Does God Really Listen?
Read Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Have you ever felt like God didn’t hear or listen to your prayer? How did that turn out in the end?
“Is God even listening to my prayers?” Maybe you or someone you love has uttered those very words. And I get it. Sometimes, we wonder because we don’t audibly hear from God or no angelic being arrives on scene to answer our questions. Sometimes, we pray and pray for the same thing but it seems like He isn’t answering us. Does God even hear us when we pray?
When we go back to the Bible with that question, we get a resounding yes! God does hear our prayers. In today’s passage, the author of Hebrews says that we can approach God’s throne with confidence. When we do, we will receive mercy and grace when we need it. But how? How can sinners boldly approach a holy God? Only through our great high priest, Jesus.
Under the Old Covenant, a high priest would intercede for and offer sacrifices on behalf of the Jewish people because of their sin. Unfortunately, the high priests had to do this all the time because people continued to sin. Plus, the high priests themselves were sinful human beings—until Jesus left His throne in heaven and came down to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. He was truly the Lamb without blemish. Because He was tempted in every way and yet never sinned, He was the perfect, once and for all sacrifice that we needed! That makes Him not just the unblemished Lamb that was slain for us but also our great high priest! Our intercessor! We know that God hears us because Jesus made a way for us to approach God!
But God is more than just a good listener. God understands what we are going through because God the Son experienced it, too. As today’s verse says, we have a High Priest who gets it! He can relate and can sympathize with our struggles and temptations. He knows what it is like to be flesh and blood.
But today’s passage isn’t the only place in Scripture that confirms that God hears us when we pray. The prophet Isaiah attests to this truth as well in Isaiah 65:24: “Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.”
King David praised God for hearing his prayers in Psalm 18:6, “In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.”
In 1 Samuel 1, we meet Hannah who prayed for a son year after year after year. Infertility broke her heart, but she was persistent in her prayers until one day, God responded. “And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked for him from the LORD’” (1 Samuel 1:20). The LORD answered her persistent prayers. Hannah and Elkanah were not the only couple to be blessed with a baby after years of barrenness and even in old age. The Bible is full of miracle babies.
Another amazing example of answered prayer is in Acts 16:25-26 when Paul and Silas were praying in prison and the doors were miraculously opened because of an earthquake!
Friends, I encourage you to go back to the Bible on an “answered prayer scavenger hunt.” What you find will encourage you to keep on praying. He can hear you, He is listening, He does understand, and He cares. But what about when God doesn’t give us what we ask for? Join us tomorrow for more about how prayer works.
Jesus, thank You for being our intercessor and our great high priest. Thank You for making a way for me to be able to boldly and confidently approach the throne of God and receive grace and mercy. Thank You for listening to my prayers. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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