Imagine you were to hear this from the Lord, from an angel or a man of God.
Would it not be a reason for abundant joy?
Speak the line below aloud with love and grace to yourself.
Your prayer is heard, (speak your name).
Speak this line below once again aloud with loving kindness to yourself.
Your prayer is heard, (speak your name). Your prayer is not forgotten. Although it’s been a long time since you prayed, it is going to be answered.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.” ( LUKE 1:13-14 NKJV)
Here, the angel Gabriel was speaking.
The angel who stands in the presence of God is his identity statement.
Angel Gabriel is often seen with the job description of bringing good news.
Here, Gabriel brings good news to a priest called Zachariah.
Zacharia and his wife Elizabeth had been praying for a child for a long time. But they had grown much older since they started praying this prayer.
Probably they became weary of praying, they could even have stopped praying. Like some of us they may have thought, this was a prayer the Lord was not keen on answering.
But at this unique time, when it was Zechariah’s time to minister to God, in burning the incense to God in the temple, the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharia and said, “Your prayer is heard”.
Gabriel came with an answer to a prayer Zacharia had prayed for a long time. But sometimes, even when the greatest desire is about to be answered, we are greatly surprised, we are even shocked. Having given up on the prayer, disbelief had better hold of Zachariah.
And often, many of us do not get the great privilege of seeing angels. Only a few people get to see the heavenly realm. The heavenly realm is seen by some, but many are not expecting to see it. Here we know that Zachariah was privileged to see it. So a kind of fear, holy fear was upon Zachariah as he saw Angel Gabriel probably for the first time.
The angel told Zachariah not to fear. His specific message was that Zacharia would have a baby. The child would be a son. He was to be named John.
The angel went much much much beyond the gender reveal. The angel gave a name, a name which was tied to the purpose and objective of life of the child.
John is from the Hebrew name derived from “Yohannan” meaning
“God Remembers His Oath”
Zachariah means “God Remembers” ( Zakar – to remember, yah – Yahweh (God)
Elizabeth means “Oath of God” ( El – God, Sheva – oath)
You see the name which God gave through the angel carried the very essence of God’s plan and purpose of John the Baptist.
Although the prayer was delayed, here are the great purposes that God had for the baby, born in answer to a prayer.
God may sometimes delay the answers to prayer, but yet the answer to prayer is superior. Beyond doubt, it was exceedingly above and beyond what was desired.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV)
Thus Zechariah and Elizabeth received – not just a baby. A baby who would be the forerunner to the Lord and Savior Jesus.
You can read some of the aspects that Gabriel told Zachariah about the child to be born – nine months or more later.
1. The parents of the child will have joy and gladness from the child.
2. The child will be great in God’s eyes neither drinking wine nor any liquor
3. The child will be filled with the Holy Spirit before he is born when he is still in his mother’s womb.
4. He will be the reason for many to come closer to God.
5. He will go before the Lord in the spirit of Elijah, making fathers compassionate to their children and the disobedient children once again to the knowing of their father God, Yahoo.
6. John would make a people prepared for the coming of the Lord.
Can you imagine how excited father to be in 10 months – Zachariach would be?
To get an answer to a prayer long forgotten.
To get an answer to a prayer one had stopped praying.
Zachariah received not only a prayer answered, but also a child with a great prophecy. The six points which we read just now along with the great gift of a child.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV)
Zachariah’s disbelief led the angel to mute him for probably more than 10 months until the decision was made that the newborn would be named John. Thus fully aligning with the angel’s instructions.
The angel knew very well that with all the reason and logic including both husband and wife being on the wrong side of age generally associated with bearing a child, Zachariah would speak his unbelief. And the statements of unbelief of Zachariah would probably influence his wife as well.
Be wise. Be careful. Do not speak unbelief, even to your spouse or your sibling.
When the Lord shows a specific sign, be cautious not to bring a hindrance of speaking wrongly. The angel muting Zachariah would definitely have a great reason. It would not be a casual decision. Our Lord God would have directed this plan of action for his near and dear ones whom he definitely wants to be blessed with answered prayers.
God had planned and set everything in place in perfect timing.
When Zachariah’s child was six months in the womb, angel Gabriel was on another assignment. This time he was asked by God to visit Elizabeth who was a virgin. She knew the God of the scriptures, she had found favor with God, God was with her, and she was blessed among women. The angel of God had told all these about her. She had not prayed for a child. Yet God had chosen her and Gabriel came to her to announce that she would conceive and give birth to a son who was to be called Jesus.
Mary was curious to know how this could be as she had not known a man. Then the angel told that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of God would overshadow her and the Holy One to be born will be the Son of God.
There was no precedence for all this. So Gabriel encourages Mary with the testimony of her relative who was barren, but had conceived and was in her sixth month.
Angel Gabriel made a very famous statement.
For with God, nothing will be impossible. (Luke 1:37 NKJV)
The beautiful posture of Mary’s heart, her attitude, and her submission are resplendent in her response to the angel Gabriel.
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.(Luke 1:38 NKJV)
One matter to be remembered, Mary had not prayed for a child. She was not even married. But she was chosen. Her knowing the God in the scriptures and the attitude of her heart had pleased God into choosing her.
Big breakthroughs and blessings need not come your way only through prayer for yourself. A life that pleases God and her being a diligent student of the scriptures mattered. As one reads the Word and encounters the Lord, we get to experience the Glory of God.
Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NKJV)
We often read Mary pondered. She pondered on what the angel told her. She later pondered what the shepherds who came to see infant Jesus told her. This points to that she was probably the type that pondered on the scriptures day and night. We read in Psalms 1:2-3 NKJV the blessings of a person who meditates/ponders on what God says.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law, he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
Elizabeth, who was too old to bear a child and was barren but by the miraculous work of God was now six months pregnant was not in the right place to be encouraged by what was happening to Elizabeth.
We can see how everything was so perfectly timed for Mary. Mary chose to immediately leave her home and go to the hill country where her relative Elizabeth was staying. She then stayed with Elizabeth for three months and helped her throughout the three months of her stay with her.
God bless you with breakthroughs in the prayers you stopped praying.
God bless you even when you have not prayed specifically for any blessing.
May you know the Lord God of the Bible and meditate on it day and night. May Him make your paths straight, so that God’s plans and purposes for your life come to pass.
My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them And health to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:2–24 NKJV)
Like Mary who told Gabriel, Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38 NKJV), we should choose to trust in God.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NKJV)