“…and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:17
Malachi´s prophesied that there would be a messenger who would open a way for the Messiah. That way-maker was John the Baptist. John was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, who was a cousin of Mary. Luke 1 tells the story about them. The Bible says that Zechariah was a priest and that they had no children because Elizabeth was barren and they were too advanced in years to have a baby.
But they were people of faith. Luke 1:6 says that they both were righteous before God and that they walked blamelessly in all commandments and statutes of the Lord. They were also a couple who prayed. When the angel appears to Zechariah while he is on duty at the temple, the first thing the angel says to him is: “your prayers have been heard.” What prayer has God answered? The one for a son! This couple, even though they were too old to conceive, had continued to pray for a miracle.
Their son John was an important part of the prophecy because, through his ministry, the people would know that the Messiah was about to come. From godly parents would be born the child who would “go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
Sometimes we pray about something for a long, long time. We pray for the salvation of a spouse or a child. We pray for a calling or a ministry. We pray that God would bring that special person to us. But after years of heartfelt prayer, we give up out of discouragement. When we are in that place, we sometimes begin – in the smallest of ways – to doubt the love God has for us. But God always loves. Zachariah had no idea that God would answer the greatest desires of his heart – and even more, that his son would have the important task of preparing the way for Jesus. What an awesome answer!
Heavenly Father, there is no prayer wasted in Your presence. Help me remember that when I pray according to Your will, You answer in mighty ways, as you answered Zechariah and Elizabeth´s prayer.
Mini Challenge: Share with a friend or family member a prayer request that God answered in a surprising way. Consider also sharing some bold, difficult prayer requests with one another and commit to pray for them for the next few weeks.