Does God Really Hear Prayers

Is God Really Hearing My Prayers?
By Rock Kitaro
Date – March 8, 2019

billy-graham-praying

Every once in a while, I fall into brief bouts of depression, short spells that last two or three days. It’s usually triggered whenever circumstances force me to slow down and I have no choice, or rather it gradually becomes apparent that I’m missing out on a lot.

What most people do for “fun”…isn’t fun for me. I can’t help but see how different I am from my peers…and all of it makes me sad and lonely.

Like I said…this doesn’t happen often. But as long as I live in a society, I believe its human nature to compare yourself to others every once in a while. It can’t be helped.

During a recent conversation with my mother, a strong believer of Christ, she asked me if I trusted in God with my whole heart.

Without hesitation, I said yes. 100%. Understandably, she had some reason to doubt me. In the Gospels, I recall Jesus mentioning a number of times how… “Happy is the man who trusts in Him…”

And of course, if I’m not happy it does beg the question if am I really trusting in God? It led me to an interesting thought in which I may have surprised myself more than I surprised my mother. I asked her:

“Was Jesus happy? While he was here on earth, was he happy in the general sense? Sure the Bible mentions that there were times when he was happy. But also times when he was indignant. Or what about Jeremiah? Or Isaiah? Or Elijah? Or the Twelve Apostles or the Apostle Paul? Were these happy individuals? Happy to be doing God’s will, sure. But other than that…”

This requires deep thought and for the topic of this essay, I don’t want to dwell too much on answering that. Because, as humans, I believe everyone runs the gauntlet of emotions in which we experience happiness, sadness, triumph, victory and defeat. But overall, in the big picture, it is food for thought to consider whether men of God who sought to serve him and do what was good in his eye, were happy…living on this earth, amongst human societies.

And the reason why these thoughts prevail…As a man who’s read the Bible in its entirety, cover to cover, I believe it’s incumbent upon me to serve as a good example to others. God is my salvation, my rock, my hope. But if I was a non-believer, or someone who was on the fence about wanting to learn the true character of God, and they saw me looking down and depressed on a chronic level…it doesn’t exactly make for good advertisement.

Meaning, why would someone want to read the Bible in its entirety and strive to put God first in their lives…if they’re witnessing the complete abysmal state of someone else who’s doing that? Thus, I feel responsible. I have to fight back that which is bringing me down and remember God’s grace. But I need his help. I can’t do it alone. And so I pray…

I pray everyday when I leave my home for the strength, patience, and wisdom to deal with whatever may come. I pray when I’m faced with a challenge. I pray before I leave work, thanking him for getting me through it. I pray before I hit the boxing gym, asking that he help keep my body intact. And when I come home, after a hard day’s work and near depleted from working out…I sit in the same spot on my couch and bow my head, truly reflecting on the day, what I’ve done, how far I’ve come and where I want to be.

I beg his forgiveness for I know I have sinned. I know my weakness, my propensity to desire badness towards those who have crossed me. I know my weakness to sometimes lust after women who are no good for me. So I pray and beg him to continue to be with me. I pray that he blesses me with the strength to continue on, to hold my head up and keep the faith. I pray that his will be done. And I pray that I forever continue to strive and seek first the kingdom of heaven.

If I pray so fervently on a daily basis and claim to trust God 100%…how could I ever face bouts of depression? Doesn’t sound right, does it?

And last week, I watched a documentary about the evangelist, Billy Graham. This was an awesome man who lived to be 99 years old. And I confess, I wept as I watched him. From what I learned, he truly did so much to spread the Gospel to hundreds of millions throughout the world. And he seemed happy doing it. He appeared to have a loving wife, loyal children, and productive grandchildren. This was a man of God, in my opinion, who truly put God first in his life and from what I saw, he seemed happy.

But still. It was a documentary. It’s kind of like Facebook, or reunions where people share the highlight of their lives…while keeping the lowlights, the dark chapters tucked in the closet. I think that’s the case with me. It’s not like I’m miserable. I laugh and I smile a lot. But I confess…it’s tough.

Thus, my mother hit me with a question that left me dumbstruck for about five seconds. She asked… “Do you think God is hearing your prayers?”

As she continued to follow up with skepticism about whether or not I’m doing what’s good in God’s eyes, I took a moment to really evaluate the question. “Do I think God is hearing my prayers?”

