Hear Our Prayer

     Why are some prayers answered while others are not? This is a question I hear all too frequently. The question is somewhat misleading. The Scriptures claim that God responds to every prayer. The problem is that God’s answer isn’t always in keeping with our greatest hopes.
     In the twentieth chapter of Second Kings, King Hezekiah falls ill. He pleads with God for his life. God hears and responds by granting the king an additional fifteen years to his lifespan. Hezekiah is most pleased and continues his life of service to God and God’s people.
     Hezekiah’s story, once more, begs the question. Why does God answer some prayers affirmatively, while others are not? This is a question that has confounded humanity for millennia. The query remains unexplainable, at least on this side of eternity.
     However, the absence of a solution to this dilemma doesn’t mean we should stop asking God for help. Several years ago, my doctoral professor, Joe Dongell, shared a personal reflection with my classmates and me. Joe’s elderly father was slowly dying. Joe’s dad had lived a good, long life. Yet understandably, Joe found it hard to let his father slip away without asking God to intervene and extend his dad’s life. Joe struggled with his motives. On the one hand, Joe did not want his father to suffer any further. To do so would be selfish. Yet Joe also desired to spend as much time with his dad as he could.
     Then a thought came into Joe’s mind to ask that God heal his father as a witness to God’s goodness and grace. The idea made sense. Even more, the idea has a foundation in the Scriptures. John the Apostle makes clear that the seven miracles to which he bears witness in the gospels stand as a testimony to the renewing power and presence of God in our midst. The appeal for healing isn’t singularly about the life of the one in need of healing. The request becomes a principle means of revealing the life of the Healer.
     With this theological tenet in mind, I welcome you to join me in prayer throughout the next fifteen days (fifteen was a good number for Hezekiah). Pray with me that God would heal our world in such a distinct manner that leaves no room for doubt as to where the Source of the healing lies. May our collective petition be that scores upon scores of lives would not only be cured of this pandemic outbreak, but that even more eyes and hearts would be opened to the redeeming grace of our living God. May the Church’s words, “Hear our prayer,” become an inflection point that moves heaven closer to earth and grants God’s kingdom a greater footprint upon this moment in time.
Let the people of God say, “Lord Jesus, in your mercy, may it become so!”