Do present circumstances discourage you from praying for the desires of your heart?
Zechariah and Elizabeth were unable to have children, but apparently their prayers for a child continued, even into their old age. While Zechariah was serving in the Temple, the angel, Gabriel appeared to him and said, “Zechariah, your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son.” (Luke 1:13) He went on to say that this son will be great in the sight of the Lord, filled with the Holy Spirit and bring many people back to the Lord.
Although Zechariah had been praying for a son for many years, his present circumstances caused him to question whether this could still happen. He asked, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” Even Gabriel acknowledged Elizabeth’s advanced age in Luke 1:36.
While Zechariah’s doubt rendered him unable to speak until the promise was fulfilled, his faithfulness in serving the Lord and persistence in prayer over many years was rewarded with the birth of a son, John the Baptist, whose mission was to prepare the way for God’s own son.
Zechariah and Elizabeth are great models for us. They remained faithful and persistent in their prayer over many years and even after the answer to their prayer seemed impossible.
Our daughter, Emily who is now 28, was born with Down syndrome and a speech disability. For more than 20 years we have been praying for the healing of her speech disability so that she could be better understood and able to interact more fully with others. Like Zechariah and Elizabeth, the present circumstances may indicate that not much is happening, but we have seen some progress in her increased efforts to converse, and we will never cease praying in faith for God’s special intervention in the life of this special child entrusted to our family.
Jesus offered the Parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8) to urge his followers to “always pray and never give up.” He says, “Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” St. Paul entreats us to “pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Th. 5:17) “For nothing is impossible to God,” says Gabriel in a subsequent appearance to Mary. (Luke 1:37)
While we may struggle to know the mind of God, the fact that something may appear impossible is not a reason to refrain from praying for the desire of our hearts.