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Prayer

Prayer

Can God Hear Me When I Pray?

God delights when we come to him and ask him to help us. He wants to give us the things we need, not the things we think we need. Sometimes the answers we get to prayers aren’t what we want or expect or they take longer than we think they should. But, none of that is the absence of answers. God hears every prayer no matter what method of praying you use: speaking, singing, or thinking. Even our actions can be a prayer to God.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry (Psalm 35:15).

In I Chronicles 5:20, we are told that God answered the prayers of the people because they trusted in Him. Believing that God will answer our prayers, trusting in His ability to hear and answer is important.

Many places in the Bible site conditions for prayers to be heard: living well, trusting in God, being humble. In other words, the prayers that are heard are those that come from a person who has a relationship with God, someone who believes that his or her prayers will be answered by a loving heavenly Father.

How do you develop a relationship with God? Just like you do with friends and coworkers. By getting to know them, spending time with them, talking to them. So it is with God. Spend time with Him and get to know Him and you won’t have to ask this question anymore. You’ll know without a doubt that He is there.

What is it exactly?

Prayer is conversation with God. That in mind, shouldn’t we be doing it in a way that pleases Him? Not to get us on a good list so that He’ll do what we ask, but to really understand how to talk with Him, and share our concerns, fears, and pleas. We would never subject a friend to demands made out of fear or pride. How could that be a good way to talk to God?

The Bible says a lot about prayer, including Jesus’ words on how to pray (The Lord’s Prayer - Matthew 6:9-13). One parable teaches exactly on how to talk to God.

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector.” (Luke 18:9-10, NLT)

This parable is a good way to measure our hearts as we come to God in prayer. Am I the Pharisee or a tax collector? Pharisees were the holy men of that day. The tax collectors were hated by most. Right off the bat, one would assume that Jesus would denounce the later, as the “sinner”. And he would, if it were not for what the taxman did inside the temple.

“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:11-14, NLT)

The parable’s lesson is found in what these two men do in response to God’s presence. The proud church leader attempts to validate his own “righteousness” in his prayer. He judges his neighbor all while spouting his good deeds, as if that’s going to guarantee him some Brownie points with God. The tax collector approaches his prayer in humility. With no self-righteous bone in his body, he asks God to show him mercy.

Prayers that God Hears

The Lord hears humble prayers.One king in the Bible is an example of this. 

You were sorry and humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this city and its people. You humbled yourself and tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. ( II Chronicles 34:27 NLT)

God wants to hear sincerity in our prayer, not vanity. Determine to stay steadfastly humble before the Lord. He extends mercy to everyone who comes to Him in repentance, even those who have gotten lost on the way.