Hezekiah ruled over Judah and was a good and faithful king.
Hezekiah often became the target of warring nations. The king of Assyria, which was a much more powerful nation, decided to attempt a take over of Hezekiah’s kingdom. Throughout the stressful time in leadership, Hezekiah consistently used the same battle plan. He went before the Lord in prayer and followed the Lord’s commands. Hezekiah relied on prayer to rule his life. This king knew how to pray and he prayed in a way that got results.
At one point, the Assyrian king launched a huge smear campaign against Hezekiah with his own people. It scared all Hezekiah’s people to death.
Hezekiah heard about it and went before the Lord. God assured Hezekiah everything would be ok, but the Assyrians wouldn’t let up. They kept taunting and taunting, throwing threats towards Hezekiah. They sent a letter by messenger to Hezekiah, basically which, said, “The Assyrians are tough and they are coming for you next.”
What do you do when you are backed into a corner about to face something bigger than your ability to handle? Well, Hezekiah received the letter with all the threats and began to pray.
We find this account in 2 Kings 19:14-19
What can we learn from listening in as Hezekiah prayed?
Hezekiah got alone with God. There is corporate prayer like we do at church, and there is prayer where a few are gathered, but probably some of the most effective prayer time of your life will be the time you invest alone with God.
Hezekiah’s prayer was Immediate. It wasn’t an afterthought. It was prior to making his plans. We are so geared to react that it’s hard for us to go first to God. He may be second or third or when we are backed into a corner and have no choice, but as a habit we need to make God the first place we turn in our lives.
Hezekiah’s prayer was Open and honest. Hezekiah was transparent before the Lord. I love the imagery here in this prayer story of Hezekiah. He took the letter, went to the house of the Lord, and spread it out before Him. I get this visual image of Hezekiah, and this letter…laying it there on the table, and saying, “Okay, God, what now? What do I do next?”
Are you in a tough spot right now? You may just need to get you some note cards right down all the things you are struggling with….lay them out on a table…then say, “Okay God, here are my struggles…I can’t do anything about them. What now?”
Writing your prayer requests before God is a great idea for 2 reasons.
a. It helps you remember to pray for them.
b. It helps you to watch as God answers. We get more answers than we realize if we only ask.
Hezekiah’s prayer was Honoring, humble and respectful of who God is. Hezekiah knew his place as king…and he knew God’s place in the Kingdom. Hezekiah was king of a nation and that is an important job, yet Hezekiah willingly humbled himself in prayer, because he knew his place before the King of kings.
Hezekiah’s prayer was Bold. He said, “Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD…” Hezekiah had the kind of relationship with God where it wasn’t a surprise when Hezekiah showed up to pray. They talked frequently; probably throughout the day. Because of that relationship, Hezekiah didn’t wonder if God would be there when he came before Him. He knew he could ask God to act on his behalf.
The more you grow in your relationship with God, the bolder your prayers can become, because the more your heart will begin to line up with God’s heart.
Hezekiah’s prayer was Dependent. In verses 17-18 he prays, “It is true, O LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands.” Hezekiah knew he was out of his league facing the Assyrians. From the way I see that Hezekiah responded to life, however, I don’t think it mattered the size of the battle Hezekiah was going to depend on God.
Hezekiah’s prayer was certain…Because it was based on his personal faith and trust in God. In verse 19, Hezekiah prayed, “Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.”
Hezekiah had a faith in God that allowed him to pray with confidence. You need to understand that faith is always based on the promises of God. Some things God has promised to do…some He hasn’t. God has promised to always get glory for Himself and always work things for an ultimate good. He hasn’t promised to rid everyone of cancer or to heal every bad relationship.
(That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray for everything. We don’t know His will, but we can’t guarantee God to do that which He hasn’t promised to do.) Sometimes we get upset because God doesn’t do something we asked or wanted Him to do but the fact is He had never promised to do it.
Hezekiah knew God had promised to save His people. He knew God had placed him in the position of authority over them. He had confidence that God would do what He had promised to do. Hezekiah trusted God to be faithful to His word so he was willing to act in faith.
What situations are you dealing with today that you know you are helpless to do on your own and you desperately desire God’s answer?
Get alone with God, spread your problems out before Him honestly, humbly, and boldly; then, allow His will to be done, as you wait for His response.
It’s been a couple months since we did a Saturday night prayer chain. Is your life still in need of prayer?
How can we pray for you?
This is simple. You leave a comment on this post, my faithful prayer warrior readers read it, and we pray. You can join the praying as well as the listing of requests too. Let’s pray for one another.
This time I’m praying:
- For God to reveal Himself to people tonight…and tomorrow.
- For our churches to be packed this weekend.
- For a man to come to his senses and return to his family.
- For a teenage girl who needs to make the right choices going forward.
- For a couple people I know looking for work.
- For several people battling cancer.
- For a single parent who is lonely.
