Recently I was part of a short discussion around this question: “What if a doctor told you that you have only six months to live? What would you do?” The discussion involved answers that could mostly fall under two headings, tactical and relational. Tactical meaning get everything (insurance, memorial service, will, finances) in order. Relational meaning make the most of every day, do things you haven’t done, say things that need to be said, enjoy the rest of your days.
Let’s reframe the question a tad. What if God told you that you only have six months to live? What would you say? Not what would you do; what would you say? In other words, how would you respond in prayer.
This very message came to a king in the Bible. His name was Hezekiah. His story is told in two passages, 2 Kings 20 and Isaiah 38. Here are the first three verses of Isaiah 38:
“In those days Hezekiah became terminally ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Set your house in order, for you are about to die; you will not recover.’ ” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. He said, “Please, Lord, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what pleases you.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.” Isaiah 38:1-3 CSB
Hezekiah’s simple and confident response prayer is remarkable. Hezekiah didn’t offer a response of lament, of begging for his life, or of questioning God. He responded by asking just one thing-remember our relationship.
Hezekiah didn’t point out his position, his accomplishments, his family, or even his desire to live. His focused response was about his relationship with God.
In a “near death” state, you wouldn’t ask God to remember something that is either weak or anemic in order to trade or barter for life. You would offer something strong, vibrant, and full of life. What would you ask God to remember?
From Hezekiah’s response, we can adapt some truths to our prayer life (our responses to God) that apply, near death or not.
- You can pray with confidence when you know your relationship with God is active and alive.
- The status of your relationship with God determines the strength of your prayers.
- You can pray in simplicity when your relationship with God is deep, trusting, and honest.
- A strong relationship doesn’t require overdone conversation.
While we can ask God to remember, we have things to remember about him, also.
- Remember, God sees all, including your heart.
- Remember, God knows all, including your needs and wants.
- Remember, God controls all, including your situations and your future.
Your turn. You get this message, “You have six months to live.” What do you ask God to remember?