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Are You Grappling with Unanswered Prayer?

Wendy Blight

Day: 1 | Plan: Luke

Today’s Reading: Luke 1:1-25

Luke 1:13 (NIV) But the angel said to him: ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.’”

Have your prayers been met with silence? Do you wonder if God even hears your prayers? When we feel unheard, it’s easy for disappointment to settle into indifference or bitterness. Yet, God brought you here today to speak into the silence and remind you that you are not alone.

Luke’s Gospel opens by introducing us to a priest named Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, who had grown into old age believing God had not answered their prayers for a child.

But God had not forgotten this priest and his wife. He heard their prayers.

To grasp the amazement of God’s handiwork in how He answered their prayer, let’s revisit the priesthood for a moment. Jewish law divided the priests, numbering about 18,000, into divisions. Each division served in the temple for one week twice a year, determined by the casting of lots. The most privileged place of service, burning incense in the Holy Place, usually occurred once in a priest’s lifetime.

This day was Zechariah’s once in a lifetime! His God-ordained moment to bow low before God and offer up sacred prayers in the Holy Place. While praying, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and said, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John” (Luke 1:13b).

Don’t miss Gabriel’s exact words “your prayer has been heard.” Jewish priests prayed corporate prayers for the nation of Israel. Among those prayers was most assuredly a prayer that had been prayed for hundreds of years by hundreds of priests … prayers for the coming of the long-awaited Messiah.

But God waited until this day, Zechariah’s time of service and prayer, to speak into this prophecy. Zechariah had no idea how intimately connected their desperate cry for a child was connected to his corporate prayer for the coming Messiah. The son for whom Zechariah and Elizabeth prayed would be the very One for whom their son would prepare the way!

Gabriel’s closing words to Zechariah reveal the purpose behind the wait for a baby: “He [their child] will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born … And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, … to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:15b-17).

God was working and waiting for the perfect time to answer their prayers. He is doing the same for us.

Friend, have you almost given up on God answering your prayer? Don’t lose hope. God hears every prayer. He doesn’t miss a single one.

The wait can be so hard. But it’s where we plumb the depths of our faith and our God. If we keep our eyes on the answer, we can miss God’s deep and abiding work. That’s why it’s important to keep our eyes on Him.

When you feel weary, and want to give up, remember how Zechariah and Elizabeth faithfully trusted God. He is good. And when His answer comes, it will exceed anything you could ever ask or imagine.

Prayer: Father, thank You for speaking hope into the hearts of those of us in the wait. Thank You that Your plans are always bigger and better. Help me to trust You fully, trust in Your sovereignty that You have a plan and that plan is good. Give me the faith to press on and endure. Walk with me in the wait. I submit my questions and doubt fully to You today and trust You with my unanswered prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

More Moments:

Read the closing words of the prophet Malachi in Malachi 4:5-6 as compared to Gabriel’s... Read More

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