- For a church that’s launching tomorrow.
What are you praying for?
How can we pray for you?
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Luke 11:9
I’ve always been considered a fairly disciplined person. There are certain disciplines that have made me who I am today. Lately, however, I’ve not felt as disciplined in each area of my life. I would excel in one area, but not in another. I’ve shared some of this here previously, but I went through a couple stressful years. That, coupled with an extremely busy period, distracted me from some of the disciplines I had done for so many years.
The only solution I know to remedy a lack of discipline is to add discipline. I also know that if I repeat a discipline long enough, it becomes a habit…part of the DNA of my daily life. With that in mind, I’m adding some discipline to my life. For the next 90 days, I’m attempting to improve in seven areas of discipline.
For the next 90 days, I plan to add these 7 personal disciplines:
Eat – I am what I eat many times. When I over-eat or eat the wrong foods I gain unnecessary weight and don’t feel as well as I should. My goal here is to average eating between 2,000 and 2,200 calories per day and to monitor the type foods I eat. (The LoseIt app helps with that. Read about it HERE.)
Pray – I know prayer is a life source. I’ve seen the results of prayer. Prayer doesn’t always change things the way I’d want them to bs, but prayer always changes me. It gives me strength, comfort and confidence. Why don’t I pray more? My goal is to pray throughout my day, recognizing God is with me always.
Read – I need to be regularly reading my Bible and supplementing it with Christian and leadership books. I can be legalistic about Bible reading, but the discipline I need is to read it for relationship (with God), not just for education. Part of being discipled by others happens as I read other work. My goal here is to always be reading through a Bible book I’m not preaching about, journal about my Bible reading and to read at least one chapter of another book every day.
Write – I’m introverted, so I process information many times by writing. I’m fairly disciplined with my blog, but I have some larger projects I should be working on. My goal here is to average one hour extra writing time per weekday. I may do that in a couple days per week, but want to maintain that as a total hours each week to write.
Exercise – I’ve written about this before HERE. I know well this is a secret to my productivity. My goal here is to run 4 days per week minimum and exercise with weights 2 or 3 days per week.
Sleep – I don’t need much sleep. If I’m not careful I’ll stay up too late at night working on projects. I never sleep late, so I end up getting too little sleep. My goal here is lights out by 10:30 and to take short power naps as needed…and not feel guilty about them.
Pause – Anyone who knows me well knows I have a hard time staying still long. I do take a “Sabbath” and believe everyone “rests” in their own way, but this is a discipline to have some time during the week where I do absolutely nothing. My goal here is to have a 2 to 3 hour time each week when I pause from all activities. (I can assure you this will be the hardest discipline to complete.)
I’m excited about living a more disciplined life.
Do you want to join me? Would you commit to disciplining yourself in each of these areas over the next 90 days? (You’ll be finished before Christmas.) You can change the details of each discipline…you may need more calories or less…you may choose a different exercise…etc… The key is to be disciplined in 7 critical areas of your life.
Who is with me?
Which of this will be hardest for you to do?
Chances are good by now you’ve seen this. It happened down the road from me. I don’t know this pastor, but I may need to invite him to lunch sometime.
Just so you know, this is not a typical Tennessee prayer. It certainly brings attention to the fact that we do pray!
What thoughts come to your mind with this prayer?
Jehoshaphat was a great king, because he followed the ways of God. In an incredible example of humility, Jehoshaphat was willing to admit, in front of the people he was leading, that he didn’t have all the answers.
When facing a powerful rival nation, Jehoshaphat prayed a prayer. This week’s memory verse comes from that prayer.
Here is this week’s memory verse:
Do you ever feel overwhelmed, not knowing what step to take next? If you do, and if you want to join me this week in learning this short, simple prayer, simply comment on this post with the word “Amen!”
Together, this week, we’ll look to God for answers we do not have.
Dear church planter (and others)…
In the growth phase, everything is changing, life moves at rocket pace…
Somedays you don’t know whether you are coming or going…
It’s a bit overwhelming, stressful, even a bit scary at times…
I hear this often from new church plants and fast growing churches…
I feel (and identify with) your pain…
I see part of my calling to help church leaders during this time…
I pray you protect your heart and your family…
Let’s hope things never change…
Oh, don’t misunderstand, I hope you get better…
I hope you increase structure as needed…
I hope you can soon afford more staff…
I hope more volunteers are recruited…
I hope more people start financially contributing to the vision…
I hope you gain wisdom from others who have gone before you…
But I hope you never stop feeling somewhat overwhelmed…
I hope that the sense of facing the unknown never completely leaves you…
If you ever get to the point where you always know what to do next…
You’ve probably reached your threshold for growth…
You’ll no longer need to walk by faith…
You’ll soon become bored, perhaps even complacent…
And, that’s not the dream God called you to…
Growth and change is always uncomfortable, because it’s taking you into the unknown…
Dear church planter (and others), if the stress is from things going right…God is bringing new people…He’s stretching your leadership skills…He’s allowing you to encounter the messiness of extending love and grace to hurting people…He’s accomplishing His will through you…
Praise God…stay on your knees…and rejoice that He is displaying His glory!
