When You Pray God Listens

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
— Jeremiah 29:12-15 NKJV

Our Father is the greatest listener who is, was, or ever will be. He carries within His infinite heart infinite love and care for His children. He never treats us the way we often tend to treat others, especially when we feel wronged or neglected. Whenever we sin and fall short of the Father’s glory, our first and natural recourse is to retreat to a hiding place, somewhere we hope to be able to hide ourselves and our sins from the Father. But the more often we try to hide, the deeper our hole becomes until eventually we realize in despair that there is no way out. Disappointment creeps in and we feel unworthy of talking to Him, so we conclude that the best and safest thing for us to do is separate ourselves from Him. As condemnation grips our heart, our mindset of shame for having failed the Father makes it difficult for us to see the light of day. All of this is wrapped up in our pride. Our unwillingness to admit our wrongdoing blinds us to the realization that the Father yearns for us to return to the place of intimate covenantal relationship with Him. Talking to the Father in prayer will always gain His attention. He knows exactly where we are, as well as every thought we think and every emotion we feel.

Indeed, there is no hiding from the Father. After all, He created the universe and everything in it and rules over it all. Where, then, could we go to get away from Him? Not even hell escapes His notice. Too often we try to relate to the Father based on our understanding and experiences in our inter-personal relationships with each other. Arguments come in all human relationships, and one of our dominant traits is the obsessive need to be right, to prove why we are right and the other person is wrong. This creates tension that fuels the buildup of belligerent attitudes. Pride causes us to dig in our heels, producing stubbornness, and we might not talk to each other for days or weeks until somebody has the humility and decency to say, “I’m sorry.” But because none of us want to be the first one to “break,” instead, we play the “don’t talk to me game,” which stems from our pride or from our pain in being hurt, leading us to erect a security fence around our heart to guard against being taken advantage of or hurt ever again. Another relational challenge is our tendency toward competitiveness with each other. Because we all desire the best possible outcomes for ourselves, we can easily choose to walk over others without any consideration of their needs, desires, or dreams. These are but a few of the many that we can choose to relate to the Father. But the closer we grow to Him, the more He heals these areas of our hearts as we permit Him to have His way with us.

The greatest posture we can choose is that of a repentant heart and continue to remain in that place. Repentance is not limited only to the Father forgiving us of our sin; it is much more than just that. Repentance is our coming to know how much we need Him in our lives. As He patiently works in our hearts, we gradually realize how much we have drifted from His ways. His love brings alignment and correction to our lives. When we choose to stay in a posture of repentance, we are choosing the path of humility before Him.

Humility prevents us from seeking the Father in prayer from an attitude of arrogant demand; rather, it stems from a passionate desire to have a close relationship with Him. There is nothing we can do to force a speedy answer from the Father, but He always responds to those who approach Him with a pure heart. The Father is not far away; He is in us and around us, and He is ever for us. He is always ready to listen to the cries of our heart and will never condemn us or treat us in a condescending manner. We will never hear Him say, “See, I told you so!” Instead, He will turn His attention to us with a warmth indescribable and a love incomprehensible. What an awesome Father!