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It: Isaiah and Prayer

Written by Patti Greene

Frequently in this article, I will be referring to the word it. I will not be talking about it as in Information Technology or the abbreviation of Italy, but as the Middle English word used as a noun or pronoun that refers to a problem, decision, or challenge you are facing or have faced in the past. Examples of an it may possibly include handling your child’s alternative lifestyle, dealing with your spouse’s affair, or noticing false teachers or doctrine at your church.

For the sake of this article, all referrals to it will apply to any trepidation that should cause believers to call upon the Lord, just like the prophet Isaiah encountered.

Background

The book of Isaiah was written around 700-680 BC—more than 700 years before Jesus was born. This prophetic book was written for instruction to past, present, and future generations.

Isaiah came from a privileged family that provided a stellar education to him. His 40-year ministry began in Judah in the Southern Kingdom of the nation of Israel.

The nation of Israel consisted of two kingdoms—the Northern Kingdom known as Israel and the Southern Kingdom known as Judah.

Isaiah’s call to the ministry came through an intense revelation he received when worshiping the Lord. As a result of this vision, his life was transformed into a heartfelt full-time service to God, much like most pastors who are called into the ministry today have experienced. Isaiah yearned for the nation of Israel—both Northern and Southern Kingdoms—to return to their Lord, their God. Furthermore, he knew God needed someone to proclaim this essential pronouncement to the people. He heard and accepted the call to be that person.

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then, I said, “Here I am! send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

Isaiah ministered during the kingship of Uzziah, Jotham, Johoahaz I, and Hezekiah. During their reigns, political mayhem faced the Jewish people. Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom, and the restoration of Israel consumed Isaiah’s onerous ministry load.

American pastor and writer Warren Wiersbe states that Isaiah was confronted with many different concerns including Israel’s captivity, including prosperity (and lack thereof), and possible famine. The prophet held an unquenchable desire for holiness in God’s people while only seeing their lavish wickedness.

Conceivably, Isaiah’s calling in the day and time he was living caused his it—his despair!

In many instances, our it may be—just like Isaiah’s—a burden we do not know how to handle or a challenge we are facing.

As we capture the essence of Chapters 29 and 30, let’s unearth and follow the Biblical principles below to help us unruffle the difficulties we have in pursuing God’s will for our lives.

  1. When facing Your It, PRAY

Recently, when pondering my it, I prayed this prayer.

Help me, my heavenly Father! I think about it daily. I have been thinking about it not only for days, weeks, and months, but for years. I do not understand why or how I am supposed to think about it. I want to discern Your will and even if it is not Your will. Please make Your desires my desires—Your thoughts my thoughts. I do not care how You speak to me about it. Just speak. Please resolve any hindrances to being totally aligned to Your will. You may be using it as a springboard to refine my character. There is so much unknown about it. Help me, Lord!

Many of our prayers, such as mine above, are never made known to the “general public” or even to those closest to us. Sometimes, we cry out to God, and only God and ourselves know the depths of our concerns. And that’s okay!

Our lives should be structured insomuch that prayer comes first to our minds when seeking solutions to our problem, our it. Prayer is to be our first line of defense. Unfortunately, sometimes we get hung up when faced with how to pray and how to follow God’s commands in the Bible. Our distress, our challenge—our it—drags on, repeats itself, and even possibly returns after we think we have overcome it.

When our it consumes us and tries to destroy our close relationship with the Lord, we can pray for a miraculous sign and ask God for confirmation.

King Ahaz had a problem. He did not want to do business with God. When Judah’s water supply from the Euphrates River was reaching his limit, threatening to flood, Ahaz should have broken his alliance with the Assyrians and called for the nation of Israel to pray, but he didn’t. He continued in his unbelief and continued to trust in Assyria for help, not God.

In Isaiah 7:11, God spoke to Ahaz saying,

Ask for a confirming sign from the LORD your God. You can even ask for something miraculous. (Isaiah 7:13 NET)

While Ahaz refused a sign from God, we do not have to. When we face it, we can ask our heavenly Father to confirm His will and ask Him for a miraculous answer. When the nation of Israel was invaded by the Assyrians, it is a shame Ahaz didn’t depend upon God and prayer.

Now, let’s fast-forward to Isaiah 29.

  1. When Facing Your It, Seek the Truth

As a believer, we may originally be confused about our it and we may err, and stumble and we may question God. Nevertheless, it is always in our best interest to remember that we can know God’s truth if we “ask, seek, and knock” as is mentioned in the New Testament. When our it rears its head, let us seek His truth.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

King Ahaz’s problem was twofold. He did not want to listen to Isaiah’s prophetic voice, and he did not want to do business with God. His lack of proper leadership trickled down, making the Israelites and others living in the area apathetic toward the things of God.

Isaiah tried to present God’s light to the people of Israel, but they kept rejecting it—even disdaining his words. They did not care to understand God’s prophecies spoken through Isaiah, just like how people today who have not seen the light of Christ cannot comprehend the Bible or the things of God. People globally may “understand” the Bible from an intellectual or historical viewpoint, but not from a spiritual heart-and-soul vantage point.

God saw a nation disregarding their spiritual inheritance, but He reminds them that one day they will know the truth. The city of Jerusalem in the Southern Kingdom had watched the Northern Kingdom fall to the Assyrians, but this judgment did not bring them to repentance and Judah did eventually fall to Babylon in 586 BC.

We must keep praying and reading the Scriptures until God, in His compassionate and gracious manner, shows us the correct answer, method, or path to walk.

Your word is a lamp to walk by, and a light to illumine my path. (Psalm 119:105 NET)

  1. When Seeking Your It, Understand God’s Intentions

As we seek His answers and clarifications on it, we must navigate through the Word until we can affirm His intentions.

