Prayer, Truth for Today

252 – When You Need a Listening Ear

Comments Off on 252 – When You Need a Listening Ear 07 February 2013

Do you sometimes feel as if no one is listening to you? Often our lives become busy and hectic and it is hard to communicate our feelings to those around us. We feel as if no one is listening. At times we will ask someone near us, “Are you listening to me?” It may be asked of a spouse, friend, co-worker, or someone at church. There are times when we are looking for more than just a listening ear. We want someone we think is going to listen and hear what we are saying and understand what we are feeling. Some financial institutions and investment companies utilize the slogan, “We’re listening.” We are going to explore a few things about a Person who does listen to us 24/7. His name is Jesus!

When you need a listening ear you can be confident that through Christ God hears every thought, need, concern, and desire of your heart. The Apostle John encouraged us to take our concerns to Jesus boldly. We are too timid when it comes to expressing ourselves to our loving Lord. He wants to hear what we have to say. Others may be too busy, He never is! John said, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us”  (1 Jn. 5:14 NIV). I often talk with God because I know He listens to me. When others are busy, disinterested in what we have to say, have no time for us, as the song says, “He always is near to comfort and cheer.” Sometimes I want to talk through a decision I need to make or just need to know someone is aware of a particular need I have, or someone close to me has. In those cases I find God, in Christ, is always near. When Jesus was in the flesh he often lifted His eyes toward heaven and was immediately in the presence of His Father. He knew He was accepted! He had an intimate relationship with His Farther. Through Him, we have that same confidence when we come before God. God is always loving and gracious in His response to us. Jesus taught us, “But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you”  (Matt. 6:6 NLT). God invites us to enter into His loving and gracious presence for a conversation with Him. God not only is willing to listen, He invites us, and is disappointed when we do not show up. When one of our sons and his wife are away on a trip. We miss them, and their boys miss them, even though they are enjoying time with Nana and Granddaddy. We miss the sounds of the voices of those we love. We have a God who misses our voices when we do not talk with Him and listen to what He has to say to us. God reaches into our heaped up hearts to find everything we need to talk with Him about. Here’s the basis on which we can come to Him. “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus” (Heb. 10:19 NLT). The good thing is that God doesn’t require an appointment or to schedule a call to talk with Him. We have full access any time we need to talk with Him. If you need counsel, He is the “Wonderful Counselor.” If you need a friend, He is the “Friend who sticks closer than a brother.” If you need protection, He is the “Good Shepherd.” If you need stability, He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

When you need a listening ear you can be corrected when you are misguided about what you are asking. Let’s look at John’s words again, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 Jn. 5:14 NIV84). There are some things that are not going anywhere in your conversation with God. Oh, you can talk with Him about them, but He will gently correct you when you are outside of His will for your life. He loves you too much to answer every single one of your prayers the way you ask it. One of the things that I like about this is that when I begin to share my thoughts, concerns, and plans with God, He convicts me if they are not in His perfect will. I then have a choice to pursue them, knowing I am going outside of His will, or change them. Often God eliminates things from our prayer lives because we have prayed them selfishly. God has a loving and quiet, but firm way to put us in remembrance of His word if we have stored it in our hearts and minds. Through His Word, and its application in our lives, we can discern what we should and shouldn’t ask of Him. God will lead us to make adjustments to our requests as needed. Aren’t you glad God has not answered every one of your prayers exactly as you have asked them? What a mess our lives would be if He did! Some of the greatest blessings of our lives come after God’s kind, “No,” answer to some of our requests. God sometimes shortens, and other times edits our want lists to be able to give us blessings that are the best He has to offer. He refocuses and corrects our requests when needed!

When you need a listening ear you can be certain of an answer to your prayers. Remember if you will, that John was speaking to spiritual Christians who had a strong faith. They knew and wanted God’s perfect will for their lives. They were praying as Jesus taught them to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.” The psalmist said that “if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts.” We need to remember that God wants to answer our prayers. He doesn’t have to be convinced. “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matt. 21:22 NIV84). The person to whom Jesus spoke began to weep and said, “Lord, I believe, Help thou mine unbelief.” Have you been honest enough with God to pray that prayer? It works! When I pray for something that is overwhelming to me, and my faith is being tested, I pray that same petition and it lends great strength to the prayer itself and to those for whom I am praying. John said, “And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:15 NIV). God will answer any prayer that is in keeping with His will for you. He always answers: “yes, no, or wait.” Don’t be too timid to ask. Ask believing! Examine your request to be sure that it matches the teachings of God’s Word. God is looking for lives that are in sync with His will in our daily walk. Look at your life and see if there are any course corrections you need to make. God loves obedience. You cannot be obedient without internalizing a lot of His Word.

It’s great to know that we have a listening ear!!!

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The painting in my logo is by an artist named Kelly O'Neill.

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