Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.
But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Luke 1: 11 – 17
Zechariah was taking his turn to serve in the temple as he had done every year since he was a teenager. For anyone doing a job after many years in the role, it becomes routine – it doesn’t matter how important the job is, you do it automatically, and Zechariah had been a priest for a long time. He was standing just outside the holy of holies, burning incense, as was done every day. He and his wife were childless, in a place where having children was hugely important, and we could imagine that his mind was perhaps on this personal grief. The appearance of a messenger from God was the last thing he expected.
God comes to us where we are, and God answers our prayers in God’s time, not ours. Zechariah was doing the work that God had given him to do, nothing unusual, just praying and doing his job. We don’t need to do anything special to receive God’s messengers, we just need to pray and do what God sets before us in our everyday life.
Prayer: Lord, I offer you my work and my everyday life. Help me to live and work in a way that glorifies you, and help me to be open to your messengers to me. Amen
Action: Look at your life and work, and find space for more short prayers.