"Do not be frightened, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard." —Luke 1:13
Luke's text gives us several clues to Zechariah's background. Zechariah and Elizabeth were advancing in age. Elizabeth was past the age of bearing children (Lk 1:18, 36). Apparently, some years before, Zechariah had prayed for children; hence, the angel says: "Your prayer has been heard" (Lk 1:13). Zechariah's startled and skeptical reaction indicates that he probably had forgotten about this prayer and perhaps hadn't prayed for a child in quite a few years.
Sometimes we Christians assume that prayer has a kind of spiritual "statute of limitations," that if God hasn't answered our prayers in what seems to us a "reasonable" amount of time, then He has forgotten our prayer and therefore the prayer no longer is valid. However, the angel tells Zechariah, "Your prayer has been heard" (Lk 1:13). God did not forget his prayer. As the angel says: "They will all come true in due season" (Lk 1:20).
Have you prayed for something for a time, then stopped praying because it seemed to you that God wasn't listening? Take the angel's advice: "Silence...in the presence of the Lord!" (Zec 2:17) Be still and know that He is God (see Ps 46:10, JB).
Prayer: (Pray to the Father a seemingly unanswered prayer which you haven't prayed for years.)
Promise: "In these days the Lord is acting on my behalf." —Lk 1:25
Praise: "O Flower of Jesse's stem, You have been raised up as a Sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in Your presence; the nations bow down in worship before You. Come, let nothing keep You from coming to our aid."
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 17, 2008
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