A Prayer and Tears Change God’s Mind

Read: 2 Kings 20:1-19

Behold, I will heal you . . . and I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake. (vv. 5-6)

We all want a cure, don’t we? We cling to this life as if it’s all there is. I am all-too-human in my desire to avoid death. But Hezekiah’s tears and prayers sound an alarm to those of us determined to preserve life here at all costs—that’s because God answered Hezekiah’s pleas with 15 extra years that the king didn’t use well.

James’ words to the early church picked at the motives of the human heart: “Even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure” (James 4:3 NLT). Here is a case where God answered yes, then kept his promise for the sake of his own honor and promises to David, while Hezekiah invited dignitaries from Israel’s enemy, Babylon, to tour the palace, and bragged about all his treasures. He then responded to Isaiah’s prophesy about Babylon soon carrying off all those same treasures and making eunuchs out of some of his sons, by saying, “Oh, that’s good—at least it won’t happen to me!”

I am all too often like Hezekiah here, begging God with wrong motives. My first step is to recognize those motives, and repent before God. —Amy Clemens

As you pray, meditate on your own motives in prayer. Ask God to give you clarity and respond with thanksgiving to God’s gifts.

About the Author

amy clemens

With a bachelors in journalism from Texas Tech University and a masters from Western Theological Seminary, Amy Clemens enjoys all things writing, particularly about the life of faith. She is blessed with a family that includes husband Fred, five children, and five grandchildren.

Amy has just published her first book, "Walking When You'd Rather Fly: Meditations on Faith After the Fall," which weaves her journey from childhood abuse toward healing and spiritual growth with a practical theology for the big story of God. You can find out more about the book and author at walkingwhenyoudratherfly.com.