Tuesday, April 14, 2009

He hears every prayer

This may seem extremely shallow to most people who read it -- or simple at the very least -- but I'm afraid it's a reminder about prayer that I really need once in a while. I don't know if you can relate but I've had times when I'm praying for something for the millionth time (it seems), and I wonder if I'm talking to myself as God attends to prayers He's more interested in hearing. Or times when my prayers feel so weak and wobbly that they barely make it past my lips and I wonder if God deems them earnest enough to turn His ear my way. Or times amidst busy, noisy days when I throw a desperate prayer upward in a time of crisis, hoping it will be heard amidst the many other voices crying out to God. It's at times like those that Psalm 65 offers me great hope.

Psalm 65:2 is addressed to "You who hear prayer". That feels like a declaration that I need to hear once in a while: God hears me when I pray. Prayer can sometimes feel like a ball being thrown up to a hand that seems higher than the height we're capable of throwing. The ball goes up, but sadly arches back to the ground long before it comes close to the Great Glove we're aiming for. But Psalm 65 tells me that the God who has the strength to establish the mountains and to still the seas (verses 6-7) will stretch His hand down to catch such prayers! He hears the prayers we desperately heave upward.

But what's more encouraging is that God not only catches our prayers, but He catches us! Psalm 65:4 suggests that even though we may feel like we're all alone in our times of prayer, the God we're praying to draws us close to Himself to dwell with Him so that we will be "satisfied with the goodness of [His] house, the holiness of [His] temple!" And just to make sure we don't think that our many mistakes will exclude us from such hopes, verse 3 assures us that "when iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions." That's something I can be sure of because of what Jesus did for me on the cross!

Such promises should revive any prayer life! Especially with the further promise of verse 5 that says, "By awesome deeds You answer us with Your righteousness". God hears and God answers. But while it's good to be reminded that God can do awesome deeds to answer my prayers, I need to remember that He answers according to His righteousness rather than my preferences. If I can trust Him in that, I'll have less trouble believing that He hears every prayer I utter -- and have an easier time accepting however and whenever He chooses to answer.

Some other helps I've found regarding prayer in the Psalms:
Start in an attitude of thanksgiving! (Psalm 95:1-2; 100:4)
Confess my sin to Him! (Psalm 32:5; 66:18)
Seek God persistently! (Psalm 86:3-5; 105:4)
Don't let a sense of inadequacy hinder me! (Psalm 34:6; 86:1)

© 2009 by Ken Peters

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