Sunday, June 27, 2010

praying first in troubling times

As I was reading in the life of Hezekiah in 2 Kings, I was struck by his response to some news that he received. In 2 Kings 19 Hezekiah receives a letter from a king who was planning to attack him telling him that Judah's God would not be able to protect them from his attack. Hezekiah's response to this letter is recorded in 2 Kings 19:14-19, which says:
Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: "O Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; listen to the words the Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.
It is true, O Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste to these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by men's hands. Now, O Lord, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God." (NIV)
This letter drove Hezekiah to prayer.

As I was reading this I started to think about my own life and how I respond sometimes when troubling news comes my way. I usually respond by trying to figure what I can do to fix it. I wonder if that is not the same response that most of us have when we receive news like Hezekiah did.

But, as I look at what Hezekiah's response was I start to wonder if maybe that should be the way I respond as well - by going to God in prayer about it first. God can, and does, change things. Our prayers are answered. Taking troubling news or situations to God is the way He desires for us to respond.

Hezekiah's example is one that we should be following in our lives. As I look back over the last couple of years I can see that this is a response that is better than trying to make things happen on our own. A few times over the last couple of years, I have received news that was quite troubling but that I really could not do anything about. The only thing I could was pray, so I did. The more I have chosen to make that my first response, the more easily it becomes my first response.

This passage opens with Hezekiah receiving the letter and reading it. His next step is then to pray about it. What is your first response when you receive troubling news?

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