Have you ever been overwhelmed with “life”? I mean, life got so tough that you didn’t know which way was up! It’s in times like those that we realize just how vulnerable we are. While some believe themselves to be “the master of their fate” and “the captain of their souls,” it is in those times of trouble that we are reminded just how powerless we really are.
Yet, there are many words of comfort and instruction to be found in Scripture for those traveling through difficulty. One of my favorites is found in Isaiah 37:14-20.
Let me explain what the problem was and then give you a four-step prayer that God was pleased to answer.
Sennacherib was the Assyrian leader who wanted to defeat Jerusalem. Long story short, he had the ability to do it and the track record to prove it. Jerusalem was just one city in a long line of cities that would be demolished by this warrior. And just to make sure that Hezekiah, King of Judah, was clear of Sennacherib’s intent, the Assyrian leader sent a letter to him to explain his intentions.
What King Hezekiah does with the letter is incredible and is easily applicable in 21st century American life. Hezekiah took the letter to the temple of the Lord and prayed.
Let me share just a few thoughts from God’s Word about how to pray in tough times.
1. Acknowledge God’s sovereignty …
That just means that you take your mind off the problem and begin your prayer thinking about how awesome God is. Realize that He is powerful enough to handle anything that you are dealing with … ANYTHING!
2. Plead for God’s full attention …
You may feel uncomfortable with this point but Hezekiah wanted to make sure that God was giving him His full attention.
Listen as Hezekiah prays in verse 17 – “Listen closely, Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, Lord, and see; hear all the words that Sennacherib has sent to mock the living God.”
3. Elaborate on the problem …
Let’s admit it. God already knows everything we’re facing before we tell Him about it. But, for some reason, God enjoys it when we come and tell Him.
Listen as Hezekiah informs God in verse 18 and 19 – “Lord, it is true that the kings of Assyria have devastated all these countries and their lands and have thrown their gods into the fire; for they were not gods but made by human hands – wood and stone. So they have destroyed them.”
4. Ask for God’s intervention …
Hezekiah ended the prayer by telling God what he thought should happen.
Verse 20 “Now, Lord our God, save us from his hand so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord – You alone.”
But, here’s an important point. Notice that Hezekiah asked God to move based upon God’s benefit. God is about the business of glorifying Himself among the inhabitants of the earth. He desires to draw all peoples to Himself. So, Hezekiah based his request upon the fact that God’s desire to glorify Himself and draw people to Him depended upon Jerusalem’s salvation.
So, what happened? Read Isaiah 37:21-38 to find out. Hint: Within 24 hours, Hezekiah was jumping for joy because of what his great God had done.