Isaiah’s Prophetic Prayer Is. 64 1-12 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Isaiah’s prophetic prayer is a fairly simple and straightforward prayer. His prayer is the kind of prayer that the remnant of Israel will be praying as they await the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this prayer, you’ll notice Isaiah’s reliance upon the Lord’s words, his historical dealings with Israel, his promises, his mercy, his love of Israel and his wrath against her enemies. You will also see Isaiah’s confession, his submission and his faith in this prayer. In Isaiah’s prophetic prayer:
He requests the Lord to return – Is 64:1-2 – barring the Lord’s return, the situation for Israel would be hopeless – without him there is no way to defeat the adversaries – Isaiah prays that the Lord would “rend the heavens” – he rent the veil at his first coming and he will rend the heavens at his return – Isaiah knows that the Lord will return in fire and that his “presence” will cause the mountains to flow down [Ps 18:6-9; Nah 1:5] and the nations to tremble – he prays that the nations will know the name of the Lord and that he is the one who delivers Israel [i.e., Ezek 25:17; 30:8] – in other words, he wants the nations to know that the Lord is God.
He recounts the Lord’s history with Israel – Is 64:3 – when the Lord came down to Sinai in the Exodus, the mountain “smoked” and “quaked” because the “Lord descended upon it in fire” [Ex 19:18] – Isaiah recounts what the Lord did when Israel departed from Egypt and he reminds the Lord of the prophecy in Deborah and Barak’s song following Israel’s miraculous defeat of Sisera [Jud 5:4-5] – the fire on Sinai and the prophecy in the song are both indicative of the Lords’ second coming.
He relies upon the Lord’s promises and assurances – Is 64:4-5 – Isaiah knows that the Lord has prepared marvelous things, never before seen, for those who wait for him [such as Heb 11:9-10, 13; Paul quotes v.4 in 1 Cor 2:9] – and so he is encouraged by the assurance that the Lord has something much better in store for those in Israel who will wait for him – he knows the Lord is “wroth” because Israel has “sinned” but there is “continuance” in the truth that the Lord “meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways” – truly God’s promise is that Israel “shall be saved,” [v.5; Rom 11:25-26] and Isaiah relies upon that promise in his prayer.
He recognizes his unworthiness – Is 64:6-7 – here you are reading Isaiah’s confession – this type of humility is characteristic of men who were able to “get ahold of God” in prayer [Neh 1:4-11; Ezra 10:1; Jer 3:22-25] – in v.6 is the famous passage “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” – truly none of us is worthy to approach unto our Holy God and demand anything in prayer – yet the Lord responds affirmatively when we acknowledge our unworthiness.
He relinquishes his will – Is 64:8 – Isaiah submits to the Lord’s will – the Lord is Israel’s father [Is 63:16; Matt 6:9] – he is the potter and they are the clay [Is 45:9] – in other words, Isaiah realizes that the plan for Israel is God’s plan not his and he is submitted to that plan.
He rests in the Lord’s mercy – Is 64:9 – Isaiah knows that children of Israel “are all thy people” – therefore, he rests in the hope that God will not remember their iniquity forever, which is true [Jer 31:31-34].
He riles the Lord up over Zion’s destruction – Is 64:10-12 – he reminds the Lord of the desolation of Zion and the fiery destruction of the temple [which is still in the future – remember that this is Isaiah’s prophetic prayer] – and then he asks the Lord if he is going to refrain himself for these things, if he is going to hold his peace and only afflict Israel – well, we already know the answer to that question [Jer 30:11; 46:28].
Conclusion: this prayer is very instructive for us because it encourages us to look for the Lord’s return [the solution to all of our problems], to remember the Lord’s dealings in scripture, to rely upon the Lord’s promises, assurances, and mercy, and to humble ourselves and surrender our wills.