Psalm 66:18-20 - If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer or removed His steadfast love from me!
Pay attention! Listen! There is something important that you need to hear. So many voices compete for our attention, yet perhaps more than ever before our attention easily wanders. Brief social media posts, quick summaries in online information, and ever-changing headlines reduce our attention spans. When our prayers, especially our most desperate pleas, are not answered immediately or as we want them to be answered, we may think that God's attention span is like our own. Is He even listening?
God invites us, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me" (Psalm 50:15). God wants us to pray, but the prophet Isaiah warned of a dividing wall: "Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear" (Isaiah 59:2). Yet God, in His grace and steadfast love, has destroyed that barrier. On the cross Jesus cried out in prayer, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Mark 15:34b). Jesus was not delivered. His plea was met with silence and He was given over to the suffering of the cross. He died to reconcile us to God and for His sake, our sins are forgiven. The barrier of sin that could hinder our prayers crumbled and fell at the foot of the cross. God hears our prayers and answers according to His gracious will.
God even gives us words to pray when we struggle to form our own prayers. In the inspired psalms, we have prayers in God's own words that express loss and hope, anguish and joy, fear and faith. Jesus told His disciples, "Pray then like this," and gave us the words of His own prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). We do not need to be afraid that our prayers are not in line with God's holy will because the Spirit intercedes for us according to His will. When all words fail us, "the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words" (Romans 8:26b).
We may not always feel like God is listening, but we do not need to feel or imagine that He hears us. We have His invitation to pray and His promise that He hears us. He will answer according to His will and for our good. As the psalmist reminds us, "Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep" (Psalm 121:4). Day or night, God hears our prayers. He is always listening and He will never remove His steadfast love from us.
WE PRAY: "I call upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me; hear my words." Amen. (Psalm 17:6).
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. How do you step aside from all the hubbub and white noise in this world to spend time with God?
2. Have you ever experienced a time when the Holy Spirit interceded for you when praying was just too difficult?
3. Have you ever felt like your sins drove a wedge between you and God? How did you work through that?
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