“I LOVE THE LORD BECAUSE HE HEARS MY VOICE AND MY PRAYER FOR MERCY. BECAUSE HE BENDS DOWN TO LISTEN, I WILL PRAY AS LONG AS I HAVE BREATH!” (Psalm 116:1-2 NLT)
All of us have experienced frustration from lack of communication with a relative, spouse or close friend. It can be devastating to the relationship. It is not an exaggeration to say that when effective communication is taking place, the relationship grows and when it is not, the relationship deteriorates. The more we care, the more we want to communicate with the other person. It is no different in our relationship to God. If we are not communicating, our relationship is dying. “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 ESV).
In an earlier lesson, we said that meditation is listening to God and prayer is talking to God. Meditation and prayer are our best communication paths with God.
A concept that is hard for us to grasp is that God wants to hear us speak to him. He doesn’t need this because he doesn’t know our situation (“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8 ESV), but because he wants us to flourish with him. I might illustrate this by asking if any of you parents have seen your child struggling, knew what they need to help the situation, but waited until you were asked before you got involved? You did that not because you wanted to see the child suffer but, rather, to allow the child to grow. If parents are smart enough to figure this out, should it surprise us that God knows it too? Not only does he care about us but “he bends down to listen” (Psalm 116:2). That’s someone who wants to know what you are saying! You are important to God.
Sometimes we think that we’ve been too bad or are “just not good enough” that God would want to hear from us. At this point we could take a lesson from Daniel to help us understand why God will hear us: “Give ear, our God, and hear…. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy” (Daniel 9:18 NIV). Daniel says “LORD we are not making our request based on our righteousness. We are making our request based on your great mercy.”
The lessons to keep in mind are:
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