Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, “Remember, LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 2 Kings 20:2-3
The television game show called “Let’s make a deal” has been around since 1963. Though it was created by NBC, it has since been produced in many countries throughout the world. The game show is set up to have selected members of the studio audience, called “traders,” making deals with the host. Technically, traders should have something to offer the host as a trade. In most cases, a trader will be offered something of value which the trader can exchange for something else.
We should not approach God in prayer with a deal-making attitude. God does not make deals. Besides, we do not have anything that God needs. The world and everything in it belong to Him. Everything exists according to His Sovereign will. God knows everything, can do all things, and does not need anything. He is All-Sufficient, All-Knowing, and All-Powerful.
The Almighty does not trade or barter with anyone. He alone is God. He has no equal and no competitor. He stands above all things. Therefore, we should approach Him with reverence and awe. Indeed, the focus of our prayer should be to worship the holiness of God as we delight in the privilege of fellowshipping with Him in prayer.
When the prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah to “Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover,” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. Hezekiah did not try to make a deal with the Lord. He did three things in his prayer that moved God to bless him with an additional fifteen years to his life.
First, Hezekiah reminded the Lord of his faithfulness and wholehearted obedience to His commands. This was a valid way to approach God under the Old Testament covenant. According to the Old Testament covenant, blessing or cursing was sent by God based on obedience or disobedience (Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28). In other words, Hezekiah prayed according to scripture. He quoted God’s word back to God in his petition.
Second, Hezekiah wept bitterly because he knew there was no deal he could make with the Lord to change His mind. Despite his faithfulness and obedience to the Lord, Hezekiah had no ground to ask God to spare him of death. Hezekiah’s weeping underscores his realization of God’s sovereign power over life and death. Thus, he appealed to God’s grace, mercy, and compassion.
Third, Hezekiah did not make any specific demands of God. He wept because he knew he was in no position to demand that God healed him. Hezekiah knew whatever God said would come to pass. Therefore, there was no need to try to make any deal with God.
Almighty God has the divine prerogative to determine if, when, and how He answers our prayer. And every prayer is answered according to God’s will alone. For, He knows the plan He has for us. We do not have a full understanding of why things happen. Therefore, it is foolish to turn prayer into a deal-making session. Besides, through Jesus Christ, we have total access to the fullness of God. We do not have to make deals to be heard. We simply have to pray in the name of Jesus.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we can do three things to avoid praying with a deal-making attitude. First, we have to pray according to the word of God. It is okay to quote God’s word back to Him and remind Him of His promises in scripture. Second, we should pray to affirm the sovereignty of God over our lives and say as Jesus said, “Nevertheless, not my will, but let thy will be done.” Third, we have to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not unto our understanding. We may not like what God is doing in our lives, but we have to trust that it will all work for our good.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What lesson have you learned about prayer from Hezekiah?
Why do you think God answered Hezekiah’s prayer so quickly?
Prayer- Almighty God, I come before you in the name of Jesus your Son. I realize I do not have anything to offer you but my worship and wholehearted obedience. Please help me not to present my petitions before you with a deal-making attitude. Instead, I want to enjoy the experience of fellowshipping with you through prayer whether or not my petitions are granted because I trust you know what is best for me.