Promises: God Hears Your Prayers
The promise of God to hear prayers is for all those who come confessing their sins and seeking divine pardon in and through Christ alone, who made atonement for our sins on Calvary’s tree where He hung despised and rejected for our sakes.
A few years back, there was a clever trend afoot that brought light amusement to some and great annoyance to others. Friends and family members would record a voicemail greeting that began with a cheery “hello,” only to pause for a few seconds before launching into the rest of the greeting, “I can’t come to the phone right now.” That brief interlude was just long enough to prompt many of us – myself included – to launch into conversation. Having been greeted by a familiar voice, you could reasonably assume to be speaking with (and heard by) your loved one on the other end of the call. But instead you had fallen prey to cheap trickery. What few words passed your lips dissipated in futility, left unheard like the crash of a tree in an uninhabited rainforest. The promise of a friendly hearing was broken as the rest of the voicemail greeting bombarded your unsuspecting ears. With thanks to God and confidence in His promises, we can be grateful that such is never the case when we call upon His Name in prayer.
God in His Word speaks of an unbreakable promise of what we might call “a friendly hearing” at His throne of grace. Christians in the midst of spiritual warfare are counseled, “draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (Jas. 4:8). This assurance of God’s readiness to commune with us in our acts of devotion flows out of the very nature and character of God, whom David addresses with the salutation, “O You who hear prayer” (Ps. 65:2). We might render David’s words as “O Hearer of Prayer” or “O Prayer-Hearer.” This is rightly to be regarded as a divine title, for it is our Triune God who guides us in prayer by the Spirit, perfects our prayers in and through Christ, and receives – or hears – our prayers before the Father’s throne. He promises to hear the prayers of His people, for He cannot deny Himself.
However, God’s Word does confront us with solemn warnings and threats against impenitent prayer. Christ cautioned His disciples not to pray like the hypocrites do, for social advancement and the esteem of men (Matt. 6:5). Neither should we pray like heathens, with vain multiplication of words and phrases (Matt. 6:7), divorced from any kind of intelligible meaning or spiritual efficacy. To call upon the Name of the Lord as a godless hypocrite or as a superstitious unbeliever is powerless. This sobering reality finds expression in Job’s rhetorical questions, “What is the hope of the godless (KJV: hypocrite) when he is cut off, when God requires his life? Will God hear his cry when distress comes upon him? Will he take delight in the Almighty? Will he call on God at all times?” (Job 27:8-10).