He prayed like never before.He prayed in utter humility. He prayed like his life depended on it. He prayed because, while he already knew this, his situation impressed upon him anew the simple fact that apart from direct divine intervention there was no hope. He prayed in sackcloth. He prayed with letters spread out before him. As he prayed, his tears doubtless dampened his unusual garb and the parchments before him. Hezekiah has much to teach us about prayer.
Hezekiah is not the only one who can teach us about prayer. Daniel is, perhaps, among the more obvious examples. Daniel prayed three times a day without fail and would not neglect his time with the Lord even when it was inconvenient – lion’s den inconvenient! In the book of Daniel we are given a glimpse into some of what Daniel prayed and we discover that he too, like Hezekiah, pleaded for God’s people. Moses, of course, is another wonderful example of someone whose appetite for the presence of God through prayer was insatiable; similar, it seems, to Job’s. The book of Job begins and ends by highlighting the man’s commitment to prayer.
What do all these people have in common? They interceded. They prayed on behalf of others: Hezekiah for the citizens of Jerusalem & Judah, Daniel for the exiles in Babylon, Moses for Israel in the desert and Job for his family and friends. In this way, they all point to Jesus, the great and perfect intercessor who even now ceaselessly intercedes for you and me. And just as Job and Moses and Hezekiah and Daniel anticipated Jesus’ work of intercessory prayer, you and I should reflect Christ’s intercessory prayer.
For whom should I intercede, you ask? I am sure there are no shortage of unbelievers in your life. I suspect there are difficult situations about which you are aware. At the risk of appearing exclusive and offending 698 people in our congregation, I am going to ask that you intercede for 2 of our members.
First, pray for Phida. You may know Luke (Director of IT) and Phida, and if you do, you’ll know that Phida recently returned to India seeking to obtain a visa to live permanently in the USA. After many bumps along the way, it looked like all would be well, but a paperwork problem has arisen that is keeping her from returning to the USA. Pray for them. Pray for the consulate officer who has the power and ability to grant the visa.
Second, pray for Drew Heath. Drew is running for a seat on the NC Court of Appeals this November. Pray for his wife, Kristen, and his two children Maley (7) and Will (4). Pray for strength, wisdom, provision and divine blessing on his campaign.
As you pray, remember, a “sackcloth” manner of praying today may be what is needed to render void the necessity of prayers offered in sackcloth tomorrow. Prayer…it matters.