- God listens to those who know he exist. We can increase our faith by studying the Bible and talking with God. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1, 6)
- God listens to those who do his will. “We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will.” (John 9:31) “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Psalm 66:17-20)
- God listens to those of ethical conduct. Being righteous has always seemed a little negative to me. Kind of like living in a “better than you” way. Righteousness is better defined as having ethical or right conduct, not in a boastful way. God and his word are the source for knowing what right conduct is. If we read his word, “Then you will understand what is right, and just and fair---every good path.” (Proverbs 2:1-11) “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:12)
- When you repent, God will open his ears to you again. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that he will forgive your sins.” (Acts 3:13)
- God listens to those who are willing to do the will of God over their own. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us---whatever we ask---we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14) “ Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” (Luke 22:42-43)
Whether you are strong in your faith, or haven’t yet committed your life to the Lord, you may wonder if God hears your prayers. The answer to this question is maybe he does and maybe he doesn’t. You heard me right. God doesn’t listen to everyone’s prayer. Hearing this can be a tough pill to swallow. Even those who are strong in their faith sometimes feel distant from him and wonder if he’s listening. Common reasons for feeling this distance could be we have gotten busy and not made time to read and study his word or skipped out on our regular prayer time. It’s also possible we have let sin creep back into our life. We are all sinners and should repent regularly. People of faith included. The good news is when we repent of our sin and believe in all our heart that God exists and loves us, he will hear our prayers. Today is the first day of Lent, a season of preparation before Easter. Through prayer, repentance, and giving up pleasures, we can draw closer to God during Lent. In observation of lent many give up something they enjoy like chocolate or soda. Have you ever considered giving up a little free time to read the Bible and pray? The more time we spend reading his word, the stronger our faith grows. Words from the Bible concerning prayer:
As a youth, a “snow day” in Arkansas meant bundling up and heading outside with a large piece of cardboard or trash can lid. Before the laughs and screams of excitement started, the silence was disrupted only by the squeaking sound of snow packing underfoot with each step up the hill. Flying headfirst downhill, you could smell the snow as cold air rushed past your face. You know the smell.
Air really does smell differently when it snows. That’s because the cold and humidity have removed many of the outdoor odors. Isn’t that just like God to send something beautiful to cover up all the stink in life?
Children can easily forget everything else and just enjoy the unexpected vacation. As children of God, we too can enjoy the peace God sends in the stillness of a snow day. Inhale the sweet smell. Cleanse our soul of the pungent odors from life. When the snow melts, the worries and steep mountains we may be climbing are uncovered. We can continue to find peace and stillness by reading His word and talking with Him.
A Mattingly -