THEN WILL I HEAR FROM HEAVEN
“Incline your heart unto the Lord God.” commands Joshua to God’s people. (Joshua 24:23 King James Version.) “Incline thine ear unto my cry,” the Psalmist pleads with the Lord. (Psalm 88:2 K.J.V.) This sounds like the one who is praying and the one that is listening need to be in alignment or there will be difficulty in communicating. In this old-fashioned way the Bible pictures a man leaning towards God and God, with His hand behind His ear, straining to hear him. How do we get to be heard?
Jesus had no difficulty believing that His Father heard His prayers. In John 11:41, He prays, “Father, I thank Thee that You have heard Me.” He was so in tune with His Father that He could say, “I only do what I see the Father doing.” (John 5:19) As He prayed in the garden it was, “Not My will but Thine” (Matthew 26:39) That’s how it ought to be. That’s why Jesus’ prayers were heard and answered. We need to seek His will and pray accordingly. That’s a double prayer. Pray to know His will and then pray in line with it.
Can we confidently say, “Father I thank You that You have heard me because I know that this is what You want?” Probably not. However there are a few things we know that can prevent us from being heard. I ask myself, “Is my prayer selfish? Is it concerned with my pleasure?” I find that so many of my prayers are curled around my desires, my needs, my comfort, my family, my issues of the moment. It’s right to pray for ourselves but not exclusively. True intercessors can leave self behind to concentrate on the needs of others.
Sin trips us up in our prayer life. It’s hard to lift our heads to God if we have some unconfessed, undealt with sin that is in our face. Can’t you just picture a ten-year old boy who has broken his sister’s favourite doll being confronted by his father. “Son, look me in the eye. Did you do this?” And, unless the son is particularly arrogant, he will look anywhere else rather than looking at his father. Sin prevents us from looking towards God. He wants a clear, straight channel so that He can hear us and we can hear Him.
St. Peter, who was a married man, had some good advice for married men. “Husbands, be considerate as you live with your wives, treat them with respect….so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (1 Peter 3:7) Relationships of all kinds, beginning with marriage, need to be as clean and current as possible. We cannot make every relationship perfect but, as St. Paul writes, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) When we have done all we can to make a relationship right, even though the other party may not be interested, we will have removed a major hindrance to our prayers being heard and answered.
Question: Am I willing to listen for God as much as I talk at Him?
Prayer: Loving God, slow me down and quiet my spirit; let me listen for you and know that you hear me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen