But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. And your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son" (Luke 1:13).
When I was a teenager I desperately wanted to find the girl I would marry. Over the next 20 years I kept praying for a wife, but that prayer went unanswered. At times I was convinced I would be single all my life. Then I finished seminary and went to my first call. Within a month I was dating the woman who would become my wife.
For decades Zechariah had prayed for a child. But when no child came he eventually gave up -- but not God. On the very first day Zechariah prayed God marked that prayer in His memory. Decades later God vividly remembers every detail of that prayer, including the urgency Zechariah felt month after month as he poured out his plea to God. Now as the clouds of incense are rising from the altar to symbolize God's acceptance of His people's prayers, the angel brings Zechariah the answer to his long-forgotten prayer.
Have you been raising heartfelt prayers to God for years and years, only to find things get worse-finances, employment, health, family strains? Does it seem God is against you -- that He just doesn't care? We learn the truth in this angel visit. The first moment we offer a prayer in faith to God, He in His great wisdom and care chooses the best way to answer that prayer as well as the best time to answer it. Sometimes, like Zechariah, we just have to wait until God's time is right, and He has made everything fall into place.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, fill me with confidence that You mark all my prayers, and will answer them when Your time is right, and always for my good. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.
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