Have you ever asked yourself that question? I have. I have asked the question and I have felt the sentiment. That’s why I love the prayer lesson I learned from Hezekiah.
Hezekiah was King over Judah in the 8th century B.C. He was a man in deep distress. Sennacherib, a ruthless conqueror from Assyria, was threatening to overthrow Hezekiah’s nation.
The Assyrian was bold and brash. He sent a nasty letter to Hezekiah through his highest ranking military officer: “Give up! Don’t be so foolish to count on your allies and don’t think you can count on your God – neither holds a candle to my power. Surrender, Hezekiah!”
Hezekiah felt utterly powerless before the invading army of this conquering despot. But Hezekiah was not about to surrender; instead, he prayed! He asked God to intervene. Read his prayer and then notice God’s response:
14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: 16 "O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18 Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 20 So now, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the LORD." 21 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria . . . .” (Isaiah 37:14-21 ESV)
The first time I read those four words,“Because you have prayed,” they seemed to jump off the page. God acted on the basis of Hezekiah's prayer. Amazing! Read the rest of the passage, you will see that:
- God brought judgment on Assyria
- Delivered the nation of Israel
- Restored their hope
Why? Because one person prayed!
One prayer can change a nation. For that matter, one prayer can change a spouse, or a wayward child, or a business, or a church, or a friendship. I don't understand it, but I know God works through prayer.
Are you struggling today? Why not follow the example of Hezekiah? When he received the threatening letter, he went up to the temple, spread it out before God, and prayed.
What problem do you need to lay before God today? One prayer changed the course of Hezekiah's life. One prayer can change the course of your life too.