Is your vision God’s vision? Do you want what God desires or what you desire? The answer will determine what you are satisfied with and the things you pray for. Too often our prayers are “God bless the things I want,” instead of “God, I want only the things You will bless.” Are our prayers empty, selfish manifestations of what we truly are, or are our prayers living demonstrations of who we believe God to be? Who we are now and what we pray for will determine the future. The prayers of today determine the landscape of tomorrow.
King Hezekiah experienced some of the greatest answers to prayer recorded in the Bible. When confronted with total destruction by the Assyrian army, Hezekiah sought a word from God through the prophet Isaiah and prayer. God answered in a miraculous way by sending the angel of the LORD to destroy 185,000 Assyrian warriors during the night. Instead of invading, the Assyrian army returned home in utter confusion and never returned.
Hezekiah also sought the Lord in prayer for physical healing. God not only graciously gave him fifteen more years of life but also caused the sun’s shadow to move ten steps backward on the sundial of Ahaz. Time paused and even moved backwards, as God responded to the prayers of Hezekiah. Hezekiah’s prayers were living demonstrations of who he believed God to be, and they were not ignored.
Alas, this prayer warrior became proud and satisfied by “his” accomplishments. 2 Chronicles 32 states that Hezekiah did not respond appropriately to the kindness shown him (v.25) so scripture says, “God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart” (v.31). This testing involved a visit from the Babylonians and Hezekiah’s prideful display of all “his” treasures. He literally, through his total disclosure of Judah’s God-given riches, invited the Babylonians to invade the city of Jerusalem. God’s response through His prophet Isaiah was all the treasures stored up by your ancestors will be carried off to Babylon…and some of your descendants will be taken into exile(Is. 39:6-7).
Hezekiah’s selfish response would prove devastating for his posterity: The message of the LORD is good. At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime (39:8). In essence, he said, “Whew Lord, at least I’ll be O.K. How sad was the final commentary of a great king and prayer warrior, whose legacy, a son named Manasseh, would prove to be Judah’s most wicked king.
How can the end be so bad when the beginning held such promise? Hezekiah’s lack of prayer at a critical point became a curse for the future. If you hear nothing, please listen to this with all your heart – your prayers matter! The future of your family, your church, your nation, and your world hang on your prayers. It is the height of arrogant pride to think that God will bless what you want instead of what He wants. Repent of those selfish visions, and seek the pure vision of God as you pray. Tomorrow’s victory depends on today’s prayers.