Zedekiah was the last King of Judah. Jeremiah warned Zedekiah that if Judah did not repent and turn back to God, He would send Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, to take Judah into captivity. Jeremiah’s warning fell on deaf ears. So… as Nebuchadnezzar was surrounding Jerusalem to take her captive, Zedekiah decided it was time to pray.
Here’s his prayer (Jeremiah 21:2 NIV);
“Inquire now of the LORD for us because Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is attacking us. Perhaps the LORD will perform wonders for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us.”
- Zedekiah’s prayer was birthed out of the crisis. The Bible tells us that Zedekiah was hard-hearted, disobedient, and refused to hear God’s warnings. When life got tough, he wanted God to intervene on his behalf. We have a tendency to do the same thing with God. When times are good, we get complacent; but as soon as times are tough, we expect God to come to rescue us.
- Zedekiah’s prayer was selfish. The word “us” is used 4 times in this one verse. “God give me what I want.” His prayer was selfish. We often say, “God, here is what I’m going to do; now bless it.” Part of maturing in prayer is changing the way I pray from selfish to selfless.
- Zedekiah’s prayer was faithless. “Perhaps God will…” Where is the faith in that statement? If I don’t believe God can work powerfully in my life, then God won’t work powerfully in my life. Zedekiah’s prayer revealed his attitude about God. Our belief in God’s identity and purpose dictates our attitude toward prayer. This is huge in understanding how and why we pray.
Two Biblical Metaphors for God
God as King- Ephesians 1: 18-22. God is the King over all things. He reigns over His Kingdom. This means God has complete authority over all things. He is the ruler who has the power to run His Kingdom and rule our lives. He rules His Kingdom for the benefit of His subjects. He rules for the ultimate good of His people. God has given all power and authority to His son Jesus for the good of the church. We are the church. The creator and sustainer of the universe uses the same power that raised Jesus from the dead for the benefit of… you.
Scene 1- Revelation 5:6-14. All are around the throne of God. Jesus has the scroll. The scroll pronounces the judgments of God upon the earth. The 24 elders fall down in worship. They are holding golden bowls of incense which are the prayers of the saints. God delights in the aroma of the prayers of His people. His delight is not in the words but in the hearts of the pray-ers. It is like when your first grader brings home art and you put it on the refrigerator. You don’t hang it because you love the art; you hang it because you love the artist.
Scene 2- Revelation 8:3-5. An angel by the throne has a censor in his hand. God smells the aroma and commands the angels to send his answers down to the earth. Don’t miss this; the veil is down for a moment. God dispatches angels to answer the prayers of His people. There is power in prayer, but we must believe.
God as Father- Matthew 7:11. Like a Father loves his children, our heavenly father loves us and always has our best interest at heart. He just wants us to ask. He wants us to spend time with Him and talk to Him.
Our view of our earthly father, can help to shape how we view our heavenly father- both positive and negative. We must realize and address this within ourselves. How do you view your earthly father? Think about what it means that God is your perfect father.
Fathers do what is best for their kids, and not always what their kids want. We want to give our children what they ask for, but not if it isn’t what is best for them. God fathers us the same way. This truth revealed in how we pray, and how we receive answers to our prayers.
In this scripture on prayer, we are compared to small children. God wants us to be as dependent upon Him as a young child is upon his parents. We should take that posture in prayer at all times. Does your life reveal your dependency upon God? Do you believe your faithful dependency upon God alters how you pray?
Great men of prayer do not become fluent by accident. A dynamic prayer life requires time, energy, focus, and priority. Prayer is not an accident or an afterthought. It is a deliberate communication tool to access the heart of God.
Heavenly Father, I recognized that I can be praying more, committing my ways to you, and seeing your hand work greater in life’s situations. Therefore, I make the decision to increase my daily prayer time. I believe Holy Spirit is guiding me to pray with greater consistency and being persistent to press in, to allow you to work in a great degree. I’m confident that if there are issues in my life that are blocking the answers to my prayers, you will clearly reveal what I need to do. With the help of Your Spirit, I will stay in faith with watchful eyes for the answers I have sought from You. I believe Faith is NOW, therefore I thank You in advance for the answers You have already provided.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
EMIC Groups Pastor