“Are You Listening to Me?”

by Lester Young

Have you ever found yourself praying, and at the same time wondering if it’s really doing any good? Or questioned if God’s even listening to you? Are there times you’re not even listening to yourself? You know; you’re praying – something – and yet your mind is approximately 2,500 miles away; thinking about dinner, or gas prices, or a new pair of shoes, or the game last night or…whatever. Well, if nothing else, let’s at least be fair: I mean, if you’re not even going to bother to pay attention, why expect Him to have to..? Being God, though, He certainly hears – even if our brains are off somewhere else, He isn’t.

Nevertheless, the question still stands: Is God really listening to us – always? Let me just go ahead and ease your mind by giving you the short answer: No! Even though nothing get’s past His ears, God never, ever said (thankfully for us, I would guess) that He would listen to every flippin’ thing that comes out of our ridiculous mouths in prayer to Him. But He did tell us exactly how we could know and be guaranteed that our prayers would be answered every single time – and the instructions really aren’t particularly difficult to understand.

Now, we can probably all agree that whenever Jesus spoke, the Father was nothing but attentive toward Him, right? Jesus said as much when He declared, “I [know] You always hear me…” (John 11:42). But, how did Jesus know that? Why did God always listen to and answer Him, and why was Jesus so confident that He always would? Because He was the Father’s only begotten Son? While that might seem like a reasonable assumption, it’s absolutely wrong.

The plain fact of the matter is that God listened to and respected Jesus’ words because Jesus respected and revered God and His Word (Hebrews 5:7). Inherent Sonship had nothing to do with it. Jesus obeyed God, and so God listened to Jesus – open-and-shut case, simple as that.

It’s precisely what Jesus meant when telling His disciples that He “kept [His] Father’s commandments, and abode in [lived in, was protected by] His love” (John 15:10). And, it’s also the very reason why He was so confident that would always be the case. As He said, He knew the Father always listened to Him because He was obedient; and if He knew He had God’s ear, He was also just as sure that whatever He asked for He was going to get (John 11:42; 1 John 5:15).

Of course, keeping the Father’s commandments by definition also meant asking for things based on those commandments – that is, in line with the Father’s will. Jesus testified that He always pleased the Father (John 8:29), and that word ‘please’ is an interesting term. It’s translated from the Greek word ‘arestos,’ which literally means ‘agreeable.’ So, Jesus agreed with the Father and His Word (which should really come as no great surprise, since He was and is God’s Word incarnate [John 1:14; 1 John 1:1]). In other words, He simply said and did after God the same things He heard God say and do in the written Law and Prophets, and by the Holy Spirit (John 5:19, 8:28). Any material needs He may have had (all the way up to and including full ‘prosperity’) were covered by promises in God’s Word – so that’s what Jesus prayed and said. Protection from enemies…covered by promises in God’s Word. Direction, favor and power to accomplish the mission…again, covered by promises in the written Word!

Well, then, as Jesus’ disciples, all we have to do is emulate Him. When we keep His commandments – which can very briefly be summed up this way: “Just do whatever He tells you to do, and walk in love” (John 14:21, 15:12; 1 John 3:23) – we, too, can go to our Father in full confidence, ask anything in Jesus’ Name (which is the Word of God [Revelation 19:13]; or, His will) and know beyond any doubt that we have it (Mark 11:24; John 16:23-24; 1 John 3:21-22, 5:14-15).

God has promised and committed Himself to hear (listen to, be attentive to and answer) only those things in agreement with His will; that is, His Word. But, that’s no kind of hindrance whatsoever. His Word is full to bursting with good promises for us – more than we could possibly ask or even think of (Ephesians 3:20; 2 Peter 1:3-4). It’s like a treasure chest; but we’re the ones who have to get in it and find what’s there for us (Matthew 13:52).

So, if you’ve got a need or problem, don’t waste time praying any old wordage you think sounds good. God has already spoken a promise that will cover whatever situation you’ve got. Go to His Word and find it! Then, pray that Word; ask – and immediately appropriate it by faith – according to that promise! (Mark 11:24) Pray the answer, not the problem – He’s already committed to hear those prayers.

Bottom line? Just follow our Lord Jesus’ example. If we say and do the same things He said and did, we’ll get the same results He got – which is, by the way, the whole point! (Ecclesiastes 12:13; John 14:12)

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