Isaiah's Prayer Answered
One of the most remarkable prayers of intercession recorded in the Bible is found in Isaiah 64, where the prophet calls upon the Lord, saying, 'Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence '“ As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil '“ To make your name known to your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at your presence!' (Isaiah 64:1-2 NASB).
The word 'rend' means to tear or to tear open. Isaiah was crying out to God that He would 'tear open' the heavens and show Himself to the world so that the world might see Him as Isaiah had seen Him! Isaiah's passion is seen in his expression, 'Oh.'
In this prayer for God to 'rend the heavens and come down', I believe that Isaiah was reflecting on a previous experience in his life, recorded in Isaiah 6:1-8, in which he had been caught up into heaven and received the commission and anointing for his life and prophetic ministry. He recalls it, saying, 'In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple' (Isaiah 6:1).
Isaiah continued in the following verses to describe his experience in God's presence. He spoke of angelic beings around the throne crying out, 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory' (verse 3). He spoke of the visible manifestation of God's glory. He described his sudden and overwhelming awareness of sin when he stood in the magnificent presence of the holiness of God. He thought he would surely die in such a holy place where he had suddenly found himself! But he also found grace there, and his sin was purged with holy fire. It was in this place that his life and destiny were forever changed. He would never be the same again!
Pay careful attention to what the angels were crying to one another. Notice, they did not say, 'Heaven is full of his glory.' Rather, they said, 'The earth is full of his glory.' This was a prophetic insight into a time that is coming, of which Scripture says, 'For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea' (Habakkuk 2:14).
When Isaiah prayed for God to rend the heavens and come down, he was asking for the fulfilment of the prophetic promise he had received in his vision many years earlier. He was saying in essence, 'Lord, if the earth is going to be filled with your glory, you must rend the heavens and come down!' Isaiah realised that this 'rending of the heavens' would be necessary for God to fulfil His plan for this world.
Many people still pray Isaiah's prayer for God to rend the heavens and come down, pleading despondently like a beggar dejectedly crying for a piece of bread. But my friends, the good news is that the prayer of Isaiah was answered 2,000 years ago! God truly did rend the heavens and came down through Jesus Christ. Could there be a more dramatic rending than the one that happened at Calvary?
God has rent the heavens and has come down. He has destroyed that ancient barrier between heaven and earth, and today all the riches and resources of God are available to the one who will take them by faith through prayer.
Hebrews 10:19-22 says: 'Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.'
God wants us to approach Him in prayer with assurance and confidence in His all-sufficient provision. Today we can march boldly into the presence of God with a pure conscience and a heart full of faith, knowing that God has already destroyed everything that stands between Him and us by the blood of Jesus Christ. He truly has given us the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.
That is the true message of Christmas! Isaiah's prayer was answered. The Lord came down. He became a man! He became one of us! He came in person '“ for you and for me. What wonderful truth!