When I pray, how do I really know that God is listening? Quiet as it’s kept, a lot of people secretly ask themselves this question.
Prayer is best simply defined as having a conversation and when we converse with God it should be like conversing with one of our best friends. The only difference in conversations is that God doesn’t typically respond audibly nor immediately. However, you can rest assured that when you speak, He hears you and He will always answer you.
I John 5:14-15 reminds all believer of this truth, “ And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know He hears us when we make our requests, we also know that He will give us what we ask for.”
In the above passages of text John relates the idea of confidence in prayer to our salvation in Christ. In other words, if we know that we are saved, sealed and delivered, than we should equally possess the same conviction that when we communicate to God, He hears every spoken and/or unspoken prayer.
Once we get comfortable with the idea that God hears our prayers the next conflict arises when we don’t get what we prayed for. Too often believers skip right over the suffix of v13. John says, if we ask according to His will not our will! A common—but only partly correct—idea about prayer is that its purpose is to get things from God and to change His mind regarding the course of events.
Oh but on the contrary, prayer is not just about getting what you ask for, but about living in peace even when you don’t get what we want. Prayer removes anxiety and restores understanding in both heart and mind. Philippians 4:6-7 confirms, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus said in Matthew 6:8: “Therefore do not be like [the hypocrites]. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” This verse leads into the model prayer, indicating that we should not pray with the idea that we are bringing something new to God. It also introduces the thought that the purpose of prayer is not to overcome God’s reluctance to answer and give but rather to lay hold of His willingness to help us toward His perspective, the fulfillment of His purpose, and into His Kingdom. The overall emphasis in our requests, then, must be inclined toward His purpose and will.
I’ll close with this reminder: God sees, God knows, God cares, and if you have time to pray (according to His will), God takes time to listen!