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God Hears Prayer

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God Hears Prayers

Text:  2 Kings 20:1-11

Big Idea:  God responds to your prayers.

Purpose:  To reassure people that prayer is meaningful and powerful.


Question:  Does Prayer really make a difference?

            -in the morning when your kids leave – do you pray for them?

            -when you are sick, are you worried if you neglect to pray

There are two extreme views of prayer:

            1st view – that we can make God do our will through prayer

                        -if we say the right words, pray the right way

                                    -then God will do our will

                        -God is in control, we pray His will be done

            2nd view – that prayer is a nice practice, good idea

                        -but doesn’t really make a difference

                        -and I find this view to be more pervasive

            Many of us might cringe to hear that view

                        -we might even realize that this is not true

                        -but our practice is consistent with this view

Examples:  We pray for our grandchildren

                        -but we are not too worried if we forget to pray for them for a while

                        -because God is in control

            We ask God to bless our food

                        -but you couldn’t really explain what difference it makes for God to bless the meal

            Do we believe that prayer makes a difference?

            Or maybe, better question:  Does prayer really make a differenc

Logically, we can talk ourselves out of praying:

            -God is in control of everything

            -God has a plan for the future

            -God has promised to make His will happen

            -Therefore, whether I pray or not, God’s will is guaranteed

                        -because God’s plan is going to happen no matter what I do


So often – we develop a good theory, that doesn’t actually work

            -when it is practiced

I understand the theory

            -but the stories of the Bible tell us differently

            -If you ever wondered whether God hears prayer

                        -look at the story of Hezekiah (2 Kings 20)

                        -who received a gift from a prayer

                                    -and it was a gift that he didn’t even request in prayer 

Sermon Body:

Movement 1:  *God delivers His word.

Story of Isaiah telling Hezekiah of his imminent death

            Isaiah brings a word from the Lord

                        -that Hezekiah, who is ill, is going to die

            Question:  What is the point of such a message

                        -Why didn’t God just let him die

                        -after all, God didn’t owe Hezekiah that message

                                    -furthermore – there was no way this was an encouraging message

                                    -that it was going to get worse

                        Isaiah gives a clue as to why God brought this message

                                    -get your house in order

                                    -the first meaning – get things lined up for succession of the king

                                    -which son will take the throne – because it is no longer yours

                                    But that message could have many meanings

-people at time of death feel emboldened to say things they would not normally say – which can be a blessing

-it could even be a call to repentance

-to know you face death makes you think seriously about your walk with God

            Whatever God’s reason for bringing His word

                        -He brought it to illicit a response from Hezekiah

                        -to cause Hezekiah to turn to Him

            That’s why God brings His word

                        -He wants His people to turn to Him in prayer

*God's word beckons a response from His people.

God wants you to walk with Him

            -to be in a relationship with Him

                        -talking, obeying, seeing His plans unfold, aware of His presence

                        -He wants your life to revolve around Him

            Bible speaks of Enoch – walked with God – and that was right

            God calls Abraham – walk with me

                        -He wants a response

His activity in your life today, is still intended to illicit a response of faith

-an acknowledgement


-like a child who will get a response, God will too

-through grace, through punishment

-He calls people to Himself

-Greatest way to respond - prayer

Turning to Him, talking with Him

-corporate worship, service, singing - all good

-draw our minds to Him

-but prayer we speak to Him

Movement 2:  *God responds to prayer.

Story of Hezekiah's prayer and God's response

-adding 15 years to his life

-Isaiah went back to tell Hezekiah

            -notice – this is not what Hezekiah asked for

            -the point was not that Hezekiah was skilled in prayer

                        -but that He turned to God in prayer – talked to God

As a result of Hezekiah’s prayer

            -God changed His immediate plans

            -and granted Hezekiah a blessing – 15 more years of life

Prayer is effective

            -God hear Hezekiah and responded

*God can respond to our prayers without changing His will.

            Some will ask – did God change His will

                        -if He did – is He really all-powerful and all-knowing

-God's will - to save His people.

-what changed by Hezekiah's life being lengthened?

-Israel still fell, Christ still came

-life extended, God's grace evident

            God’s people are still saved by His grace

                        -the process may have been altered – but the plan is intact

Movement 3:  *God proves His power.

            -Hezekiah asked God for a sign – to prove this would happen

            -a bold request

                        -but in God’s presence – we can make bold requests

                        -furthermore – not so much questioning God as Isaiah

                                    -although we do not doubt God, we should be wise in trusting His                                                    messengers

God brings the shadow back ten steps.

            -and granted Hezekiah his proof

            -proving His power

*God's response to prayers strengthens the faith of His people.

            -God’s response strengthened Hezekiah’s faith

            -which is why God answers prayer

            -to reassure, show us Himself

            -He wants to bring the fullness of His Kingdom

                        -but it is done through faith – building faith in you and me 

Action Steps:

Dare to pray

            -dare to seek God in prayer

            -let his response build your faith

                        -and reassure you of His power

Don’t do it – as a free-for-all grab

            -Pray that you will get to know Him

            -that you will see the evidence of His grace

            -that you will know the assurance of His love

Piece of advice

            -slow down in your prayers

Illustration – child who asks for so many things, she forgets what she asked for

This summer can we – go swimming, play softball, go to the lake, go camping, go to the mall, go to Cedar Point – mom says yes

                        -two weeks into summer, same girl invited over to a friend’s house

                                    -mom says no, going to the lake tomorrow

                                    -girl erupts, I never get what I want

                                                -when in fact, she had asked for the lake

            Do our prayers go up so fast and furiously that we do not see the answers?

            Slow down, focus on fewer prayers, ask God to see His answers.

 God wants to hear your prayers, and God is ready to respond


It is disheartening to be ignored

            -children will act up – rather be punished than ignored

            -spouses will instigate arguments – rather than be pushed aside

            -employers who are not pleased with their employees

                        -will fire the employee – putting them out of their presence

                                    -and in essence, resolving to ignore them

God does not want to be ignored either

            He wants you to pray

Does prayer make a difference?

            I can undoubtedly say yes

                        -but that answer needs explanation

Does not mean – you get whatever you want

Does not mean – life will be easy if you pray

However – God does listen

God does watch over us

He will make His promises come true

He will even change the details of the process to answer prayers

            -so that He will be glorified

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