‘Our Prayers Are a Part of God’s Plan’    

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Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Adrian Rogers said, “The prayer that gets to Heaven is the prayer that starts in Heaven. Prayer is not some method by which man on earth gets his will done in Heaven. Prayer is a method where God in Heaven gets His will done on earth.” [1]

For years Zacharias had been praying for a child and no doubt for a son. But it seemed as though God was not listening to his prayers. Years had passed and still Elizabeth was barren. Because God had delayed, Zacharias had become discouraged.

Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. 20 But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”

Zacharias had prayed for this so long that he had given up hope. In his mind, he and Elizabeth were now too old to have a child. If God was going to answer this prayer, He should have done so long ago. But Gabriel told Zacharias that God’s will is done in God’s time. The child God would give them would be more than just a son. He would be a special son chosen by God for a special reason.

Luke 1:15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Today we know this child as John the Baptist. Consider God’s plan for John. First, we should note that his name means God is a gracious giver. Zacharias had prayed and God was graciously answering his prayer. Secondly, we should note that he was filled with the Holy Spirit, even while he was still in his mother’s womb. Scripture says that when Mary visited Elizabeth, Elizabeth said, “the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” (See Luke 1:44.) Thirdly, we should note that he would play a very important role in God’s plan of salvation. “He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (vs. 16-17) John was chosen to go before Jesus to prepare the hearts of the people to receive Jesus as their Savior. Isaiah says, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth…” (Isaiah 40:3-4) The highway to be prepared was not a physical highway along the countryside. It was the highway into a man’s heart. Matthew tells us that John preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2)

Sometimes we can’t understand why God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we ask or why it takes so long for His answer to come. But our study today reveals to us that God has a special reason for each answer He gives and that we must trust Him to answer our prayers in His perfect way and according to His perfect time.

God bless you, Brethren.

* Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New King James Version

[1] https://www.lwf.org/sermons/audio/when-god-says-no-2134#:~:text=Adrian%20Rogers%20says%2C%20“The%20prayer%20that%20gets%20to,You%20see%2C%20it%20is%20the%20will%20of%20God.  November 22, 2022

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