Your prayer has been heard.- Luke 1:13
Asking God to do something, then seeing nothing happen is a normal part of the Christian life. It's also confusing and painful at times, when the thing we are asking for seems to be completely reasonable.
Oftentimes, we pray a request prayer, and nothing happens. We pray again, we pray times ten; and still nothing. But since we know God is good, we persevere.
If we were to try to assemble a back-story on Zach and Liz, John B.'s parents, we can say that they probably prayed for a child, and those prayers remained unanswered, until the angel appeared to dad-to-be Zach when he was doing his priestly duties in the temple that day. The request they had made, probably decades earlier, was finally being granted. For good reason, they had probably given up, but God had not.
This story is very encouraging to me because we too, being human, can give up on things we cried out to God for. God is in the business of re-calling what we gave up on.
Our, "go take it all for God", faith; may now be fizzled to a tiny little, "maybe if", faith; or a faith that has given up.
Pastor David Guzik comments, "since he and Elizabeth were both well advanced in years (Luke 1:7), they had probably given up on this prayer a long time ago.
i. Sometimes we pray for something for a long, long time. We pray for the salvation of a spouse or a child. We pray for a calling or a ministry. We pray that God would bring that special person to us. But after years of heartfelt prayer, we give up out of discouragement. Zacharias and Elizabeth probably prayed years of passionate prayer for a son, but gave up a long time ago, and stopped believing God for so much anymore.
ii. When we are in that place, we sometimes begin – in the smallest of ways – to doubt the love and care of God for us. But God always loves, and His care never stops.
iii. Zacharias' reaction to the angel's promise was probably thinking, "I don't know what you are talking about. I didn't pray for a son. We're old, you know. I gave up on that prayer a long time ago. I'm praying for the salvation of Israel. I'm praying that God will send the promised Messiah." Zacharias didn't know that God would answer both prayers at once, and use his miracle baby to be a part of sending the Messiah!
iv. Zacharias had no idea that God would answer the two greatest desires of his heart at once. He had probably completely given up on the idea of being a dad; it was a hope that was crushed over the years of disappointment. But God hadn't given up on it, even though Zacharias and Elizabeth had."
Your prayers, that you gave up on praying, have been heard. -Luke 1:13