The Peril of Answered Prayer
Most believers believe that they should pray and expect their prayers to be answered. To many
believers prayer is simply a matter of persuading God so that they can get from God the things
that they want; but God promised to meet our needs.  For those who want God to meet their
wants, prayer thus becomes a tool of persuasion to convince God to do something that otherwise
He might not wish to do. It is generally thought that the worst thing that could happen would be
for the believer’s prayers not to be answered at all or to be answered with a no. While prayer
never causes God to diverge from His purpose, Hezekiah’s life affords a striking example of a
time when seemingly his prayer did cause God to change His mind. When one looks at the
outworkings of that answer he cannot but wonder if it would not have been better if God had not
answered that prayer at all or simply said, no.

It must be remembered that Hezekiah was a good king. He was the godliest king to come to the
throne since David. Under his reign some wonderful things were accomplished: (1) he led the
people to a great revival, (2) he re-instituted the observance of the Passover, (3) he reorganized
the priesthood, and (4) he refused to pay tribute to Assyria. He reigned for 14 years and then
became deathly ill with a boil-like disease. God sent the Prophet Isaiah to him with some of the
strongest language in the Old Testament. He literally said, “Set your house in order for in dying
you shall certainly die!” Similar words had been spoken to Adam (Gen. 2:17). Hezekiah future was
set—he would certainly die.

Hezekiah reacted to the prophet’s pronouncement predictably and humanly—he prayed and wept
(2 kings 20:2-3). He reminded God of the good life that he had lived and cried as he prayed.
Seemingly he was successful in causing God to change His mind for before Isaiah got out of the
king’s courtyard the Word of the Lord came to him telling him to return to Hezekiah and tell him
that not only would he be healed but 15 years would be added to his life. Hezekiah asked for a
sign to guarantee that it was true. In compliance, God caused the shadow on the sundial to go
backward 10 degrees.

It would seem that Hezekiah had successfully “prayed through” and had convinced God to change
His mind. He had engaged in prevailing prayer. But consider the things that happened following
the answering of this prayer: (1) Shortly after he was healed, he received an envoy from the
Babylonian empire and he showed them all the wealth of his country. God sent Isaiah to deliver
the world of judgment telling Hezekiah that all that wealth would be carried away into Babylon
(v. 17). (2) Three years after Hezekiah was healed, Manasseh was born. Manasseh was the
longest-reigning and most wicked king to reign over Judah. The only redeeming feature of his life
was the fact that at the end of his life he repented of the evil he had done (2 Chron. 33:19).

What could be worse that not having one’s prayers answered? In Hezekiah’s case it was to have
his prayers answered. Why then did God answer Hezekiah’s prayer when, seemingly, God in his
foreknowledge knew it was not in both Hezekiah’s and Judah’s interests? We found the answer in
2 Kings 20:6. God did not answer Hezekiah’s prayer for Hezekiah’s sake. He did it for his own
sake and for His servant David to whom he made a promise that the line of David would not ever
pass out of existence. At the time of his illness, Hezekiah had no offspring. He should have
realized that he could not die at least until an heir was born to him, but he didn’t.  The reason,
then that God answered Hezekiah’s prayer was so that the Davidic line would continue, even if
through one who was a wicked king, just as He had done through Ahaz, Manasseh’s grandfather
(1 Sam. 7:16). Truly, God is sovereign when it comes to answering prayer and never is he
persuaded against His will.

LORD'S PRAYER LUKE 11:2-4

Jesus said: When you pray, say, OUR Father WHICH ART IN HEAVEN Hallowed be thy name, Thy
kingdom come THY WILL BE done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses; as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into
temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever
and for ever. Amen
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