from listening in as Hezekiah prayed?
Here are 7 Thoughts for More Effective Prayer from a Stressed Out Child of God and Leader Named Hezekiah:
Hezekiah got alone with God. There is corporate prayer like we do at church, and there is prayer where a few are gathered. But probably some of the most effective prayer time of your life will be the time you invest alone with God.
Hezekiah’s prayer was immediate. His prayer wasn’t an afterthought. It was prior to making his plans. We are so geared to react that it’s hard for us to go first to God. He may be second or third or first when we are backed into a corner and have no choice, but we need to develop a discipline and habit to make God the first place we turn in our lives. Like Hezekiah.
Hezekiah’s prayer was open and honest. Hezekiah was transparent before the Lord. I love the imagery here in this prayer story of Hezekiah. He took the letter, went to the house of the Lord, and spread it out before Him. I get this visual image of Hezekiah, and this letter—laying it there on the table, and saying, “Okay, God, what now? What do I do next? What’s my first move?”
I love to bring my prayer list, my prayer journal and my bible to the altar and lay it all out before the Lord. It is like coming naked before the Lord with nothing to hide, open and honest before Him.
Are you in a tough spot right now? You may just need to get you some note cards—write down all the things you are struggling with—lay them out on a table and say, “Okay, God, here are my struggles. I can’t do anything about them. What now?”
Writing your prayer requests before God is a great idea for 2 reasons.
- It helps you remember to pray for them.
- It helps you to watch as God answers. We get more answers than we realize if we only ask.
This is why I love a prayer journal of some type. I use the 29/59 plan.
Hezekiah’s prayer was honoring, humble, and respectful of who God is. Hezekiah knew his place as king—and he knew God’s place in the Kingdom. Hezekiah was king of a nation and that is an important job, yet Hezekiah willingly humbled himself in prayer, because he knew his place before the King of kings.
Hezekiah’s prayer was bold. He said, “Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD….”Hezekiah had the kind of relationship with God where it wasn’t a surprise when Hezekiah showed up to pray. They talked frequently; probably throughout the day. Because of that relationship, Hezekiah didn’t wonder if God would be there when he came before Him. He knew he could ask God to act on his behalf.
The more you grow in your relationship with God, the bolder your prayers can become, because the more your heart will begin to line up with God’s heart.
Hezekiah’s prayer was dependent. In verses 17–18 he prays, “It is true, O LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands.” Hezekiah knew he was out of his league facing the Assyrians. From the way I see that Hezekiah responded to life, however, I don’t think it mattered the size of the battle. Hezekiah was going to depend on God. Every time. In every situation.
Hezekiah’s prayer was certain. Because it was based on his personal faith and trust in God. In verse 19, Hezekiah prayed, “Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.”
Hezekiah had a faith in God that allowed him to pray with confidence. You need to understand that faith is always based on the promises of God. Some things God has promised to do—and some He hasn’t. God has promised to always get glory for Himself and always work things for an ultimate good. He hasn’t promised to rid everyone of cancer or to heal every bad relationship. Or settle every issue we face.
(That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray for everything. We don’t know His will, but we can’t guarantee God to do that which He hasn’t promised to do.) Sometimes we get upset because God doesn’t do something we asked or wanted Him to do, but the fact is He had never promised to do it.
Hezekiah knew God had promised to save His people. He knew God had placed him in the position of authority over them. He had confidence that God would do what He had promised to do. Hezekiah trusted God to be faithful to His word so he was willing to act in faith.
What situations are you dealing with today that you know you are helpless to do on your own and you desperately desire God’s answer?
Are you a stressed out?
Get alone with God, spread your problems out before Him honestly, humbly, and boldly; then, allow His will to be done, as you wait for His response.
With Many Prayers and Christian Love,
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