Psalm 65:2 describes God as, “You who hear prayer” and Psalm 77:1 confesses: “I cried out to God with my voice . . . and He gave ear to me.” That “God hears prayer,” is foundational to biblical faith (Deut. 4:7; Ps. 4:3, 34:17, 55:17; Mt. 7:7-8; 1 Pet. 3:12). Christians know this, but many secretly wonder, “Is God really listening to me?”
People often talk as if prayer is the way we get God to give us what we want. Those who think this way seek prayer promises, techniques, locations, mediators and other methods they believe will influence God or place Him under obligation. But Scripture points in virtually the opposite direction, indicating prayer, communication with the living God, is a means He uses to give us what He knows we need.
Some assume we exchange personal accomplishments for the prayer-answers we seek. People argue their piety, morality, discipline, passion, sacrifice, service, offerings and faith provide the basis by which God will listen to their prayers. Yet Scripture teaches us access to God in prayer cannot be earned (Lk. 18:9-14). Every human effort falls short: “All our righteousness is like filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6). Access to God comes only through faith in Jesus Christ: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me” (Jn. 14:6). Only Jesus’ blood can secure confident access to a Holy God (1Tim. 2:5; Heb. 10:19). By God’s grace alone, received through faith alone, can we become His spiritual children (Jn. 1:12) and receive the right to pray to Him as Abba, “Dear Father” (Rom. 8:15-16; Eph. 2:14-19). Abba defines the context of Christian prayer.
Abba, I am in awe that I can come to You simply because I have become Your child, and not because I have done anything significant or important. Thank You for making a way through Jesus for me to have complete access to Your heart. My heart is so blessed to know that when I come to You, You hear me and will answer – not always in the way I want or expect, but in the way that is for my good, and for Your glory! Dear Father, I yield myself to Your purposes! Use me in whatever way brings You the most honor!
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 31, To Whom Does God Listen? by W. Bingham Hunter). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God as the one worthy of the worship of our entire lives (Rom. 12:1-2). Give thanks for God’s mercy shown to you personally. Confess times of conforming to the pattern of this world. Commit yourself to the continual renewing of your mind. Ask God to be true to his promise that you will be able to test and approve what is his will.
Pray that each of God’s people will be reminded of the different gifts he or she possesses, according to the grace of God (12:6). Ask that they be further equipped through worship to use those gifts for God’s kingdom (12:7ff.).