Prayer is a mysterious world. It is a spiritual world. It is a high dimensional world. When Christmas comes, we think of Jesus, Mary, and an angel who brought good news. Also we think of the prayer of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Luke 1 begins with the story of the birth of John the Baptist. This is because John the Baptist must have been born before Jesus had come. John the Baptist was born before Jesus with the mission of preparing the way of Christ. He was also born with the mission to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Lk 1:17). Zechariah is the father of John the Baptist. When Zechariah prayed, God gave him good news by sending an Angel.
Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were a very godly couple. But they did not have a child. Luke records that “Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old” (Lk 1:7). Zechariah and Elizabeth lived with a desire to have children for long time. But the desire did not come to pass easily. However, when Zechariah was praying, God gave good news for the two old couples by sending them an angel. “But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John”” (Lk 1:13).
It is clear that Zechariah prayed to God to give him a son for a long time. Therefore, when the angel visited him, he first confirmed with Zechariah that his prayer had been raised to God. God listened to Zechariah’s prayer, and when the time came God sent an angel to answer his prayer. Here, we can learn a few things about the mysteries of prayer.
First, it is the fact that God hears us when we pray. God pays close attention to our prayers when we pray. God is our Father. Just as a good father listens carefully to his children’s supplications, our good Heavenly Father listens carefully to our supplications. Most of our supplications that are offered to God are related to desire. God is interested in our desires. Also God makes us to have desire and to pray in order for God to work in us (Phil. 2:13).
Second, it is the fact that God chooses the time to answer our prayers when we pray. God answers some of our prayers right away. But God takes a long time to answer some other prayers. God is the one who knows the most suitable time. Therefore, sometimes God’s answer to our prayers may come to us slower than we expect. We must always remember that God’s delay does not mean His rejection. We need to learn to wait for God’s time through prayer.
Third, it is the fact that angels come when we pray. When Zechariah prayed, an angel came. When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, angels appeared from heaven and gave strength to Jesus (Lk 22:43). When Daniel prayed, the angel Gabriel came with an answer to the prayer. The Bible is full of many stories that angels came to help when people prayed. God helps us by mobilizing angels when we pray. Christians are the people who know and believe in the invisible spiritual realm. When we pray we can experience the help of angels, who are with us, although they are not visible. I pray that God will bless our church by mobilizing angels when we pray. I also ask for God to protect you and your children through angels.
Fourth, it is the fact that we experience miracles when we pray. It is a miracle that Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariah, had a child. We can tell from the story of the angel Gabriel coming to meet Mary. The angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will conceive through the Holy Spirit and have a son. Then Mary asks back the angel saying how a virgin who does not know a man can give birth to a son. Then Gabriel tells the story of Elizabeth. “Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail” (Lk 1:36-37). There is nothing impossible in God and in every word He speaks. God is an expert in making possible those things which seem impossible. It is done through those who pray. God still performs amazing miracles. Prayer is the power to create God’s miracles. My beloved saints, I wish you would experience the miracles of God by attending and praying together at this Year-End Daybreak Service.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.