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. He will be a joy and delight to you,
and many will rejoice because of his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.”
Since we are beginning the celebration of Christmas, I thought we could look at those passages in the Bible that preface this glorious season. It is interesting the perfect order in which God orchestrated the birth of His Son. Old Testament Prophets, not only foretold His birth, but they told of a forerunner that would come to prepare the hearts of the people to receive Him. That forerunner was John the Baptist born to the High Priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth.
An angel appeared to Zechariah while he was ministering in the Holy of Holies in the temple. As you can imagine, Zechariah was petrified! In those days if the High Priest had any sin in his life when he came to minister, he was smitten and died. Maybe Zechariah thought the angel was there to give him a death sentence. Certainly he never dreamed that he would be the messenger of such wonderful news. Although Zechariah and Elizabeth were well beyond child bearing age, the angel told him that they were going to have a son. And although scripture indicates that they had been praying a long time for such a miracle, Zechariah doubted the word of the angel. He said, “How do I know that this will come to pass?” I think that is a statement that he regretted for quite some time, for the angel said, “This is how you will know. You will not be able to talk until your son is born.” Talk about something rendering you speechless! The angel went on to say that they should name the child John. When Zechariah’s speech was restored, friends and neighbors asked him, “What do you want to name him…Zechariah, Jr.?” “No”, he said, “We will call him John!” Zechariah was not going to make the mistake of questioning the angel twice!
But like Zechariah, are there times that we have been praying for something for so long that it has become more a ritual than an inspiration? And like Zechariah, if the answer came now, would we be in shock and disbelief? We need to keep our faith alive by continually feeding on the promises in God’s Word. Then we will live expecting our prayers to be answered…maybe even today!
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray,
believe that you receive them, and you will have them.