PRAYING IN TIMES OF TROUBLE
Isaiah 37:14-15 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD.
This chapter of Isaiah contains an interesting story about King Hezekiah. The Assyrians were attacking Jerusalem with a large army and beginning to overpower it. The situation looked hopeless. King Sennacherib ridiculed Hezekiah mercilessly. Sennacherib made fun of Hezekiah’s misfortune by writing him a letter filled with insults about God in order to make the devout king lose all hope. Instead of losing hope, Hezekiah went into the temple, spread out the letter in front of God, bowed down with his face touching the ground, and prayed a heartfelt prayer.
Learning to pray when there’s an emergency or when something is frightening us requires a lot of discipline. Instead of praying, we tend to torture ourselves with anxiety and worry. All we can think about is trying to get rid of the problem. The devil often tricks us when temptation or suffering first begins, whether we are dealing with spiritual or physical matters. He immediately barges in and makes us so upset about the problem that we become consumed by it. In this way, he tears us away from praying. He makes us so confused that we don’t even think about praying. When we finally begin to pray, we have already tortured ourselves half to death. The devil knows what prayer can accomplish. That’s why he creates so many obstacles and makes it so inconvenient for us that we never get around to prayer.
On the basis of this story in Isaiah, we should get into the habit of falling on our knees and spreading our needs in front of God the moment we have an emergency or become frightened. Prayer is the very best medicine there is. It always works and never fails – if we would just use it!
Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional by Martin Luther. July 16.