The Reading: 2 Kings 19:1-19
“Hezekiah … spread the letter before the Lord” (v.14) RSV
Fear can come in many forms. Its power lies in the fact that it undermines faith. We lose our peace because we are temporarily overcome by the reality of our problems.
You may remember this is what happened to Peter when he took his first steps on water: “when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, cried out, Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:30). Well, it was just the same with Hezekiah. When he read the letter from the besieging Assyrian army and when he knew all the havoc they had wrought further up north, he was full of apprehension.
However, he did the right thing. Previously he had tried to buy them off and he had prepared by digging a water course into Jerusalem, but now there was no other option left to him, he must pray. There is a beautiful simplicity, even naivety in what he does. He takes the threatening letter with him into God’s presence (the Temple), and spreads it out in front of him. He then reminds God of his love and care for his people.
This leads him into asking the Lord to sort out the problem. Hezekiah is not being prescriptive but he is definitely looking for a solution.
There are many, many ways to pray, but there is no technique that compels God to fulfil our will. Prayer is, one way or another, a matter of coming into God’s presence, opening our heart to him, reminding ourselves of his promises and commitment to us, and then resting in the assurance that he has heard and will answer (as the old Prayer Book says) “as is most expedient for us”.
As the old hymn goes: “What a friend we have in Jesus … What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Oh what peace we often forfeit. Oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” Are you facing intractable problems? Pray!
Thank you Lord that nothing is too big or too small to bring to you in prayer. Make me eager to talk to you. Amen.
1 Who was in the custom of praying three times a day?
2 What should we do with our fears and problems?