Hezekiah did just about everything he could to prepare his nation for conflict both physically and spiritually. After this, he turned to his old friend and counselor, Isaiah. Together they committed themselves to God in prayer and God answered.
20 But King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amos, prayed about this and cried out to heaven. 21 And the Lord sent an angel who destroyed every mighty warrior, commander and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned in shame to his own land. And when he had entered the temple of his god, some of his own children killed him there with the sword. 22 So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side. 2 Chronicles 32:20-22
I like reading and studying prayers of the Bible. In this case, we are not given the particulars… I wish we were. The King did what he could, then he trusted God to do what only God could do. When this happens, all you can do is wait for the peace of God to fill your heart. How we pray and what we can expect in a crisis is really important. The word reminds us:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
This is God’s promise to us. So if it is not happening, then we are praying wrong. “Present” in this verse means we are to reveal not simply our request, but what is driving our prayers. When we seek the Lord, we must pray honestly and openly. God already knows what is on our hearts, so therefore, we must reveal everything, even our motives. The saints of old called this “wrestling in prayer.” Wrestling should accompany our petitions, especially when there is uncertainty. This type of travail takes us beyond our simple requests to understanding the motives behind our petitions. We come to understand why we desire what we want from heaven. Sometimes I call this “getting naked” before the Lord.
In times of crisis I have found myself trusting in the answer, in the increased finances, in the mended relationship, in the opportunity, rather than trusting God, to whom I am praying. I know this sounds strange, but the answer to your prayer is not the solution. The answer is God.
I have had God tell me He will answer my request. I thought to myself, “well that was easy.” As I went on my way the Lord did answer my request. On some of these occasions, I thought the answer was going to kill me. I have had to learn the hard way if I would look to the Lord and only the Lord, I will find the peace I need in Him. The answer arrives in due season. My focus should remain on the Lord…not the “answers” to my prayers.
In addition, this passage tells us to allow the peace of God to “guard or stand watch/ watch over” our hearts and minds. I find myself wanting God to guard my request, not my heart. I want Him to make sure my request gets answered. I mistakenly believe I can take care of myself. We are anxiety ridden people because we have God standing over our request and not over our hearts.
I have had to wrestle with those requests until I arrived at the place where I said, “This is what I want, but not my will, but Your will be done.” All prayer must get into those places where we are trusting and believing God. Have you gotten to that point in your prayers? This means we trust God’s “peace process.” Prayer works the “meddling” out of you. Peace replaces our tendency to meddle and be a part of God’s solution.
So I must choose to pray, not until the answer comes, not until the circumstances change, not until things go my way. But I must pray until my faith is in God and not my request. I should pray until my trust changes. This is when real peace comes and guards my heart. If peace cannot be found, I usually discover I have “peace” issues. You will find that you are not okay because the world has changed, you are okay because you have changed. In these places our personal view of God becomes much bigger. Our peace comes not from the absence of problems, but the presence of God.
Do you remember that prayer issue you wrote down two blogs ago? Have you found God’s peace yet? We must learn to operate like King Hezekiah. You can only do what you can do and trust God to do what only He can do. Even if things do not turn out the way you want…you can still have peace… the Lord’s peace.
There is an old saying that goes… “If we keep doing the same old things, we will keep getting the same old results.” If you want to change the outcome, you have to change the income. This is what we put into the prayer process.
A man, after 25 years with one company, was still doing the same old job and drawing the same salary. Finally he went to his boss and told him he felt he had been neglected. “After all,” he said, “I’ve had a quarter of a century of experience.”
“My dear fellow,” sighed the boss, “you haven’t had a quarter of a century of experience; you’ve had one experience for a quarter of a century.”