2 Kings 18:1-12; 19:9-19
Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. Verse 18:5 (NIV)
It is so nice to get away from the history of Ahab and Jezebel and even nicer to read the story of Hezekiah. Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, he held strong to the LORD, and the LORD was with him. The reason this was true: Hezekiah prayed. Most kings tried to look great on their thrones; Hezekiah did his best work on his knees – and not just when he was in trouble. For Hezekiah, prayer was a habit.
In our reading for today, Hezekiah and his people are in deep trouble. Assyria is like a lion. It has already gobbled up the ten tribes of Israel, and it is circling back to devour Judah. The Assyrians mock and make light of Hezekiah and his God. Sennacherib even sends a letter to Hezekiah full of trash talk against the Lord.
Hezekiah reads the letter, walks straight into the temple with it, and shows it to God. He “spreads it out,” as if to have God read it. I have done the same on numerous occasions in my short history, when it seemed everyone was against us.
Is prayer difficult for you? Join the club. There are likely some Christians for whom prayer is easy, but for most of us, it is a discipline and it takes some work.
It does help, though, to get physical about it. Kneel. Or stand. Like Hezekiah, take your calendar, your bank balance sheet, your kids’ report cards – and spread them out before God. Show him your life. Show God your trouble.
This is the most powerful commitment you can make: Be like Hezekiah, be a praying believer.
Father, give me the courage to lay open my life before you. You see me and know me. Teach me how to pray, Lord, and give me the discipline to make it a habit. In Jesus, Amen.