Suddenly, Prayer is Answered, Part 3 (Praying Through the Bible #160)

TEXT: Luke 1:18-20

18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.

19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 159 messages in this series.

This is message #160 titled, Suddenly, Prayer is Answered (Part 3)

Certainly, you have heard the expression, “too good to be true.” Maybe you have used it from time to time. In our passage today, we come to the portion of Zacharias’s story where responds to an answered prayer request as though it were too good to be true. As you know, Zacharias and his wife, Elisabeth, did not have any children. They wanted children, they prayed for children, but as the years progressed it became increasingly evident that children were not in the cards for them.

Until, one day, when Zacharias is faithfully carrying out his duty as a priest, an angel appears to him and says, “Zacharias, your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.” With old age setting in and the great amount of time that had passed since Zacharias had prayed for a son, it is easy to understand his reaction to this sudden and surprising announcement.

The Bible says, “Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.” This is almost exactly the same question that Abraham asks in Genesis 15 when God tells him that he and Sarah will have a child in their old age. It is a reaction of disbelief. Surely, as a priest, Zacharias was familiar with the miraculous births of Isaac, Samuel, Samson, and others. Warren Wiersbe said, “This unbelief is something God does not accept. Zacharias was really questioning God’s ability to fulfill His own Word! Had he forgotten what God did for Abraham and Sarah? Did he think that his physical limitations would hinder Almighty God? But before we criticize Zacharias too much, we should examine ourselves and see how strong our own faith is. Faith is blessed, but unbelief is judged; and Zacharias was struck dumb until the Word was fulfilled.”

Have you ever doubted that God would answer your prayer or keep His promise to you? Have you ever told God, ‘this is too good to be true’? Have you ever questioned God like Zacharias?

What are some things to remember when we are tempted to doubt that God will answer our prayers?

First, remember where the answer is coming from. The angel tells Zacharias, “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God…” Gabriel’s words to Zacharias carry weight because of who those words come from and where Gabriel comes from. Gabriel comes from God. His message comes from God. And Zacharias’ prayers were heard in Heaven. The validity of the promise that Zacharias’ prayer will be answered and that he will have a son is based in who God is: God who cannot lie. God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God who made the world in seven days. God who has worked countless miracles in the past. This is the God who answers prayer. If He says He will do it, He will.

Second, remember that your perspective is not the same as God’s. The angel tells Zacharias, “I am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.” The angel was sent from a reality that was different from Zacharias’ reality. Zacharias saw things through an earthly lens. The angel saw things through a heavenly lens. Zacharias expressed disbelief because he was not seeing things from God’s perspective. Zacharias saw things from the human realm of impossibility, but the angel brought news from the heavenly realm where nothing is impossible with God.

Zacharias was looking at a dim future — death without a child to carry on the family name, which was extremely important in his culture. But the angel brought “glad tidings” — literally, the “gospel” or good news — his prayer would be answered.

When we are looking for our prayers to be answered, we must realize that, with God, all prayers can be answered. They may not be answered quickly or in the time frame that we desire for them to be answered. But, we can be confident in God that He will provide the answers that are best for us. First John 5:14-15 says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

Instead of disbelief at the angel’s message, Zacharias should have had a response of confidence in God. He should have realized that God, not himself, would be the driving force behind the answer to his prayer request. When it comes to the answering of our prayer requests, we ought to heed Jesus’ command to “be not faithless, but believing” because nothing is too hard for God.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

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