One of the greatest questions posed by any believer is, “God, do you hear me?” Likewise, one of the things that keeps the unsaved away from God is the belief that He doesn’t hear us — or at least He doesn’t respond.
I’d like to deal with this question from the perspective of both the saved and the unsaved.
(Spoiler alert: God not only HEARS you but He ANSWERS you!)
John 11:41-42 (ESV) 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
One of the things we discover from searching the Gospels is that Jesus was a man of prayer. He spent a great deal of time in prayer. Now, this is interesting because He is God in the flesh (Romans 8:3). He also said that He and the Father are one (John 10:30).
This means that He had the mind of God. He knew God’s thoughts. And, in the core text, Jesus thanks the Father for always hearing Him! If this is true, why pray? But where this gets really deep is right here:
John 5:19 (ESV) 19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
Wait a minute — if Jesus had this amazing prayer life but He only did what He saw the father do, Whom, then, does the Father pray to.
Before we continue, we need to stop and stand the traditional prayer paradigm on its ear. Prayer is not a religious exercise, it is conversation. It is how our heavenly Father communicates with us. We speak and He listens. God operates faster than the speed of thought — nothing escapes Him!
Psalms 139:1-4 (ESV) 1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
Prayer is not a tool by which we bombard God with petitions until He responds. True prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue! When we jabber away at God without giving him a chance to reply, well, there’s a deep theological term for that…
It’s called being rude! And rudeness is un-Christlike! So stop it. Just like music is just noise without the rests between the notes, prayer requires silence on our part so that we hear from God.
Now that we’ve level-set on what prayer is, let’s get back to the original question — whom does God speak to?
He speaks to His triune Self!
Genesis 1:26 (ESV) 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
He speaks to Angels:
Psalms 91:11 (ESV) 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
And He speaks to people:
Matthew 17:5 (ESV) 5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
So, when Jesus prayed, He was simply doing what He saw the Father do! Because relationships require communication!
We see now that God definitely speaks, but does He listen. He heard Abraham, Moses, and David and responded to them. He definitely heard Jesus and responded to Him.
Which brings me to another question: where are you positionally? If you are in Christ, you are a joint-heir with Jesus (Romans 8:17). That means whatever Jesus has access to, you have access to! You can be fully persuaded that, because the Father hears and answers Jesus, that He will do the same for you!
This is awesome news for those in Christ. But what about those who haven’t even reached a sliver of Christ-consciousness? Well there’s good news for them, too. In Luke 18:13 we find a tax collector — a self proclaimed sinner — crying out to God. And Jesus said he went away justified (Luke 18:14).
Not only that, God has to hear you in order for your confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9-10) to have any meaning.
But, where it really hits home is that none of the people who Jesus fed, cleansed, healed, or raised from the dead were saved.
Not nary a one!
Many of these people cried out to Jesus before receiving from Him. And He heard them. And He responded!
When we go back to our core text, we see that this passage of scripture is in the context of the account of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Jesus was thanking God before Lazarus came out of the grave. Jesus put His praise ahead of His expectation. Watch what Jesus said before:
John 11:40 (ESV) 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
Faith is the means by which we know that God will answer and reveal His Glory to us! But there’s more:
John 11:42 (ESV) 2 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
Jesus is saying that He said these things to elevate the faith of those around Him!
It’s the faith of God not our faith in God that gets us saved. So we need to renew our minds here. We need to elevate our consciousness! We need to repent (change our minds). We need to exercise our God-given faith to the degree that we praise (thank) God for what He’s done — even before it manifests! Our Gratitude will determine our attitude and the altitude of the outcome!
God hears our prayers. And He answers…with results!!!