“And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, ‘Pray now to the Lord our God for us.'”
Zedekiah was an ungodly king who refused to heed the word of the Lord, and continued to lead Judah down the road of destruction. Instead of following the word of God, he followed the dictates of his own heart. Instead of listening to the prophet, he surrounded himself with counsellors who gave no regard to the things of God, and even attempted to silence Jeremiah for declaring God’s word. I find it interesting that a man who seems to care very little about God, petitions the prophet to pray for him and the nation. On the one hand, this could be a positive thing. Prayer is the way we access God and begin a relationship with Him. John explained, it is by receiving Christ through faith that we become a child of God. The problem with Zedekiah is, he was not praying to confess his wrong and commit his life to the Lord, but saw prayer as a means of fixing his problems, without ever making any changes to his life.
This is a pretty common practice. We think of prayer as a magic force that will make everything better. However, prayer is actually a means of communicating with God, who in turn, communicates back through the pages of His Word. How many times have we heard politicians or celebrities asking us to pray in the difficult seasons of life? Whenever tragedy hits a nation, people call out for prayer. The problem is, they see prayer as the ‘easy button’ that will fix everything, instead of seeing prayer as the way to start a relationship with God, who will give us instruction that will in fact fix the problem.
In Jeremiah’s case, as soon as the problem was solved, Zedekiah once again returned to his old ways, and even had Jeremiah put in prison for his message. I think we need to realize, prayer alone is not the answer. Asking God to fix our life is just the first step, we must move on to surrendering ourselves to Him, and live in accordance with His word.