What if Hezekiah didn’t pray?
What would have happened if Hezekiah didn’t have a lifestyle of prayer?
At 25 years old Hezekiah became the 13th king of Judah in Jerusalem. I imagined that to be a lot of pressure and responsibility at 25. He reigned 29 years. He followed King David’s examples and commandments God gave to Moses. He did what was pleasing in the sight of God. The books of 2 Kings 18-20, 2 Chronicles 29-32, and Isaiah 36-39 give an account of his reign over Judah. As I studied his life I asked myself, what if he never prayed? What if his lifestyle wasn’t on of prayer? He was clearly a man that feared the Lord and reverence the things of God.
“And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did”. 2 Kings 18:3
He destroyed the altars of false worship and idols (gods) the Israelites made for themselves. He even destroyed the “brazen serpent that Moses had made”, because the Israelites had developed the habit of sacrificing to it. They were living like pagans. They named it “Nehushtan” (The Old Serpent). Satan is the only Old serpent in the garden I can think of. This was obviously a terrible thing. Pagan practices had become their norm. Hezekiah had every right as the appointed king and servant of God to destroy these things and bring order back into the kingdom. He did it the way God instructed David and Moses. He reopened the House of The Lord, which his father had closed. He had the priest and Levites consecrate themselves and the House of the Lord. He restored proper worship and sacrifice.
“he trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him”. 2 Kings 18:5
Hezekiah was without a doubt a remarkable king because he feared the Lord (2 Kings 18:6-7). He had oppositions, but he was able to overcome them because God was with him. Four years into his reign a part of Israel, Samaria, was taken captive by the king of Assyria. This was “because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them”, (2 Kings 18:12). I believe the same thing happened to us when we refuse to obey the word of God. Satan captures us, and we become slaves of sin. Towards the end of Hezekiah’s reign, he became deathly ill. God sends the prophet Isaiah to let him know he will not recover from his illness, he is going to die. Can you imagine being Hezekiah at that point? Based on your current lifestyle how would you react to such news? I don’t know about you, but my heart would’ve dropped a little bit. I would be wondering what sin I committed to bring that upon myself. I hope my response would be prayer and trust in God.
Hezekiah did what he has always done during his reign, he prayed. “Then he turned his face to the fall, and prayed unto the LORD”, (2 Kings 20:2). He was a praying man. Whatever trials Hezekiah faced (Assyrian Kings, rebellious Israel) he responded by first seeking God through prayer. He also sought the prophet Isaiah to hear what the Lord had to say concerning Judah. In his prayer, Hezekiah reminded God of his relationship with him, how he was careful to obey him and did what was pleasing in his sight. Before Isaiah could leave God heard Hezekiah’s prayer and observed his tears. He instructed Isaiah to go back and tell him he heard his prayer. God promised to give him 15 more years, heal him, and deliver him from the Assyrian king, (2 Kings 20:4-6). Why would God examine Hezekiah’s tears? Our motives matter when we pray. God knows our heart. He knows our thoughts before we even have them. Hezekiah didn’t necessarily pray because he was afraid to die, he was concerned about bringing glory to God. He was focused on God’s promises. He knew his death wouldn’t bring glory to God and his enemy would win. He wanted God to fulfill his promises and prove his faithfulness. It’s powerful when we pray the will of God. He will answer. Our prayers should be to bring glory to God and fulfill his will. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts”, (James 4:3). James is reminding us if our motives are wrong when we pray we will not receive what we asked for. Our prayers shouldn’t be selfish prayers what will only bring us pleasure. God will not answer prayers that are disguised to fulfill unrighteous agendas.
What would we know of Hezekiah today had he not live a lifestyle pleasing to God? There’s no need to imagine, just read about some of the other kings during his lifetime. Because Hezekiah had a relationship with God, he could boldly go to him in prayer. He was always confident in God’s ability to deliver them. His complete trust in God made him confident. He was constantly seeking God for answers and direction, not just the day he found out he would be deathly ill. I believe he studied the word of God and knew what his will was. Therefore, he knew what kind of prayer to pray. He was faithful in keeping the instructions God gave them through Moses. He was a submitted king. I don’t think he was perfect and never did any wrong. I think he was intentional about doing what he knew God required of him. God answered him speedily because he prayed the will of God.
“Pray without ceasing”, 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Not only is prayer a means to communicate with God but it also helps strengthen our relationship with God. Hezekiah’s story encouraged me to restore order in my life wherever there’s a need for it. We can easily fool ourselves by our own judgment thinking we are doing enough or we’re where we ought to be. Every day I see things and I hear things that remind me I am not praying enough. I want to pray more than just one hour a day. I want to always pray the will of God and remind him of his promises. Answered prayer is powerful and a testimony unto God for his glory. I want to know more and more of God’s word to know what to pray when I pray. Like Hezekiah, I want to be a prayerful woman whose life reflects it for God’s glory alone. I want the Lord to be able to count on me to do what I know is right and pleasing in his sight. I don’t know about you, but I want to pray kingdom prayers that will get God’s attention. I want to pray about everything God gives me the authority to pray for. Hezekiah’s story could’ve ended with him dying from his illness had he not humbled himself and prayed.