It’s common to find yourself in the same physical position in prayer. You may close your eyes, hold your hands together, and look up or down. But it’s also common to find yourself in the same spiritual position, asking the same question every day: Does God hear my prayers? If this describes your walk with God, you can be sure that He is listening, that He cares, and that you can find hope in prayer and in His word.
A biblical perspective
The question of whether or not God actually hears prayers is so prominent throughout history that the Apostles addressed it in their letters. For example, 1 John 5:14 says "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us" (NIV).
1 Peter 3:12 speaks about prayer but in the context of righteousness. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (NIV).
Together, these verses provide a clearer picture of the dynamic of prayer and how early Christians addressed it. These verses explain to mankind how to approach God directly. You must come before God humbly and in reverence, because it’s an opportunity to present your request before the creator of the universe, who is as compassionate as He is great.
Laying requests before God
The power of literature lies partly in how it communicates truths, in this case spiritual truths, in creative ways. For example, in the novel “The Steward: The Tale of Oak Wilder,” the main protagonist visits Elio’s Country (which is supposed to represent heaven), and he looks across a field of flowers unlike any he’s seen before. He asks his guide about them, and his guide replies, “Dear man, these flowers stem from the tears of the faithful.”
Here the author is providing an analogy of the believer, their emotions, and the eternal significance of the believer’s relationship with God. This pairs well with what the psalmist wrote: “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (Psalm 51:17 NIV).
God wants you close to Him, because He has unconditional love for you, love that you can’t find in the world. It’s important to remember, however, that this is a privilege and that you shouldn't take the matter lightly. You can find hope in that the Lord is attentive to your prayer and that He knows your heart even before you speak.
A caring Father at all times
Yes, God is caring and wants to provide. But He isn’t a genie or an arcade game. It’s not a matter of rubbing the lamp three times or putting in three quarters to win a prize. If this is how you see God and prayer, then you’re fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of God, what prayer is, and how it works.
God is more like a father at the bedside of his child, listening as the child opens their heart. Like a parent, God will do everything in His power to do what’s best for His child while also respecting their free will. But as any parent would tell you, the relationship often requires tough love, a pain that endures to bring about something special.
This makes the Christian walk full of ups and downs, a walk where sometimes you’re on a beautiful mountain, and other times you're in a dark valley. Yet it’s important to find light in the valley, because that’s where you strengthen your faith. Thus, when you get to the top of the mountain, you can see that God, the Good Shepherd, was with you in the valley all along.
For more information
Prayer is your communication with God, so don’t give up on it, and don’t give up on Him. Register today for our free Bible courses to learn more about prayer and how the word of God can change your life.