Do you need to be reminded to enjoy the journey today?
I love the story of Manoah and his wife. They had been unable to give birth until one day an angel of God brings them news of a child to be born. As Manoah’s wife came to him with the good news, Manoah immediately did what happens to many men and wome when they discover they are about to be parents…he prayed!
In that moment, realizing they were about to be blessed with one of life’s greatest blessings, Manoah prayed the most important prayer a parent can pray:
Then Manoah prayed to the LORD: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.” (Judges 13:8)
Parenting is hard work. All of us have seasons we could use more prayer for our children.
What are the current prayers you have for your children? What specifically do they need the most?
What are you presntly praying about for your parenting skills? What specifically do you need the most?
I always tried to focus my greatest prayers on the character of my children. What character issues are your children needing to mature in these days? Try asking God to help you know how to parent your children to develop in these areas.
This woman told our team that she prayed 40 years for a church to come to Compound Village where she lives in Sierra Leone. Africa for Jesus recently opened Believers Church and it is the first ever Christian Church in a village with over 3,000 people. I was amazed by her faith and consistent prayer.
For what or whom have you been continually praying?
I hope you don’t need this post. It is for a select audience.
After I have answered a question too many times to count, I figure more people have the same question. One of the issues I see frequently is what happens to men when their marriage caves in around them and their wife no longer wants the marriage to work. This could be because of simple neglect over the years or an affair, but she wants out and he wants her to stay. When this happens, a man often becomes a vulnerable puppy of a man and literally doesn’t know what to do next. (I’ve sadly seen it so many times, especially recently.) It could be his fault or her fault, but at this point, the man just wants to save his marriage.
Here are a few suggestions I gave a while ago to a man in this situation. Although this is a personal reply to one man, I believe it may have application for many man in this situation. One thing needs to be clear, however; you must own your decision. You know your situation far better than anyone else. These suggestions are based on experience with dozens of marriage situations, but they are simply my opinions and not designed as professional advice.
If you are in the immediate days and weeks after your wife has indicated she thinks the marriage is over, this is what I suggest:
1. Don’t beg. You are likely much more broken and emotional right now than normal, but women are attracted to a man’s strength, not as much his emotional side. (Even if they say they are…over time they want to see strength.) She needs to know you are hurting, but not see you as weak. That balance is hard to strike, but important to find.
2. Sometimes writing a letter works better than talking in person, because you can share your true heart, think through your words, etc, without all the emotions being involved. When the relationship is especially strained, we tend to say the wrong things, which backs the other spouse into a corner, causing defenses to rise and emotions to take over the conversation. Read THIS POST about how to write this type letter.
3. As hard as it is, after you’ve told your spouse your heart and what you want, you have to give her some space. Honestly, she’s probably feeling crowded right now. After a woman has wrestled through this as long as she has, when she’s done, she’s done. That doesn’t mean her heart can’t change later, but for now she feels smothered almost to be around you. I’m not trying to add to your hurt here. I am simply giving you the reality from what I have seen many times. That’s why she may talk about one of you moving from the house. Chances are this was a very long process for her and you just found out how severe it is for her. That’s typical.
4. Build yourself up physically, emotionally and spiritually as much as trying to save your marriage. You’ll need that in days to come regardless of what happens and it will make you more attractive. In these days, you should draw closer to the heart of God than you ever have before.
5. Seek professional help. You probably aren’t as capable right now of making wise decisions. Find someone to help you do this. Ideally this would be professional Christian counseling with you and your wife, but could be a mature friend or minister. Regardless, get personal help if your wife will not go with you.
6. Do your best not to make stupid mistakes during this time. It’s hard to do, because you are vulnerable, but you don’t want the marriage set back further than it is. Spend time in personal reflection, asking God and yourself what you did to contribute to this situation. If you already know your blame, seek God’s forgiveness, your spouse’s and anyone else you have injured.
7. Surround yourself with a few other men you can trust. Be accountable, open and honest with them. It’s especially helpful, and they are plentiful, to find men who have walked where you are walking and survived.
8. Realize that any change of heart in your spouse is going to take longer than you would hope it would. A woman’s heart usually changes slower than a man’s heart. Be patient. Pray that God brings the right people and influences in her life and that her heart changes towards you.
Please know I’m praying for you as I type this. My prayer is that your marriage will be saved, your wife’s heart will change, and the two of you will grow a marriage that glorifies God. Also, again, this post is not professional counsel. You didn’t pay me to receive this, so don’t hold me accountable for it’s success. I can’t stress enough that every situation is different. I would suggest, although, that these situations often have similar characteristics. Hopefully some of this will help.
Men/Women, what would you add to this?