December 9

He Hears and Answers, Part 1

Psalm 138:3 In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.

Psalm 139:4 For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.

I John 5:14-15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, 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 the petitions that we have asked of Him.

Some of the great faith challenges of the believer have to do with prayer: Are we praying according to His will? Will He answer? How will He answer? How do I keep up my faith when years have gone by with little or no change?

There are many words that deserve to be written and read about prayer. For now, let’s look at one simple thought, one that we sometimes have such a hard time with: God hears us right away. We don’t have to shout to be heard, and we don’t have to say the prayer 10 times for it to make it up to heaven. We don’t even have to say it perfectly. While perseverance in prayer is a godly thing and we are encouraged to never stop praying (see tomorrow’s devotional), God says that He hears us right away.

Knowing that God hears right away may raise other questions (again, see tomorrow’s devotional), but we need to settle it in our hearts that He has heard us and that yes, He is on it—He is answering. If we have that faith, it will change how we look at the issue of concern, and how we view our communication with God on the issue.

The two challenges we face in this area are whether we are praying in His will (see I John 5:14, above), and what we have likely already envisioned as the best answer to our prayer. Regarding the first challenge, we can rejoice that God is merciful and understands that we need to grow in our understanding of His will. Romans 8:26 also assures us that the Holy Spirit is with us, leading us in our prayers (if we will listen and heed) and is even making intercession for us. The more we read His word, grow in grace and truth, and live in His light, the more we will come to understand His will and will become more assured that we know how to “ask anything according to His will.”

The other challenge is to let God answer the way He thinks best. We sometimes base our faith in God’s hearing us on how circumstances and people around us change and get closer to the vision of what we believe God’s answer might be. We can’t rest our faith on those kinds of shifting sands. Either we believe He has heard us because He says He does, or we don’t. Though every other expectation of our heart may have to change, and our ideas be brought to the foot of the cross as an offering, we believe He hears us because He has told us so.

Prayer: Father, help me to put faith before my understanding in the area of prayer. I believe You hear me when I pray. I bring my expectations of how You are going to answer to the cross, leave them, and turn around and walk away.