And it made me smile, the conclusion I reached. I told her:

“Honestly, I don’t think there’s ever been a time in which I ever doubted God was listening to my prayer. I know he is. It’s part of that absolute trust and faith that I have in him.”

And I meant it. In my heart, I await God’s judgment. If I were to walk out of my home tomorrow and saw Jesus Christ returning on the clouds of glory to come and rid wickedness from this earth as it’s foretold…I wouldn’t dread it. I wouldn’t fear or run or scream or try to hide. I’ve dreamt of it. I know without a shred of doubt that I’d smile with open arms. Whether God thinks I’m deserving of life or death, punishment or grace, I submit to his judgment. Honestly, I can’t wait. Sometimes when I pray for the day, I weep thinking of how glorious the day would be.

I know that makes me sound somewhat like a fanatic…but if you knew the history I know about this world, what has happened, what is still going on all across the globe…I truly believe that you too would welcome the return of Jesus Christ with the utmost relief, like a flowing oasis in the middle of a scorching desert.

But of course…as a true intellectual, my belief and theories are just that without the pillars of evidence to support my conclusion. So…I went to the source, keeping in mind the question, “Does God hear my prayers?”

In Lamentations 3:8 it says “though i cry out for help, God shuts out my prayer.” This was Jeremiah speaking his wailings in the time of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem. For those who don’t know…circa 600BC, Jerusalem was a very immoral place. For generations, God’s own people turned their backs on him by worshiping false gods, indulging in immorality and vice, and even sacrificed their children in the service of these false Gods. Time and time again, God sent prophets to warn them, to warn their kings to do the right thing. But Judah did not listen.

Thus…God passed judgment on his own people. And even still, in his infinite grace, God used Jeremiah to warn the people of the sentence he passed. Jeremiah told the kings and the people that a hammer, an army from the north would sweep through and destroy them. God chose King Nebuchadnezzar and the army of Babylon as the instrument of his wrath to discipline his people. Not to wipe them out completely. But to punish them severely for their iniquities.

In the book of Jeremiah, God repeatedly tells Jeremiah not to pray for the unrepentant ones of Judah because of their perpetual sin. And in Lamentations, he confirms that at the very least…if God does not hear it, he does indeed “shut out the prayer”.

So… If God doesn’t answer your prayer, is that an indication that he doesn’t hear your prayer? Or that he has “shut out your prayers”?

I don’t believe that’s the case. We have to understand that everything God does, he doesn’t have to do it at all. He owes us nothing. But he gives us according to his grace, love, and generosity. God answers prayers according to his will and at the time of his choosing. In Jeremiah there were instances where he prayed on behalf of the people and it took ten days for God to answer. In the case of Joseph who was falsely accused of sexual misconduct (sound familiar?) and imprisoned, even after he correctly interpreted the dreams by God’s grace, it would take him another three years before he was released.

Then there’s the example of Job. Job is probably the ultimate example of how bad things happen in which we have no explanation and will probably never learn the reasons why. Job never knew why God allowed Satan to strip him of his possessions and destroy his loved ones. And Job’s friends did their utmost with convincing arguments to say Job was guilty of all the afflictions. He wasn’t. If was due to a conversation God had with Satan, and really by God’s good grace and wisdom that he chose Job to have this happen to, knowing Job would not curse him and instead maintained faith as a shining example for billions who would go through trials and tribulations in the future.

That’s why I have faith. I ask God for his blessing every day as well as the strength and patience to wait. If I feel like I’ve been waiting an eternity, I have to remind myself that it just might be that God in his infinite wisdom is preparing me mentally and physically with experiences to handle that which I have asked for…like preparing me to be a man who would be a loving husband and devoted father.

Or it could be that he’s preparing me for another mission that I’m not currently ready to embark on. It may also well be that God is using me as an example for others, to test me, refine me, and punish me should I dare slip up and turn my back on his Word.

No matter what, we must never falter in doing our part by continuing to pray and have faith. Trust in him and if you lose focus or start to doubt, remember the examples he provided for us in the Bible. You think you have it worse than Job? Or Jonah? Or Jeremiah? Trust in Jehovah, our heavenly father. Always.

In conclusion, does God hear your prayers? Yes. Does he answer or deliver on all of them? That’s up to Him. But for your part, it should be irrelevant in your faith and trust in Him. And striving to put God first in your life certainly couldn’t hurt your chances.

And feel free to check out my essay of Job and Human Suffering. I think it might help improve one’s perspective. Thanks for reading!

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s