No matter where you are on your journey or how long you’ve served the Lord, there is probably something that has remained somewhat of a constant when it comes to your prayer life. Sometimes it is a lost family member, a physical ailment or a deep hope or desire you often pray for. The trouble with a long-term prayer request is that it has a way of numbing our faith. It is not that we would ever admit we don’t believe, but the vigor with which we prayed at the beginning might have faded into a combination of pleading and disengaged bargaining. We struggle to let go of our logic and opinions about the way the prayers should be answered. We know His timing is perfect, but still we struggle to find peace through uncertainty.
In Luke chapter 1 we find the story of a man and woman who prayed many years for the thing they wanted most in life – a child. They experienced the pain of silence and the emptiness that accompanied the unanswered. Luke starts off his book in the temple with Zacharias, as he performs his priestly duties in the temple. Luke 1:6 tells us that they had kept the Lord’s commandments and were blameless, followed immediately by the fact that Elizabeth was barren and was unable to have children. The Bible describes Zacharias and Elizabeth as “old and stricken in years,” not exactly the description of a couple with a lot of time left when it comes to having children.
The interesting thing about God’s timing is that it rarely aligns with our expectations. Zacharias was going through his normal routine in the temple when the angel of the Lord appeared to him. How funny that in the very place one might expect to be visited by the presence of the Lord, he would still be so shocked and afraid. The angel spoke to him and said: “Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.” Luke 1:13
When I read this verse I was caught by the statement “thy prayer is heard.” If taken out of context, one might have assumed that Zacharias was caught mid-prayer for a baby. However, I cannot help but think that the angel might have been referring to some prayers from long before that altar side moment. The Bible describes this couple as old and stricken. I doubt that they were holding out hope for a little one at this point. We also know that there was some sort of shock factor by the way Zacharias responds to the message. “Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.” Luke 1:18
God’s timing was not hinged on desire or logic, human ability or understanding. When Elizabeth could not understand her barrenness, God had a plan. Through her womb would come the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah, the one who would change everything. You might not be able to see the “why” in your wait, but what you can hold on to is that your prayers are heard. The angel said “thy prayer is heard,” it is a response that changed his future and his legacy forever.
Every prayer you pray, every desire you hold, every moment of disappointment or loneliness you carry has the possibility of being a beautiful part of your story. What Elizabeth could not partake in her 20’s or 30’s, she experienced in her later years, but with a deepness and meaningfulness that no one else could ever understand. She had an encounter with God. She had an anointed promise, and she shared this joyful season with her cousin, Mary, the mother of Jesus. This added to her blessing and strengthened and encouraged them both.
I’m here to remind you that God hears your prayers. Sometimes we need to be reminded that our answers are not always the answers, but sometimes the timing. We see the world through a limited view. Elizabeth and Zacharias did not have the slightest idea of how the Lord would answer their prayers for a child. God didn’t need their logic to perform a miracle in their lives. He simply made it better than they could have through their own human strength. Let go of what you think the outcome should be and pray His will be done. You never know what the Lord might have in mind for your life.
Olivia Black is a coffee lover and is always looking for a reason to bake a cake. She has a Bachelors in Organizational Leadership from ASU and an Associates in Music from Gateway College. She just recently married her other half, Brandon Black and together they serve at Lakeview Pentecostal Church in Blue Springs, MO.
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