Isaiah’s ‘prayer for revival’ continues through this chapter. This sort of prayer asks God to come back (63:17: ‘’Return’’ ) and ‘’come down’’ (64:1). Prayer for revival has intensity: ‘’Oh…!’’(1), and I fear that too much contemporary praying lacks this heart – cry; this anguished ‘Oh’. It also is prepared to ‘’wait for’’ God to manifest His presence and power (4). Isaiah called on God to ‘’come down’’ and make His ‘’name known’’ to His enemies (1, 2), just as He made His Name known to Pharaoh centuries earlier (Ex.14: 3, 18). God made the mountains tremble when He came down on Sinai (3; see Ex. 19:18). Revival prayer is also holy prayer. If we cherish sin in our hearts God will not listen. At (5) Isaiah pauses in his prayer and recalls how Israel continued to sin against God’s ways, and sin creates a barrier. It did for the Israelites; it will for us. If we want to pray effectively for an outpouring of God’s Spirit we must be earnest and patient, as we have seen; but also have to be committed to purity, and turning from everything wrong in our lives as God shows us what He wants us to change. It’s important to ‘keep short accounts’ with God.
In (6, 7) Isaiah confesses on behalf of his people. He is praying himself – obviously! – but he has to confess a general prayerlessness among God’s people. There is probably a need for us to do the same: ’’No one prays to you or makes the effort to reach out to you.’’ The Message. It’s not the case that no one is praying in the contemporary church. Far from it. Yet there is such a need for a great outpouring of the Spirit of prayer. The prayer meeting is pretty ‘desolate’ in many church settings.
God is rarely called ‘Father’ in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 32:6; Isaiah 63:16), but in (8-12) Isaiah pleads with God as a son with his father. It’s been said that he asks God to remember, not their sins, but their standing as His children. In (10, 11) he looks ahead and sees the terrible punishment to be inflicted by means of the Babylonians.
‘’Isaiah’s prayer ends with a question; God’s answer to the question will be given in the final two chapters of Isaiah. In many ways, Isaiah’s prayer in this chapter is a model prayer for all of us who sometimes find ourselves ‘’wasting away’’ because of our sins (verse 7). Note that Isaiah’s prayer begins in the previous chapter with praise (Isaiah 63:7);here it ends with the humble expectation of God’s answer. That’s a good beginning and ending for any prayer.’’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.1070.
Warren Wiersbe, writing on this chapter makes the point that there is a ‘missing demonstration’ of God’s power, and it is linked to ‘missing intercession’ on behalf His people, and ‘missing submission’ among His people.
Prayer: ‘’Oh, that you would rip open the heavens and descend…’’ The Message.