And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.Luke 1:20
Zacharias, unlike Mary, had to act for God’s plan to be fulfilled.
Let’s contrast Zacharias with the early church and an Old Testament character:
- Zacharias was afraid to claim the direct promise of God.
- The early church sought a promise from God, but didn’t believe when the answer came!
 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.Acts 12:12-15
 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.
 And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
- Shadrach said God is able to promise, but we’ll obey Him even if He doesn’t promise.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.Daniel 3:17-18
In all three cases God answered their prayers.
Shadrach had no direct promise of a supernatural protection. Zacharias had a direct promise of a supernatural action.
Shadrach believed God but wasn’t presumptive that God would answer. Zacharias was a righteous man but weary and didn’t believe that God would answer. The early church mocked the one who said the answer came!
The key to answered prayer is not “how hard we believe” – but in Whom we believe.
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.Matthew 17:20
Patch the Pirate has a great song about “Mountain Moving Faith”