Think on this: How do you know that God has heard and answered your prayer? Do you look for an answer in only one way? What do you do when you see or hear an answer you did not expect?
“I started through Luke’s gospel again this morning,” Stan began.
“How many times have you read it?” I asked.
“I have no idea,” Stan replied, “but I do know I have read it many times. I also know that if I am open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, it is likely I will see things I have never seen before, or in a different way, regardless of how many times I have read it before.”
Continuing, he said, “And that happened again this morning. I saw a valuable lesson for me and my faith walk with God that I had not seen before.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“There’s the story of a priest named Zacharias. His wife was named Elizabeth. They had no children, but they had prayed to God for a long time to have a child. They had prayed so long, in fact, that they both were getting along in their years.”
Continuing, Stan said, “One day while Zacharias was performing his priestly duties in the temple, he was scared out of his wits by the appearance of an angel who told him that God had heard his prayers. Furthermore, the angel told him that he and Elizabeth were going to have a baby boy they were to name John.”
“Was that John the Baptist?” I asked.
“It was,” Stan replied. “And what struck me about this is that the couple had prayed for a long time, but when the answer came, Zacharias was afraid. Not afraid because of the answer, but afraid because of the way the answer was delivered, probably in a way he didn’t expect.”
“Had Zacharias and Elizabeth gone to a doctor who told them she was going to have a baby, I doubt either one of them would have been afraid, even though the same news would have been presented. The news was that their prayers had been heard and answered, and it shouldn’t have made any difference who brought them the news.”
“For me,” Stan continued, “the point of this account is that I am to be alert to whoever, however, or whatever God chooses to use to let me know that my prayers have been heard and answered. I am to be ready to hear from God. Period. He may use an angel or He may not. It may be a person; it may be a circumstance.”
“In any event,” Stan concluded, “I am to be ready to hear from God. I am to have my spiritual eyes and ears open all of the time, looking and pointing in every direction, in eager anticipation to hear the news God has for me, the news that He has heard and answered my prayers.”
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. Luke 1:13.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you hear my prayers. I recognize that you know what is on my heart, mind, and tongue before I utter a word, but I also know that you want me to present my prayers to you so you can answer them in accordance with your will that you make clear to me. I also thank you that you answer my prayers and that you make your answer very clear if I am willing to be open to see and to hear however you choose to respond. I confess that too often I fail to see your answer because I am looking in the wrong direction or with wrong motives. Please forgive me. And please lead and help me to follow so that I am open, totally open, to all you have to show me regarding my prayers and your answers. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Revisit the “Think on this” questions above.
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