Summary: A sermon on prayer from the lives of Hezekiah, Zechariah, and Cornelius.
Sermon for 9/4/2005
Startled by Prayer
Tell the story of the new minister going to call on a lady in the hospital. He prayed over her and she was healed.
At the UNC- Chapel Hill Campus House and I was praying and Michael Walker came up behind me and startled me.
Thesis: We see three people in the Bible that were startled (in mild shock) because of their prayers.
A. Hezekiah was a godly king of Judah. Hezekiah was a man of great faith. We could talk about how the Assyrian army invaded the land of Judah and how the city of Jerusalem was surrounded without any army and no help. The records of the Assyrians say that they had Hezekiah in Jerusalem like a caged bird. This is true but the records of the Assyrians do not tell the whole story, the Bible does.
B. The prophet Isaiah told Hezekiah that the Assyrians would not take over the city. The only help that they had was from the Lord. There was no escape through the eyes of man. Hezekiah prayed his heart out before the Lord. Finally, the Lord came to their rescue in a dramatic way. In one night, the Lord put to death 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the people got up the next morning- there were all the dead bodies. So the Assyrians left and the city was saved.
C. I am sure that Hezekiah was startled by this turn of events but not much. The Lord said that something like this would happen and Hezekiah trusted the Lord.
D. Look at Isaiah 38:1-5. This is exactly what happened.
E. The Lord changed his mind!
F. What should we do when the doctor comes in and says, “There is nothing more that we can do. It will only be a matter of hours.”? I have seen it several times.
G. Come into pray. How should I pray? Some situations where they have suffered long they want to pray that the Lord will take them. Other situations, Pray that the Lord will heal them. Sometimes the patient does not recover. Sometimes the patient does recover miraculously and goes on to do great things.
G. Hezekiah was in a position where the only source of healing was the Lord. Only God could help him and God said that he would not recover.
H. J. Vernon McGee- I notice in the early church that James was a martyr- he was executed by Herod. Peter, on the other hand, was delivered from prison. I do not know why one man was delivered and the other man became a martyr. We need to pray for the Lord’s will to be done. We need to pray, “Oh God, bend us to your will- whatever it is.” But I am going to let God know how I feel about it.
I. This is what Hezekiah did; he let God know how he felt about it.
J. Can prayer change God’s mind? The Bible tells us that God never changes.
K. I am sure that Hezekiah was startled and shocked when Isaiah came back and said that he was going to live 15 more years. The Lord had said that he would die and now the Lord says that he will live.
L. Moses was with God on the mountain when the Israelites were making the golden calf. The Lord was angry with the Israelites and he told Moses that he would wipe them out and start over with Moses and make a great nation out of him. Moses pleaded with the Lord not to do this thing. (Exo 32:14 NIV) Then the LORD relented (repented in King James) and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
M. The Lord does not change the way that we change. When we became Christians, we changed our character, behavior and attitudes. The Lord does not change in this way. He is good and holy and he will always be good and holy.
N. In God’s dealings with us on the earth, He does change in what he does and does not do. A lot of it is based on the prayers of his people.
O. (Mat 18:19 NIV) “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
P. (1 John 5:14 NIV) This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.(1 John 5:15 NIV) And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him.
Q. In the family, the Father may want to do some things but if the children are not interested then the Father will probably end up saying, if they don’t care about this, then I’m not going to do it. God, the Father, is up in heaven and he wants to do some great things, but if his children are not concerned, then there is a good chance that the good things he wants to do, He will not do because his children don’t care about this.