IDOP 2007: Hezekiah's Pattern for Praying
Date: October 31, 2007
When Sennacherib the king of Assyria invaded Judea (2 Kings 18&19)
he sent a letter to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem, boasting that the
Assyrian army was invincible and asserting that the God of Israel
was no god at all. Hezekiah took the threatening letter into the
temple, 'spread it out before the Lord' and prayed: 'O Lord, God of
Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all
the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give
ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see . . . Now, O
Lord our God, deliver us . . . so that all kingdoms on earth may
know that you alone, O Lord, are God.' (2 Kings 19:15-19 NIV).
The Lord answered Hezekiah's prayer through the prophet Isaiah,
assuring Hezekiah he knew of Sennacherib's belligerence, boastings
and blasphemies and reminding him that God is sovereign, righteous,
just and faithful. Finally God promised to defend and save the city
for his own sake, and the sake of his servant David.
Today there are many 'Sennacheribs' in the world -- people who rage
against, repress, persecute, terrorise and threaten God's people.
They are bold for the same reasons as Sennacherib -- they wrongly
believe they are invincible and that our God is no god at all.
Today multitudes of Christians are persecuted, besieged, terrorised
and threatened. This may be due to external forces (like
Sennacherib) or else by repressive dictatorship or religious
intolerance or racism at a state or local level.
On the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
(Sunday 11 November), the Church, united as one body with Christ as
our Head, stands before the Almighty God to intercede as Hezekiah
did for the persecuted, besieged, terrorised and threatened Church
and for the honour, glory and praise of the Lord our God.
A PRAYER FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH -- based on Hezekiah's prayer
It is true, O Lord, that Islamic fundamentalists and militants are
struggling for Islamic ascendancy and seeking the subjugation and
even annihilation of the Church where they have control or exert
influence. Therefore Christians living in increasingly radicalised
or Islamised Muslim communities are suffering unprecedented
repression, persecution and threat.
It is true, O Lord, that totalitarian religious and political
dictators, threatened by the increasing openness of the age, are
repressing all opposition and anything else that threatens the
status quo as they fight for their survival against all odds.
Therefore Christians living under such regimes are systematically
harassed, intimidated, persecuted, beaten, imprisoned and killed.
It is true, O Lord, that in newly independent nations and emerging
democracies religion is being increasingly exploited by the
politically ambitious. Therefore Christian minorities are coming
under attack from traditionalists as well as Muslim, Buddhist and
Hindu nationalist militants and even neighbours incited to fear and
O Lord, while we pray for protection and deliverance, also be at
work in us, purifying, sanctifying and unifying your Church.