Zechariah was a devout man who observed all of the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly (Luke 1:6). If there was ever a man whose prayers should have been answered, it was Zechariah. Yet, he prayed for many years for a child with no success! After so many years of seemingly futile prayer (for Zechariah and Elizabeth were very old), Zechariah could have taken umbrage with God. If not that, he could have said in his heart that it was not God’s will for his life that he have a child..
But no, Zechariah was a man who understood that he was to be persistent in his seeking and knocking.
For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened – Luke 11:10 (AMP)
For Zechariah to be persistent in his prayer required that he marry himself to the journey of praying and divorce himself from its outcome. In other words, he had to let go (not look at whether his prayer was paying dividend) but not give up (continue praying). Zechariah was able to let go because he understood that the eyes of the Lord are perpetually roaming the earth to make Himself strong on behalf of those that trust Him (2 Chronicles 16:9). He was able to wait on the Lord for a long time because he knew that those who wait on the Lord will not be ashamed.
As we know, Zachariah’s trust in the Lord (faith), his patience, and his persistence (perseverance) ultimately paid off! He was told by angel Gabriel that he would have a child.
Moreover, his faith and patience was rewarded with an extraordinary child. His child was John the Baptist: A man who was a joy and a delight, whom many rejoiced over, who was great in the sight of the Lord, who brought back the people of Israel to God, reconciled parents and children, and prepared the way for Jesus (see Luke 1:14-16). His child was a man whom Jesus called the greatest man to ever live (Luke 7:28).
Consider this: Perhaps God loved Zechariah so much that he wanted him to father the fore-runner for Jesus. Perhaps He made Zechariah wait so that He could bestow that honor unto him. Just because we may not know what God is up to does not mean He is up to nothing!
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised – Hebrews 6:12
Here are a 3 things the story of Zechariah encourages us to do when it seems God has forgotten about our prayer requests.
Stay loyal to God
Our level of loyalty will determine our level of royalty. We must stay loyal and devoted to God not matter the circumstance in our life. God knows what He is doing. We must not equate delay with denial.
Persistence is the key to winning in life. Winston Churchill is quoted to have said that success is the ability to go from failure to failure with no loss in enthusiasm. Others put it this way: Failures fail once and quit. Successful people fail may times but never give up.
Stay Patient Until it is Time
John the Baptist was worth the wait for Zechariah. In fact, Zechariah became immortalized in history because of the birth of his son. If God closes a door today, it is because he has a better door in store for you. Perhaps it goes without saying, but we must walk through the door that God does open. E.g. Though Zechariah was told he was to have a son, he still had to play his part by being intimate with his wife.
Food for Thought: God answers our prayers when the time is right!