READ: Isaiah 38-39
THINK: What difference does prayer make? Does it really matter to God what we ask or desire? Can talking to Him change situations or do any good for others? Does the time we spend with Jesus have any significant effect on how He works out His perfect plan? The fact is that God values our conversations with Him more than we ever could, and He chooses to work through our prayers. It's not as if we can force God to change His plans or cause Him to do things He doesn't want to do. Rather, our prayers allow us to understand God's desires and align with His plans. Through prayer, we partner with God and participate in His purposes. He gives us a real role in setting our course of action, determining the outcome of situations and fulfilling His plans. In a world that's going it's own way and defying God's intentions, God responds to those who share His desires. Prayer really can change things.
RESPOND: Considering God's statement that Hezekiah was to prepare for death and Hezekiah's response in prayer to God (v. 2), what important implications and lessons can we learn about prayer in regard to our relationship with God? (See 38:5 note.) What effects can our prayers have on the way God carries out His plans? (See 38:5 note, subpoint 2.) How can our willingness to change affect God's plans and our prayers? (See 38:5 note, subpoint 2.) How did Hezekiah respond to God's gracious answer to prayer (38:17-20), and how is this an example to you? In what way does it seem that Hezekiah showed a lack of wisdom and discretion in what he showed the Babylonian envoys (39:2-6)? What would the Babylonians later do to Jerusalem and it's inhabitants (39:5-7)? Why would this happen to the nation of Judah? (See 39:6 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you grow in humility and sensitivity to His Spirit, so your prayers align with His purposes and you're always ready to make the changes He desires. Praise God for a recent blessing or answer to prayer.
ACT: Remain in a prayerful attitude throughout the day, talking to God when you can, but listening all the time. Pray for any and all situations that come to mind involving you or others. Pray that God's plans be accomplished in His ways and that He uses you in any way He chooses as part of the answers to your prayers. Be ready to take bold and compassionate action as God guides.
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