The angel said to him: “Do not be afraid Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.” Luke 1:13
Have you prayed for something for so long that you finally gave up? I confess that I have, but I’m so thankful that God remembers, long after my hope has faded. We learn from Zechariah and Elizabeth’s story in Luke 1: 5-17 that God indeed hears our prayers and He answers – but not always in the way or the time that we expect.
This godly couple was “upright in the sight of God” (v. 6), faithful and obedient in every way. Yet God withheld the one thing that they desired – a child. I am sure that Zechariah, like Isaac may years before “prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren” (Genesis 25:21). Doubtless they both prayed, and their families likely prayed, but to no avail. After many, many prayers over many, many years, it seems they accepted reality and adjusted their expectations to what would never be. I mean, logically, isn’t there a time to give up on wishes and get on with life? Ah, but God had heard those prayers, and He was about to turn their lives joyfully upside down!
I wonder if, when the angel spoke the words of our key verse, Zechariah thought, “Surely he can’t mean that prayer.” But that was indeed the prayer that the Lord had set in motion.
My friend, God hears your prayers. He hears with the heart of a Father who loves you deeply, and He hears with the power of a God who can move heaven and earth to answer you. Does that mean that every prayer we utter is a “Yes” from God? No – and that is a hard thing to hear when your heart aches before Him. For reasons we are not always privy to, God sometimes says “No,” or “Not yet.” But it is always spoken from that Father-heart that wants only the best for His child. God does not withhold from us anything that is for our good according to His purpose in our lives, He is more than generous in His good gifts.
Is there something (or someone) for which you have prayed for a very long time? Is there a prayer that you once presented fervently in daily petition to God? If you do not have a clear word from Him to lay that prayer down, then do not give up. Don’t assume that God has forgotten about you and that prayer. Keep your hope and trust in Him alive and remember that He is faithful and loving and always working for your good and His glory. Who knows when an angel of the Lord will greet you and say, “Your prayer has been heard!”