The angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord… He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
In Luke’s passage relating to Gabriel’s announcement of the imminent birth of John (later to be called “the Baptist”) to the aging Zachariah, the angel delivers some long-awaited good news. He would not only have a son but one who would commence the deliverance of Israel away from Rome and into the arms of God.
In short, despite his initial disbelief, Zacariah’s prayers were answered near the end of his life, and with results far greater than he could have ever imagined.
How many times have we prayed for positive outcomes to our problems, but either they never occur or if they do the results maybe far different than we expect. Although on a far smaller and less dramatic scale, my wife and I recently experienced such an event this fall when our oldest grandson started college. He had the good grades and leadership qualities which led to substantial scholarship at a large southwestern university. Following a rough start with knee surgery and rehabilitation, he got a late but successful start in his initial college career. The great news to us (and his parents) was shat came next. Instead of taking the time away from home to party, and possibly join a Greek group and have good time, Joe selected a spiritual route! He started attending an Episcopalian church, going to Bible studies and began volunteering in the soup kitchen. This showed us that Joe was more than brains, brawn, and personality; he had a strong moral fiber that we continue to pray will sustain him through life. For us this constituted a great answer to prayer in the latter part of our lives.
Thank you for the answers to our prayers and help us to pray unceasingly, knowing that you will provide the answers to answers to our prayers. Help us to realize the many blessings you’ve already bestowed upon us. Amen