You know the Christmas story, but have you ever stopped to listen in on the Christmas conversations?

Despite many years of praying for a child, Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth had given up hope. But everything changed when Zechariah had a conversation at the altar of incense in the temple.

Scripture likens our prayer to incense. “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!” (Psalm 141:2). The ascending “smoke of the incence, with the prayers of the saints” confirms that God really does hear our prayers (Revelation 8:3-4).

Even though Zechariah could smell the aroma, he could only see the smoke hit the ceiling. 

What prayer feels like it’s hitting the ceiling for you?

Standing next to the altar of incense, the angel of the Lord said, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard” (Luke 1:13). Apparently, when God is silent for a long time, he is still listening. 

So you’ve been praying about something for years and years with no apparent answer in sight. What if “your prayer has been heard”? How is that a game-changer for you?

You may be like Zechariah and think, “But how can I be sure of this?” (Luke 1:18). Perhaps God is saying to you, “be silent,” your prayers “will be fulfilled in their time” (Luke 1:20). 

Is it time for you to rest in his goodness over this prayer request? God’s grace manifests in quiet trust. 

Even though Zechariah was unable to speak, people knew something happened to him. “He kept making signs to them and remained mute” (Luke 1:20-22). While you silently wait for God to fulfill your prayer, what “sign” can you make to encourage you?

(PRAY) “Lord, please lift my eyes beyond the answer I’m desperately seeking. This Christmas, when I see images of the babe in the manger, remind me to quietly rest in your presence, trusting in your fulfillment and timing. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.”