Sometimes you ‘ve just got to lay it all out there.
I’ve always loved finding a story in the Bible that startles me and makes me say to myself, “Why haven’t I ever heard that before?”. Sometimes I think with all the years I’ve spent in church and all the Bible studies I’ve done, I must have come across every story.
And then God surprises me. Hidden in the 19th chapter of 2 Kings, I found one of those stories.
King Hezekiah had just received a very unpleasant letter from Sennacherib, the enemy King of Assyria. He told Hezekiah that his God couldn’t be trusted. Sennacherib said he’d destroy Israel just like he had destroyed other kingdoms. Their gods didn’t protect them and Hezekiah’s God wouldn’t deliver him either.
Just a little bit threatening, wouldn’t you say?
So what did Hezekiah do? He didn’t wring his hands and worry about how to respond.
“Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord.”
2 Kings 19:14.
I stopped in the passage after reading that. And I wondered how much more powerful my prayers could be if sometimes I could take the actual thing that I’m praying about and literally spread it out before God. It’s a tangible act of submission and faith.
After spreading out that letter before God, Hezekiah worshiped and prayed and gave glory to God. And a little while later 185,000 Assyrians were dead at the hands of the angel of the Lord.
Shouldn’t we be doing the same thing?
What if instead of just praying about it, I spread out the certified letter I got from my insurance company notifying me that a neighbor is wrongfully accusing me of damage to her property? What if I spread out pictures of the people I’m praying for as I pray?
What if we spread out bank statements and doctor’s reports and any other things that threaten to destroy us? What if we said, “Here they are, Lord. I need your guidance and wisdom and intervention.”
Praying is powerful on its own. But could it be more powerful if we literally handed over these things to the Lord, just like Hezekiah did?
I think I need to clean off the area of the dining room table where I have my prayer times. I need room to spread out.
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; Philippians 4:6