Confession time: I both love to pray and simultaneously don’t do it nearly often enough. Don’t get me wrong, I do like to talk to God while driving or when washing dishes, etc. Talking is easy. I do it all. The. Time. That’s why I love it. I can vent to God. I can tell him all my troubles. I can share whatever it on my heart without fear.
That isn’t what’s hard. No, I have much more of a problem with the listening aspect of prayer. I have trouble being silent and letting God get a word in from time to time. Did you know that the word translated as prayer in the bible is overwhelming more of a listening than a talking type of prayer? Around 75% of the time, it is used as listening rather than talking.
These are things that don’t come naturally to me. Even as I sit here typing away, I keep thinking that I need to turn on some music or have an audiobook or podcast playing in the background. But this is what God wants. He wants us to be silent so that we can hear His voice. Now certainly He can make himself known over the sound of all the noise, but why should He have to do this? Why can’t I take a little time each day and listen for Him, listen to Him? Because it is amazing what He has to say.
Often times, we think of God speaking to us in prayer as a call to action. We pray that He will tell us what to do in a certain situation or give us direction on major life events. Sometimes we pray for others who are going through something, an illness or loss. We pray for healing and comfort. We pray for all kinds of things. But do we listen, too? Do we wait to hear what God has to say?
God answers our prayers in a great many ways. Sometimes He uses signs. For example, my pastor was trying to discern whether or not to start a sermon series on Philippians when several things began to come together culminating with a guy coming into the bank where he worked had on a Philippians 4:4 tee shirt: Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, Rejoice!
Sometimes God answers our prayer with Scripture. A friend shared last week that she’d been praying for God to show her how to work through a grieving process when she was shown Romans 12:1-2 and knew immediately that she needed to start renewing her mind and begin to change her thoughts so she’d be more in line with God than with her grief.
Other times, God can answer prayers by simply having a friend send a cookie through the mail. And you receive it just after having the worst day ever and needing a pick-me-up. (This happened to me a couple weeks ago).
And sometimes, God doesn’t answer our prayers. At least not immediately or in the way we were expecting. Sometimes the answer is ‘No’ and we simply don’t recognize it at the time. It’s hard for us to realize that the God of all Creation may not actually give us the desire of our heart. It’s even harder for us to realize that sometimes that desire of our heart, isn’t actually what we need.
Regardless of how God shows us the answer to our prayers, or what the answer is, we still have to acknowledge that God does answer prayer. We just have to be willing to listen to it and listen for it.
Want to hear more about prayer, or more specifically answered prayer? Check out the link up at Mrs. Disciple and hear what others are saying.