King Hezekiah of Judah is an important example to us of the power of passionate prayer. As we continue to seek God for our city, we need to take some lessons from this king. During the Assyrian threat against Jerusalem Hezekiah did not pray as a first resort, but when he did pray he prayed fervently. He set an example that we should follow of presenting God with a heavenly reason to answer his prayer. He pointed out to God that the King of Assyria had mocked God. He ask God to vindicate His own name by saving the city.
In chapter thirty eight of Isaiah, the King is told that he is going to die. Hezekiah called out to the Lord with tears. He affirmed his faithfulness through the years and implied that this faithfulness would continue. God heard his prayer again. He also gave Hezekiah assurance that the Assyrians would not conquer Jerusalem. He further provided a miraculous sign of a moving shadow on a stairway. Hezekiah’s life was to be extended fifteen years.
Does God ever change his mind? Some are very uncomfortable with this question. It seems that there are some things that are eternally fixed or prophecy would be unreliable. If words mean anything, God can change His plans in relation to the timing of events and even in relation to some details. Some would quickly add that God already knew what He would do. That may be true, but still the witness of Scripture lends itself to presenting a God who moves through prayer and is moved by prayer. To conclude otherwise sounds like fatalism.
Hezekiah may have been a prayer warrior, but he was often unwise. He had previously paid tribute to Assyria out of the royal treasury, even going so far as to strip gold from the Temple. This only provoked further greed by the Assyrians. Now he will make a similar mistake by showing off his treasury to the Babylonians. When God tells him of the coming destruction, he is comforted that it will not occur in his own lifetime. Somehow this picture of Hezekiah is unflattering. We should be burdened for generations to come and do all we can to influence the future through our prayers, our ministry, and our witness. Sadly, many of us may be too much like Hezekiah and be content with our own blessings.