For years—decades even—Zachariah and Elizabeth had prayed for a child. Many a month came and went, and disappointment upon disappointment mounted as the years passed. But they continued to pray and hope. Every month the anticipation would rise, then fall when the sign of an empty womb would show up again… until finally, it quit showing up all together. Then all hope was gone. All anticipation was gone. Dreams… gone.
Elizabeth had passed the age of childbearing. Her dream of bearing her husband a son was gone for good. She wasn’t sure which was worse, the roller coaster of monthly anticipation followed by devastation, or the finality of knowing she would never bear a child. At least now they knew, and they could stop asking for this, their deepest desire. They could move on and help others care for their families… maybe even take some of the neighborhood children under their wings and help disciple them. That would have to be enough for them. And surely it was enough for them.
But then… after the hope of having a child of their own was long gone… an angel shows up and has the audacity to say to Zachariah, “Your prayer has been heard…” Zachariah must have thought, “Prayer? What prayer? I can’t even remember the last time I prayed for a child! It has been so long since that was even a possibility, Elizabeth and I have resigned ourselves to the fact that parenthood was never in God’s plan for us.”
Yet the angel acts as if Zachariah and Elizabeth had just prayed this morning that the Lord would bless them with a son. Does he not know about a woman’s body? Does he not know that there is a time limit on childbearing years? Does he not know that at a certain age, a woman’s womb shrivels up, never to see the possibility of nurturing life again?
Or could it be that in heaven, there is no boundary of time? Maybe those prayers that Zachariah and Elizabeth prayed all those years ago are still fresh in the ears of God. Maybe they are as full of life and hope and anticipation as they were the moment they left their lips! And what’s a shriveled up womb to God?! He is the life-giver! He is the One who breathed life into Adam—a lump of clay. He is the one who can also bring life from a dead womb.
That prayer you’ve been praying day after day, month after month, maybe even for decades… it’s as fresh in the ears of God as it was the moment it left your lips for the very first time. God’s answer may not look like what you imagined when you first made your request. I’m sure Elizabeth didn’t picture herself being an elderly momma. But your prayers are not bound by time and space because your God is not bound by time and space. So don’t give up praying—just trust that God hears, and He answers. Think outside the box and give God the freedom to answer your prayers however He chooses. Then watch and wait and hope. Those prayers you prayed so long ago… they are still fresh in the ears of God.