Advent Sunday Devotion: Zechariah and Elizabeth – Your Prayer has been Heard
Zechariah, age 99, had been faithfully serving the Lord as priest in Judea for his entire life. Along by his side was his wife, Elizabeth. “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all of the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.” Luke 1:6 (NIV)
From early in their marriage, Zechariah honored his wife and lifted their desires to be parents to God in prayer. Not just one prayer, but years in prayer. Elizabeth was unable to have a child. She was barren. To her family and her neighbors, this was a disgrace. At some point, Zechariah and Elizabeth accepted God’s will and knew the time to have a child had passed them by. Yet this did not change their relationship with their Lord, continuing in service and living a life honoring to God.
The time for having a child had passed them by or so they thought. The time God had planned had just arrived. While completing his duties as priest, Zechariah was visited by “an angel of the Lord,” and heard him say, “your prayer has been heard. Your wife, Elizabeth, will bear a son and you are to call him John.” Not only was Zechariah to have a son, but his son would be – a joy and a delight – great in the sight of the Lord – filled with the Holy Spirit – he will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:14-17 (NIV)
Zechariah knew the prophesy of such a child, who would grow into the man who would prepare the way for the Lord. This child would be his son. His prayer had been heard.
Elizabeth, faithful in service to her Lord and care of her husband, was blessed by the Lord and became pregnant on Zechariah’s return home. After years of disappointment, years of being barren, years of accepting disgrace, Elizabeth gave the glory of this miracle to her Lord. No bitterness or anger was in her heart. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days He has shown His favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” Luke 1:25 (NIV). A heartfelt honest response to a prayer that had been heard.
When the baby was born, Elizabeth told everyone his name would be John, and Zechariah signaled in agreement to the inquiries of everyone. His first words when he was free to speak again was to praise God. Soon the word spread far and wide about all these things. “What then is this child going to be? For the Lord’s hand was with him.” Luke 1:66 (NIV)
Man and wife committed to living a life to the Lord Two hearts dedicated in prayer As one, they honored God and accepted His will
God’s plan of redemption began God’s timing and prophesy fulfilled God’s blessing for two lives
God heard Zechariah and Elizabeth’s prayers and used them for His great work. God hears our prayers too. This season ask God how you can be used to point others back to God, to His Son Jesus. He is more than “the reason for the season”. He is the way, the truth and the life. A new life in Him. A simple Yes to accept the greatest gift - His gift of love.
Jesus, what once was an empty, barren heart looking for purpose, you gave me life eternal. A heart filled with your love. A life that has hope. Thank you. You have heard my prayer.