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And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,
So there is Zechariah, doing his job, and an angel shows up. From his education, he's been taught that if he does anything wrong, God will strike him dead. Angels didn't usually appear during this ceremony, so he figures this is the end. I did something wrong. Here comes the fire.
The first thing the angel says is "Do not be afraid, Zechariah." The angel knew who Zechariah was and wanted to comfort him right off the bat. Zechariah doesn't ask "How do you know my name?" because he knows that God knows all things. The next statement is the mind-blower.
"Your prayer has been heard." Think about all of the prayers Zechariah has prayed in his life! What could this be? How recently has he prayed for this? Maybe just that morning he was praying that he'd be picked to burn incense, or that his cousin would get over a runny nose. No, the angel knew and Zechariah knew what that prayer was.
In Mere Christianity, C.S.Lewis says some great things about time and the way God listens to our prayers:
Almost certainly God is not in Time. His life does not consist of moments following one another. If a million people are praying
That is difficult, I know. Let me try to give something, not the same, but a bit like it. Suppose I am writing a novel. I write "Mary laid down her work; next moment
We can pray to God and never fear that we are overwhelming Him. We can pray and know that He has more than all of the time in the world to listen to us, to think about us, and then to come back and enter into our story as He pleases.