Summary: Learning about appropriately making prayer a part of life by looking at the life of Hezekiah

1. Title: Now Would Be A Good Time To Pray

2. Text: 2 Chronicles 31-32, II Kings 18-20, Isaiah 36-38

3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM crowd. June 4, 2006, in the series “The Kings and I”

4. Objectives:

-for the people to understand that God answers prayer; that prayer is a godly response to many life situations; that prayer helps us through diversity

-for the people to feel that prayer will help them cope with life’s hard times; that they should take more of life to God in prayer; that they should repent of wandering

-for the people to apply themselves to prayer deliberately and specifically; repent of wandering from God; place themselves in God’s hands completely

5. When I finish my sermon I want my audience to make prayer a major part of returning, renewing, and re-committing themselves to God

6. Type: expository

7. Dominant Thought: Prayer is the godly response to many of life’s situations.

8. Outline:

Joplin, MO – home of a bazillion restaurants. Our cultural shift to eating out has produced a new challenge: what’s the right time to pray?

For instance, if you go out to eat Mexican food, it’s likely you’ll be given chips and salsa before you get your “meal.” Do you pray before the chips, or wait till after? And what if you’re somewhere and they bring you a salad, or some appetizer, do you pray before or after? What do you do if the waitress is coming with something for you, and you don’t want her to be standing there with your drinks, waiting for your 4 year old to finish thanking God for everything? What’s she supposed to do?

When is the right time to pray? Someone needs to check into these things.

Roberta Kenoyer, AKA, “Mom K,” formerly the dorm mom of Williamson dorm at OCC, had a knack for praying when you wish she wouldn’t. The prayer I’m thinking of usually came right after she caught a few guys doing something they shouldn’t – like holding down Larry Timm and shaving his chest hairs. (At least, that’s what I heard some guys were going to do.) Anyway, Mom’s prayer went something like this: Dear Lord, we are but children. Please help us to focus on why we’re here and how we should be living. Please forgive us for our childishness and help us to mature. It went on for a few minutes. Thanks, Mom! I wonder if it helped those guys. At least they learned when Mom thought it was a good time to pray!

Hezekiah is another king of Judah - #12, and a good king who knew when to pray. The year is about 728 BC. It’s just a few years before the northern 10 tribes, known as Israel, were completely taken out as a nation. Apparently sometime during Hezekiah’s 29 year reign, in 722 BC the Assyrians finally overran Samaria and deported what was left of Israel. That left Judah under the leadership of this king whose life is recorded in some 10 different chapters of the OT. The short version of Hez. goes like this:

II Kings 18:5-7

Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.

I wouldn’t mind some words like that being the record of my life after I’m gone from this earth. How did he do it? As I read through the stories of Hezekiah, one of the features that appears several times is his prayer life. Hezekiah was blessed by God, and it’s quite apparent that his prayers had a lot to do with that. So, what did he pray, and, when did he pray? When was it a good time for prayer?

So, from Hezekiah, let’s look at 3 times that are a really good time to pray:

I. When You’re Coming Back to God

Hezekiah inherited a nation that was a mess. They had turned their backs on God, and God let them suffer for it. Hezekiah had a plan, and he didn’t waste time getting it started.

2 Chronicles 29:3-6, 10

In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the LORD and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: "Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the LORD, the God of your fathers. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. Our fathers were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the LORD our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him.

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