“Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled and fear fell upon him. 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. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children’, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (NKJV)
Last week we looked at how God remembered His promises to Zechariah and Elizabeth, and sent them good news while Zechariah worshipped in the Holy Place. As Zechariah stopped focusing on the problem and offered the incense of worship, he entered a place of breakthrough. It was accessed through the gateway of praise!
This message is for all you precious people of God who have prayed patiently and persistently and are yet to see the answer to your prayers. You are on the brink of a breakthrough!
We do not know how long Elizabeth and Zacharias prayed for a child, but it was probably a very long time. In Bible times, people normally married at a very young age, especially the girls, who were usually “married off” at 12 or 13. Verse 7 says that “they were both well advanced in years”, so they may have been well into middle age at this time. These people of God had prayed for a child for many years. It is only natural that they were probably very disappointed with how things had panned out, especially in the spiritual and cultural context of the time, when the absence of children was often generally seen as the result of a curse or sin.
It is possible that you are someone who has been praying for a miracle for a while, and you feel like you have believed and waited a long time. Perhaps you feel like God has let you down. Each time you start to pray about it, your heart is filled with a big “why” and you feel “hurt” with God because you feel like He has not regarded your requests. This is not the pathway to a miracle, dear friend. Here is what I am learning to do:
1) Begin to thank God for everything He has done for you. Focus on His goodness and the times your prayers have seen answers. As Zechariah walked through the outer courts of the temple with the incense in his hands, his heart was lifted up in praise. (“Come into His courts with thanksgiving and His gates with praise” – Psalm 100:4). Zechariah took his eyes off himself and focused on the greatness and beauty of the Lord. It is easy to be filled with self pity, disappointment and sadness, especially when we look around and see other people experiencing victory and blessing in their lives, in the very area we are seeking a breakthrough. Let your eyes look back at the goodness, mercy and love of Jesus! You will begin to see things in a new light.
2) Thank and praise Him for the progress you have seen, or the guidance you have received in relation to the miracle you have been praying for. If you looked back to the time you first began to pray, you would see that there was much you learnt and ways God showed you that He is doing something behind the scenes. Praying, waiting and seeking has given you a depth of character you did not have before. It has heightened your hunger for the Word, and your need for the Presence. It has made you more sensitive to the voice of the Father. God has been maturing you, and teaching you about faith, because it takes faith to wait. As Zechariah changed his focus from “poor me” to “You are awesome and glorious, Almighty God”, he truly began to see the goodness of God, and that God was aligning things in His favor in the spiritual dimension.
3) Do not fear. Zechariah was afraid when he saw the angel Gabriel in the Holy Place. He had almost forgotten that his worship was being given to the Supernatural One, the King of Glory, and that Heaven moves when there is true worship. The angel told him not to be afraid because everything in the spiritual dimension is accessed by faith, and fear destroys faith. It could also be that he had come to a point where he feared that his prayers would not be answered. It is hard to pray when your mouth is filled with the taste of disappointment, but this is a spirit of doubt and unbelief, and if you let it get a hold of you, you will never see the manifestation of your miracle.
4) If you feel that you have already prayed everything that can be prayed, you could ask the Holy Spirit for help. At this stage, I usually simply pray in tongues, as I say “Holy Spirit, would you pray through me for this to become a reality”? I believe He does!
5) It could be that you are asking for what you already have. Jesus died to give you a heavenly mindset, which is access to all the limitless abundance of Heaven. However, until you think from that ‘heaven’ place where He rules and reigns, you will not see all the good things piled up in His riches in glory! We need the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), the renewed mind.
6) Know that Daddy hears every prayer that is prayed. You may have come to a point where you doubt whether God hears you, because you feel like you have been a lone voice crying out in the wilderness. Be assured that every prayer reaches the throne room, and they are good seed you are sowing, filling up the spiritual clouds to be poured back out as blessing upon the face of the earth. The angel said to Zechariah: “Your prayer is heard”.
7) Exceedingly abundantly – God plans to give you even more than what you expected! “Exceedingly abundantly more than what you ask or imagine – that is what Daddy is giving you! (Ephesians 3:20) Zechariah and Elizabeth had asked God for a baby. God gave them a child with a powerful, prophetic destiny and a priestly calling. They were told that he would be “great in the sight of the Lord” and would be “filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” He was born to prepare the way for the Messiah, and to bring back the lost sheep of Israel to their God. He was to be a man of fire and power, an Elijah in his generation.
8) There is usually a Kingdom reason for answered prayer, but Daddy loves to make His kids happy, just like any earthly father would. Gabriel said to Zechariah and Elizabeth: “You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth”. Know that He wants to do this thing for you. He wants to put a big smile on your face and laughter in your heart!
9) Press in, lean in to the Father heart of God. Stay in expectation and anticipation. Plan for when you receive your miracle. The answer to your prayer is on its way!
Friend, this is the secret to your breakthrough. Lay down every sense of offence in your heart against Father God, and praise Him for all that He is and all He has done. As you enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, you step into another dimension. It is a powerful place of praise. It is the portal to breakthrough! Whatever you have been praying for, may it be done for you today, in the mighty and powerful name of Jesus, Amen!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 27 June 2011