Summary: Even righteous people live with disappointments & hurt. Instead of focusing on the absent, we need to empathize and support them in their questioning & doubts that God would touch them in spite of their conditions. Elizabeth & Zechariah are our examples.
GOD HAS ANSWERED YOUR PRAYERS
LUKE 1:5-25: 5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. 8 So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 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.¡¨ 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.¡¨ 21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. 22 But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless. 23 So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. 24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, 25 ¡§Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.¡¨
INTRODUCTION: "GOD HAS ANSWERED YOUR PRAYER" Passionate Preaching
Illustration: Levar Burton of Roots & Star Trek. Possibilities ¡V God¡¦s Domain.
We Have Been Talking About Prayers In The Midweek Service and at the end of this 5 days of Fast and Prayer, let us talk about prayers again. 7 Cases Of Barrenness In The Bible. Sarah. Rebekah. Rachel. Hannah. Michal - barren for criticizing David¡¦s worship. Samson¡¦s mother. Elizabeth. What causes barrenness? Infertility is not always a woman's problem. Both women and men can have problems that cause infertility. About one-third of infertility cases are women's problems. Another one third of fertility problems are men¡¦s problems. The other cases are caused by a mixture of male and female problems or by unknown problems. Could be spiritual also. Per CDC, about 10% of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. But God can unlock wombs as he did for Elizabeth. God does answer prayers.
EXAMPLES OF ANSWERED PRAYERS
1. The Prayer Of Abraham¡¦s Servant (Genesis 24:12-14) Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac. ¡§Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac...¡¨
2. The Prayer Of Elijah (I Kings. 18:36-37) He wanted God to show that He was God in Israel by consuming the sacrifice, water, wood, stone. God did so the people could come back to God.