Theology of Prayer: Scriptural Support (Part 12: Isaiah)

Isaiah 1 describes the Lord refusing to hear the prayers of Judah. The vision of Isaiah shows the Lord’s disgust with Judah, who were no different then Sodom and Gommorah. They would spread out their hands in prayer and offer many prayers, but the Lord refused to look at them or hear them, because they are not righteous. As we have seen before, prayer and righteousness go together.

Isaiah 16 describes the Lord’s judgment upon the people of Moab. For their atrocious deeds, he would punish them. The last comment of his judgment tells how the Moabites would pray but to no avail. Prayer in judgment not unto the Lord accomplishes nothing.

Prayer is mentioned in Is 26. The people came to the Lord, barely able to whisper a prayer. It seems prayer was expected to be quite audible, so that whispering was less desirable. It could just be the preference of the author.

Isaiah 37 has several facets of prayer. Hezekiah asks Isaiah to pray for the remnant of Judah. Hezekiah prays to the Lord with a letter he received. Here is something new. Hezekiah physically included the letter as though he was showing it to the Lord. In this prayer, Hezekiah acknowledged or declared, rather, that God is above all kingdoms and is the creator of all things. He asked God to hear him and see him, and he asked God to read the letter! In the end, after stating the facts of the dire situation, he asks for deliverance for the people, with the purpose or result that the kingdoms of the earth might know the Lord to be the only God. Isaiah reported to Hezekiah that his prayer was heard, and the Lord declared he would deliver Jerusalem. Here we see prayer as both declaration and request, but we also see that it could involve tangible items and is not limited to words alone.

In Is 38, Hezekiah received word through Isaiah that he would turn fatally ill. He prayed to the Lord and, without asking for healing, declared, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes,” weeping bitterly. In turn, the Lord spoke to Hezekiah through Isaiah, saying, “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.” It turns out that Hezekiah did ask for healing. He frankly described his situation as though he was being robbed of the rest of his years. Yet, he asked the Lord for help. Then he contemplated the fact that it was the Lord who afflicted him, and it was the Lord who healed him. And, so, he praised the Lord. Prayer here is contemplative, request, reminder; prayer can be done with weeping.

The Lord mocks idol worshippers, as Is 44 tells, because the idol crafter fashions the idol by his own hands, and then prays to the idol for salvation. Prayer to idols is folly. The same is true in Is 45.

Isaiah 56 describes the Lord’s temple as a house of prayer, and it is intended as such for all nations.

Isaiah 63 has a prayer that is a response to the Lord’s statement of judgment and redemption. This prayer makes certain declarations and requests that the Lord return to them and no longer harden their hearts. Isaiah 64 continues this prayer, asking the Lord to look upon them when they pray, to let go of his anger towards them, and not to remember their sins forever. This prayer is declarative, praise, and request.