Summary: Hezekiah’s experience provides a lasting example of what can happen when we claim God’s promise of prayer.

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A Case Study in Prayer and Promise--I

Isaiah 38-40

Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister

First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO

A man was hired to paint the center line down the middle of the highway. The first day he painted three miles, the second day two miles and the third day one. The boss came to him and asked him why he painted three miles the first day and only one mile the third day.

His answer was simple: “Well, I’ll tell you boss, the farther I painted, the farther away I was from the paint bucket.”

The lesson is not far to find. The farther we get from our source of supply (our personal relationship with our God) the harder life becomes. The solution is to keep our source of supply at our side and never begin to think we can wander out away from him alone.

Or consider the fellow who sent the following letter to his workman’s compensation insurance company:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information. In block #3 of the accident form, I put "trying to do the job alone" as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully, and I trust that the following details will be sufficient. I am a bricklayer by trade. On the date of the accident I was working alone on the roof of a new six story building. When I completed my work, I found that I had about 500 pounds of brick left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which fortunately was attached to the side of the building at the 6th floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out, and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of brick.

You will note in block #11 of the accident report that I weight 135 pounds. But to by surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming down. This explains the fractured skull, and broken collar bone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were 2 knuckles deep into the pulley. Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind, and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of my pain.

At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground, and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel then weighed approximately 50 pounds. I refer you again to my weight in block #11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, and the lacerations of my legs, and lower body area. The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of bricks, and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks, in pain . . . unable to stand . . . and watching the empty barrel six stories above me . . . I again lost my presence of mind and let go of the rope. The empty barrel weighed more than the rope, so it came back down on me, and broke both my legs. I hope I have furnished the information you have required.”

I don’t suspect any of us are likely to get into a mess like this any time soon. But without the partnership of the Lord in all we do, problems are never too far away.

Remember the Ten Prayer Principles that we have been considering for nearly three months:

a. prayer is our first, not last, resort

b. anyone can pray; everyone should pray

c. all of us could prayer more and better

d. prayer changes us and our circumstances

e. Satan doesn’t want us to pray; he will do anything to stop us

f. prayer is hard work; it is not easy for most of us

g. the most important thing we can do in Vandalia this year is to become a (more) praying church;

h. God wants to answer our prayer more than we want to ask him;

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