HEZEKIAH, THE PRAYING KING
The great religious reformation under King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah was thoroughly impregnated with prayer. The rare statement, “He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord,” is a glad and thrilling surprise when we consider all his ancestors and his environment (2 Chron. 29:1-3).
Worldliness, half-heartedness and utter apostasy marked the reign of his father, grandfather and his great-grandfather. His home surroundings as he grew up were far from being favorable to godliness and faith in God. But he was fortunate in having Isaiah for his friend when he assumed the crown of Judah. What a blessing to have a God-fearing man for a prayer partner!
Several observations about King Hezekiah:
1) His Robust Faith (was revealed in his words to his army):
“Be strong and courageous; be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him; for there be more with us than with him.
“With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah, king of Judah” (2 Chron.32:7-8).
Lesson: Such confidence can only be the product of a close walk with Yahweh (Heb.11:6; Phil. 4:10). How consistent is your walk with God?
2) Prayer was his defence against their mighty enemies.
Judah was sorely pressed by the Assyrians, and, humanly speaking, defeat and captivity seemed imminent. The King of Assyria sent a commission to defy and blaspheme the name of God and to insult King Hezekiah. Note what Hezekiah did without hesitation – read 2 Chron. 32:19-23. He prayed and cried to the God of heaven.
Note the speedy answer and the marvellous results of such praying by this God-fearing king. First, Isaiah gave the king full assurance that God had heard the prayer, and would give a great deliverance. Then the angel of the Lord came with swift wings and smote 185,000 Assyrians. The king was vindicated, God was honored, and the people of God were saved. In meeting his enemies, prayer had been his chief weapon.
Lesson: We need to fight our spiritual battles on our knees. Prayer must undergird our evangelistic outreach (Children’s Easter Program, Movie outreach, Mission trips, Special Services, etc). The pulling down of strongholds requires the power of our Almighty God (2 Cor. 10:3-4).
3) Hezekiah’s Prayer for Healing (2 Kings 20:1-7)
Hezekiah was very sick, and God sends Isaiah, his friend and counsellor to warn him of his approaching end, and to tell him to arrange all his affairs for his final departure in verse 1. The decree came direct from God that he should die. What can set aside or reverse that Divine decree of heaven? At once he gives himself to prayer (vs.2-3). Hezekiah had hardly finished his prayer, and Isaiah was just about to go home when God gave him another message for Hezekiah (see vs. 4-6). God answered more than Hezekiah asked for. Hezekiah prayed only for his life, and God gave him life and in addition promised him protection and security from his enemies. God heard Hezekiah praying, saw his tears, and changed his mind, and Hezekiah lived to praise God and to be an example of the power of mighty praying.
Three things to keep in mind: God hears prayer, God answers prayer, and God delivers by prayer. We need church leaders, and church members who demonstrate robust faith in God, and who know the blessing & the power of prayer. May it be said of NLBPC that we are a “Praying Church!”
(Prayer Meeting Devotional Sharing, 5 Apr 2017 by Rev Gan)