Thursday, March 10

God Hears

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. --1st John 5:14

Do you ever lie on your bed at night and spend a few minutes in prayer before falling asleep? Does your mind ever wander a bit and you open your eyes, stare at the ceiling and think "does God really hear me?" Sometimes I wonder if my requests and petitions seem silly to a God who controls the universe. Afterall, praying for my nose to stop running seems like an insignificant request when there are tsunami victims in Thailand and marines in Iraq who are probably dealing with much more difficult circumstances.

My occasional feelings of doubt make me discouraged, particularly when I feel like my prayers are being answered. More accurately, I feel discouraged when they aren't answered in the way that I want them answered. Lately I've come to understand that God always hears our prayers, no matter how big or small we think they are. He not only hears them, he answers them, even if not in the way we'd like him to. Sometimes he answers us with a definite "no". It sometimes seems as though doors get slammed in our faces just when we're about to step over the threshold. Other times God answers with "not yet; wait" and it takes a great deal of patience before we see the fulfillment of God's will on a particular matter. Still other times God blesses us with "yes" and we immediately see the benefits of leaving things up to him in the first place. No matter what, he always answers our prayers.

Something else I've learned is that sometimes I find that I'm asking for the wrong things. This verse says that we need to ask "in accordance with his will". It's not always easy to determine if we are asking in accordance with God's will. That's why it is so important to spend time reading the Bible and seeking advice from mature Christians who have experience in recognizing God's voice. By using God's word, combined with the wisdom of other Christians, we can get pointed in the right direction on the path of God's will.

God loves us and hears our prayers. The words of Michael W. Smith's song "I Know Your Name" speak of how much God loves us. I am comforted by the words of the chorus whenever I hear them.

Yes I know your name, ev'ry prayer you pray.
I'm the One who brought you to this place.
The Voice who sings to you, the Hand that clings to you;
Oh my child, I've always known your name.

God has a plan for our lives. In order to discover that plan, we must remain constant communication with him through the act of prayer. You wouldn't try to write a term paper for a class without checking the guidelines given to you by the professor, so why would you try to live your life without checking out what your Creator's will for your life is? Don't ever doubt that he hears your prayers. Keep trying to determine his will as you spend more and more time with him. Be confident that he hears you, and rest assured that he loves you.

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