The Bible is full of examples, both good and bad. We should follow the good ones and avoid those which are negative. King Hezekiah provides us with a good example of prayer in 2 Kings 19:14-19.
Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, had mocked, ridiculed, and blasphemed God in the process of trying to intimidate Judah. Sennacherib was ready to bring his Assyrian army to defeat God’s people. He sent a letter to Hezekiah stating his intention and – once again – mocking God.
Because the danger was clear and present, Hezekiah did what a man of God does – he took the matter to the Lord in prayer.
Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD (verse 14). He took the actual letter written by Sennacherib with him when he went to pray, which indicates that he was serious and he meant business – he wasn’t playing around or going through the motions.
Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made the heaven and the earth” (verse 15).
The first thing Hezekiah did was praise God for who He is. He adored God, who is the creator, ruler, and sovereign King of heaven and earth. The true and living God is in complete and total control of all things. Human kings – including Sennacherib – come and go, but Yahweh does not!
“Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes and see; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into their fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them” (verses 16-18).
At this point in his prayer, it might look like Hezekiah was trying to inform God of the situation he and the nation of Judah faced, but he wasn’t. He was reminding himself of the situation, not the Lord. God is omniscient (all-knowing), therefore we don’t ever have to “fill Him in” on what’s happening at any given moment. God is also sovereign and knows with exhaustive knowledge what will happen and won’t happen because it’s part of His divine plan. We need to be reminded of the magnitude of what we’re asking God.
“Now, O LORD our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O LORD, are God” (verse 19).
Hezekiah made a specific request of God – a big one, but a request nonetheless – and he took note of the results of God doing what he’d asked.
These are all good things to remember as we go before the Lord in prayer.