Do you ever wonder if the Lord hears you? Maybe you’ve been praying for something for a long time and just haven’t received an answer. I think this might be one of the biggest struggles of the Christian life. I know that I have wrestled with this feeling in some very pivotal moments and so have some of my honest friends. Satan would love to cause you to doubt the faithfulness of the Lord. Remember his three-fold plan, according to John 10:10, is to steal, kill and destroy YOU. If He can destroy an ounce of trust you have in your faithful God, he moves his way in and continues to unfold the rest of his plan in your life.
“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24
In Matthew 6:8 Jesus says, Do not be like them, (the babbling pagans v.7) for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Then, in the following verses, he goes on to teach how we should pray. In the famous “Lord’s prayer” which, maybe I hope to blog on another time in more depth, we see a number of aspects of prayer that are often missing from our self-absorbed prayers.
Are you asking for things that God would want you to ask for? When we pray “in Jesus’ name”, what we are actually saying is, “I’m asking for what Jesus would ask for if He was here.” It’s asking for things consistent with his will.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15
Ever considered what Jesus might ask for on your behalf? When I considered this some years ago, it changed everything about my prayers. Try laying your list out before God and saying, “you choose. Is any of this something I should be concerned with? What do you want for me? Will this trial, pain, frustration, ___fill in the blank, bring you glory?”
Is there something you should be learning that perhaps you can’t learn without this trial, pain, frustration, ____fill in the blank? Consider that for a moment. It just might change your whole perspective as you walk through it.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ Isaiah 58:9
Could sin in your life be leaving you with a sense of estrangement from God? My favorite Bible character, King David felt this way. He cried out to the Lord and asked for forgiveness. One translation says, “my sins have overtaken me. I cannot see.” Ever been blinded by your own sin? I have.
Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O LORD; let Your loving kindness and Your truth continually preserve me. For innumerable evils have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart fails me. Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me; O LORD, make haste to help me! Psalm 40:11-13
It’s not that God doesn’t hear or that somehow he is powerless to answer you.
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. Isaiah 59:1
There is so much more in scripture about prayer and the Lord’s presence in those intimate moments. I hope this will be a springboard for your thoughts today. It has certainly helped me to re-focus on more than one occasion.