Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.
How wonderful that God answered Zechariah’s prayers and gifted him and Elizabeth with a baby, a baby that would become the last prophet of the old testament.
When I was young, my older brothers and I were sliding on the icy driveway after dinner one Christmas Eve when I fell and hit my head. My brothers, being brothers, sent me inside. I was tired and found a place to take a nap. Earlier in the day, I had developed an elaborate plan to catch Santa Claus that involved thread and cookies. But did not remember any of this on Christmas morning because I had received a concussion the night before.
All that I know of that night are the memories and stories of others. Much of what I know and who I am has come from my faith and trust in others.
I was taught to pray as a child, and though I have witnessed the transformative power of prayer, I’ve also wondered where God is. God answers all prayers. I may not accept or realize they have been answered or appreciate the timing, but they are answered. And then there are times, as with Zecharia, where God bestows a tremendous blessing greater than I could have imagined.
I pray, Lord, that the faith you have in us is stronger than our doubt that can arise when prayers are perceived to go unanswered. Amen.