The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.
2 Chronicles 33:10-13 NIV
This passage of Scripture offers us a story of total turnaround. Manasseh, King of Judah, succeeded his God-following father on the throne at the tender age of 12. He departed from the faith of his forefathers, however, and committed terrible acts and led others to do the same (2 Chronicles 33:2,6,9).
Here the mercy of God comes into full view as we see the Lord listening to Manasseh’s rock-bottom prayer; when the circumstances of the king’s exile and prisoner abuse finally humbled him, Manasseh cried out to the Lord. The Lord moved with compassion, responding to his reverent submission, and saved Manasseh from his torturing enemies, bringing him back to his throne in Jerusalem.
They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.
Galatians 1:23-24 NIV
As shown by Manasseh’s life, God embraces humble prayers. The Scripture says that in Manasseh’s comeback, he knew God; he was humbly touched by the Lord’s mercy, compassion, graciousness, love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6), which restored Manasseh and completely redirected him for the rest of his life.
I wish unto your honour by dayly Prayer , the fruition of the Heavenly Paradise, craving of the Omnipotent and provident God, the guider of that gorgeous Garden, that he would vouchsafe to graunt unto you, the sweete savour of his chiefe fragrant flowers, that is, his comfort to cleave fast unto you, his mercy to keepe you, and his grace to guide you, nowe and evermore.~Yours honours most humble, Henry Dethicke— The Gardeners Labyrinth, 1586
This is what God does! He is in the business of blooming deserts (Isaiah 51:3), making the wastelands of hard hearts into the most treasured gardens of love and joyful, tender intimacy with him — “fruitions of the Heavenly Paradise.” He has the ability to turn sterile soil to fertile field; that is, to bring back a wanderer, someone understanding nothing of his character, to a vibrant garden display of his love and devotion (Galatians 1:23 – 24).
For the Lord will have compassion on Zion, have compassion on all her ruins. He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her deserts like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving, and the sound of singing. Sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isaiah 51:3 ISV
My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
James 5:19-20 NIV
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am humbled all the more at the effectiveness of prayer in this process (James 5:16 – 20)! Where I see no growing evidence of reverence for you, may I be inclined to pray more fervently, to bring wanderers back and to be certain that one day there will be thanksgiving and the sound of singing (Isaiah 51:3).
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen.
James 5:16 NCV
The Garden in Delight blog leads you deeper into prayer this holy season: As the garden wakes up in spring to the work of overturning soil, pulling up dead plants, and digging spots for new ones, so let us put those shovels, spades, and trowels to work as metaphor and Dig into Prayer. At its simplest, prayer is our conversation with God—everything from quiet pillow talk to heaving cry—conversations that will grow more deeply intimate as we get to know and cherish His Words. Let A Lenten Dig into Prayer bring you close to Him and prepare your heart over 7 weeks for a meaningful celebration of Christ’s resurrection.
The devotional essays of A Lenten Dig into Prayer were originally published in the “Garden Tools” section of God’s Word for Gardeners Bible under Prayer, ©2014 Shelley S. Cramm. See pages a-37 & a-38 to study by the Book.
©2018-2019 Shelley S. Cramm