Today’s Bible reading includes Luke 1. It tells us about a man named Zechariah, who was a priest. He had a wife named Elizabeth. They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child. Elizabeth was barren. Both Zechariah and Elizabeth were “advanced in years” (Luke 1:5-7).
Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard…” (Luke 1:8-13)
“Your prayer has been heard.” This was Gabriel’s assurance to Zechariah. Gabriel was an angel. “I stand in the presence of God,” he claimed, “and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news” (Luke 1:19).
Can you imagine how many prayers Zechariah and Elizabeth had offered to God, individually and as a couple? They were righteous people. They sought to walk blamelessly in accordance with God’s commandments and statutes. “But they had no child.” Now they were old. How many prayers had they offered over the years concerning Elizabeth’s barrenness?
And how, over those many years, had their conception of God been pushed and pulled and tugged all over the spectrum of faith? We’re praying and praying and praying … but where is God? Does he hear? Does he care? Is he able? Is he good?
Luke 1 documents the divine promise of a child to this old couple. In that respect, Zechariah and Elizabeth enjoy a happy ending. But I would encourage you to realize that regardless of what Luke 1:14 and beyond says, the truth contained in Luke 1:13 is profound and significant.
“Your prayer has been heard.”
“He who is mighty” hears the prayers of the righteous. He whose name is “holy” (Luke 1:49) knows the footsteps of those who walk in harmony with his commandments and statutes.
Your prayers are heard.
Perhaps he answers them in the way you’ve been hoping for years and years. It may be that his answer is “No,” or “Not right now,” or “Not like that.” Either way, herein lies an opportunity to sing with Mary, whose own encounter with the angel Gabriel leads her heart to exclaim, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47).
Why? Because your prayers are heard.
Let’s pray with confident faith in “the One who is mighty” today.