The Refreshing Story of a Humble, Prayerful National Leader

October 11, 2015

The two books of 1 and 2 Kings are filled with the accounts of leaders who did not obey God and the tragic results that occurred. Even the best kings didn't fully obey the Lord.

That's why the story of Hezekiah is so refreshing. It's beautiful to see a leader who is ""all in"" in his surrender to God. A leader who approaches the problems of the nation spiritually.

Hezekiah led Judah during a time when Israel had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians. And now, the leader of the Assyrians, Sennacharib, had come against Judah and the city of Jerusalem. 

He made his taunts, which had been effective before. But what he did not know is that he was an encountering a godly leader—one who would bring God into the equation.

Two things stand out in Hezekiah's leadership.


And when King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth and entered the house of the Lord. Then he sent Eliakim who was over the household with Shebna the scribe and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.

They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, ‘This day is a day of distress, rebuke, and rejection; for children have come to birth and there is no strength to deliver. Perhaps the Lord your God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the Lord your God has heard. Therefore, offer a prayer for the remnant that is left.’ ” (2 Kings 19:1-4)


This leader did not merely ask others to pray. His first step of defense was to lay it out before God and cry out Himself.

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.

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 heaven and earth. “Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, 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 the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them.

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.” (2 Kings 19:14-19)

Notice the pattern of his prayer (a great pattern for us). 

  • He begins with reminding himself in prayer that this was the ultimate God. This God is over every kingdom and both heaven and earth.
  • He asks God to hear His prayer.
  • He reminds God of the evil of his enemies and what they are doing to the world around him as they exalt false gods.
  • He prays for deliverance on the basis of God’s glory so that “the earth may know that You alone, O Lord, are God.” This prayer was not self-centered, but God-centered.


The outcome of this godly leadership? God heard, answered, and delivered. And Isaiah indicted to Hezekiah it was ""because you have prayed to Me…I have heard you."" (vs. 20)

If you want to lead well—in your life, your home, your work, your church—you must have the humility to defer to the Ultimate Leader. And you must pray. It must not be your last resort, but your first response. And your prayers should not be merely for self-preservation but always driven by a hunger to show the world the glory of God.

In so doing, you will find success and be a refreshment to those you are leading (in a world filled with the opposite.) You may even prove to be an encouragement to others for centuries to follow.

And during this election year, we must realize that the scenario is no different. We can either chose leaders who “do evil in the sight of the Lord” or those who humbly pray and bring God into the equation. The principles have not changed.

It’s time to cry out to the Lord of heaven and earth. It’s time to pray

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