Luke 1:13 :
But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zacharias, because your request has been heard, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
When a righteous angel brings a message to a person who is favored of God, the first thing the angel usually says is “Don’t be afraid.” Angels that come from God’s presence are so glorious that they strike people with fear. This makes sense because we are imperfect humans with so much to be ashamed about. When we experience something so perfect, it becomes obvious that that we are very imperfect. It actually makes us ashamed and in fear of punishment, but punishment was not what God had in mind.
In fact, God was answering a prayer! That is a spectacular way to be answered for sure. Zacharias and Elizabeth had been praying to God for a child even though they were old and God was planning to give them a very special son. In fact, this child was to become the greatest man ever born up to that time. He was to be the last of the Old Testament prophets and was to be given the honor of bringing the nation’s attention to their Messiah. Jesus was later to claim that there was no one greater than John and as we read we will see at least part of why Jesus said this.
An important lesson we can take from this verse is that God honors prayer and sometimes requires that we wait for a very long time before He gives us a great gift. We may even have to suffer as this couple had to as they waited for a child. This verse also tells us that God has a plan. God had planned that John would be born because it was predicted in the Old Testament. It’s hard not to see the parallel between Abraham and Sarah and Zacharias and Elizabeth. Both had to suffer before they were given children, and both became the father’s of very important and influential children that were to change the world.
I want to encourage you to not give up praying. God put the desire for a child into the heart of Zacharias and Elizabeth. God has put good desires in all of us. Keep praying and don’t give up. God may make a clear answer of “No” someday but until then, this verse would indicate that persevering in prayer would be the best thing to do.