At one point, when Assyria was threatening Jerusalem, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, realized he could not afford a long battle against Judah. In an effort to hasten their surrender, he sent an intimidating letter to king Hezekiah. In this letter, Sennacherib reminded Hezekiah that none of the gods of the other nations had been able to deliver them, and that the God of Judah would prove to be equally impotent (2 Kings 19:8-13).
Without hesitation, Hezekiah took the letter to the temple, spread it out before the Lord, and prayed to God. Surprisingly, the king did not pray for God to defend the nation as much as he prayed for God to act in defense of his own honor and glory (vs. 14-19).
The Lord answered Hezekiah’s prayer by sending his angel to kill 185,000 soldiers within the camp of the Assyrians. Sennacherib, who had boasted so confidently against the true and living God, returned to Nineveh in stunned defeat. Later, he was assassinated by his own sons while he was worshipping in the temple of his god (vs. 35-37). It turned out that Judah’s God was powerful enough to defend them, while Sennacherib’s god could not defend him in his own temple.
Hezekiah protected his nation from their enemy, not by his might, nor by his military strategy, nor by his ability to form powerful alliances with other nations, but by his trust in God and his reliance upon prayer (v. 20). Likewise, our victories are not the result of our might, abilities, or wisdom. They are the result of our prayers of faith. Like Hezekiah, let us always be willing to take the things that trouble us and “spread them out” before the Lord in prayer.