By Chris Martin
The spring of my freshman year of college, I was coming out of one of the most difficult periods of my life. I was looking forward to a summer at home with my friends, and most of all, I was growing ever closer to a girl I had long admired and hoped to date. Susie and I had been friends since middle school, and that spring, we planned a conversation about whether or not we should consider dating—something I desperately wanted but Susie had resisted.
The day of the meeting came. For six hours, from the end of my classes that day until the meeting late in the evening, I just prayed to the Lord, asking for clarity of mind and wisdom. I was nervous and unsure of myself. By the grace of God we did end up dating at the end of the summer, but most amazing to me was how faithful the Lord was to answer my prayers for clarity and wisdom in the moment. It is one of the clearest answers to prayer I have experienced in my life.
In 2 Kings 20–21, we see the end of Hezekiah’s reign. King Hezekiah was the most David-like king since David himself. He was the most righteous king Judah had ever seen, reforming worship practices and trusting in the Lord above all. He was certainly not a perfect king, but he was not as wicked as the kings who had come before him.
In today’s passage, we read that Hezekiah has become ill. Isaiah (yes, the prophet for whom the book of the Bible is named), comes to the king and gives him a word from God: “Set your house in order, for you are about to die; you will not recover” (2 Kings 20:1). In his illness, Hezekiah just wants to be left alone. Can you relate? But “then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, ‘Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly and have done what pleases you.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly” (vv.2–3). Before Isaiah had even left the palace, God gave him another word to deliver to Hezekiah:
This is what the LORD God of your ancestor David says:
“I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I will heal you.
On the third day from now you will go up to the LORD’s temple.
I will add fifteen years to your life.
I will rescue you and this city from the grasp of the king of Assyria.
I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David” (vv.5–6).
God heard Hezekiah’s prayer, and his faith was not overlooked. No, Hezekiah was not perfect, but he trusted in a God who is. Why do we think we can do anything more? How often do we face dire circumstances and trust in our own might rather than the Lord? When we face conflict at work, do we try to resolve it without taking a moment to pray for wisdom? When we encounter a difficult parenting situation, do we discipline our children before we ask the Lord to show us how to love in the midst of our frustration? The Lord truly does hear our prayers. Our part is to turn to Him and share our hearts, to ask Him to do what only He can.
Written by Chris Martin