God’s intentions for us are numerous; however, some major intentions that our heavenly Father has toward us are that:

God’s intention, through His prophet Isaiah, was to protect both kingdoms—the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

In Isaiah 30, Judah, the Southern Kingdom, is admonished not to turn to Egypt for protection from Assyria. And Isaiah, following his call, exhorts the people to instead trust God.

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity [your it] and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.’ (Isaiah 30:20-21)

At this point, the Israelites should not have been expecting that God was going to hide from them anymore. Delivering them from evil, cleansing sin, and leading them into righteousness was His intention—as it is for us as well. But the people laughed and scoffed at Isaiah’s prophecies and continued turning their backs on God.

  1. When Seeking Your It, Trust God

Trusting God to show you the ways you must handle your it is imperative.

While the people in the Northern Kingdom did not listen to Isaiah and proceeded hurriedly into the arms and captivity of the Assyrians, we should not be in such a hurry, jumping ahead of God with our impatience.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

Foremost, knowing our salvation is secure, and knowing we are in the right relationship with God through the cleansing of our sins and our acceptance of Jesus Christ, we allow the Holy Spirit and His words to seep into our mind supernaturally. Our Lord wants to enlighten us through His Word, give us clarity in our thought, and forgive us when needed. Then, we must apply these truths in assisting us to show His light to others.

  1. When Facing Your It, Believe God Will Answer

We are impatient people. Wanting to know and understand everything God does only proves that position. Having confidence that He will show us what we need to know, however, is of utmost importance.

Certain things will remain a mystery to us—either forever or until a later time. Once we recognize that, we understand that His answer to our concerns, will be clarified by a Yes, No, or Not Yet answer. Any way He chooses to answer is His answer to us.

As I was pondering, praying, and reading the Word, seeking advice about my it, I read the following verse:

The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted. (Isaiah 30:26)

While Isaiah is speaking here of end times, God’s Word spoke supernaturally to me in the latter part of the verse.

His Spirit whispered, “I am binding up your wound and it will result in your healing. Though your dream has been shattered, the severe wound is healed. While the purpose of your it is still unknown to You, trust that it was put there by Me to grow you and to make you more like my son Jesus Christ.”

WOW!

  1. When Facing Your It, You Must Accept His Answer

As we face our daily walk with the Lord, He may choose to give us a blessing by saying “Yes” to our desires and prayers.

He may also choose to give us a “No” answer and wish for us to move on.

After college, I dated a young man who decided to break up with me and go back to his former girlfriend. I was devastated. To say I prayed hard for him to change his mind would be an understatement. Then, one day I pleaded with God to show me what His will was, and I was led to this Bible verse which proved to me, once and for all, that God cares enough to say ‘No” when “No” is needed.

From the sole of the foot even to the head
There is nothing sound in it,
Only bruises, welts and raw wounds,
Not pressed out or bandaged,
Nor softened with oil.

(Isaiah 1:6)

Now, that was definitely a “No!” That is God speaking supernaturally!

Lastly, He may choose to give us the answer “Not Yet.” In this case, we must move on, living in righteousness, and continuing our lives by honoring Him—all the while remembering the Lord is not on the same time schedule as we are. He may need time to work on our character, improve our service, or time to prepare us for the next big season we will encounter.

Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad, that I may reply to him who reproaches me. (Proverbs 27:11)

  1. Wrap Up

Throughout history, God honors the promise He gave to Abraham. He promised to make Abraham a father of a great people. In turn for their obedience, God would guide them and give them the land of Israel.

In the latter days, many Israelites will turn to the Lord and completely fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah.

Until that time, let us believe that Isaiah’s call to turn to God and live righteous and holy lives for His glory applies also to us today—Now!

Looking back to your it, why not pray, seek His truth, grasp His intentions, trust Him, believe in Him, and accept His answer?

Bible Verses:

I have called upon thee, for thou wilt answer me, O God: Incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. (Psalm 17:6 ASV)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23-24 ASV)

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. (1 John 5:14-15 ASV)

Prayer:

Dear Lord, as You called Isaiah into ministry, call me into ministry. Let me say, “Here I am! send me.” Use me for Your pleasure and for Your purposes, whatever they might be. I am not perfect by any means and You know that. Not only do I have an it, but I also have many its. Give me the courage to face my problems, decisions, and challenges. Guide me into Your truth. I trust Your leadings through the Word and circumstances as I make decisions. I know Your intention is to always answer my prayers. No matter how You choose to answer, let me understand that You always answer with my best interest in mind. I love you, Lord. You are my heavenly Father and I will continually and daily seek Your presence. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.

God Bless,

greenenpastures.org

Edited by E. Johnson

Works Cited

¹ Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament. Cook: Colorado Springs, 2002.

Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.

Photo: Isaiah. Wikipedia. 1904 Public Domain

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Patti Greene

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Books by Patti Greene – Order Below!

Christian Caregiving

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending

Devotional Prayer Journals

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer

 

 

About the author

Patti Greene

Patti Greene is the author of three outstanding devotional prayer journals, Answer Me, Anchor Me, and Awaken Me and a book titled "Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending." Patti earned a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and pursued graduate studies in religious education and library science spending two years as a second-grade teacher. After spending 12 years as a stay-at-home mom, Greene spent 18 more years as a school librarian in St. Louis, Missouri and Houston, Texas. When not writing books or blogs, Greene spends her time caregiving, reading, researching, and hanging out with her family and friends. Patti and her husband have three adult children and five grandchildren. Visit her blog at GreenePastures.org.

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