Hard of hearing
From Psalm 28:1:
“To you I call, O LORD my Rock;
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.”
From Psalm 39:12:
“Hear my prayer, O Lord,
listen to my cry for help;
be not deaf to my weeping.”
Sometimes, it seems that God doesn’t hear our prayer(s). To be more precise, we don’t always get answers to our prayers that we are aware of.
Prayer might start of as a simple request. It’s something like a brief mention of a need to our heavenly Father. As time goes on, and need becomes more acute, prayer becomes more earnest and urgent.
Then, Christians really ratchet things up. We fast, we ask others to pray for us, we “look for the sin in our lives”. We become introspective and self-judgmental.
Most of these activities are good. The last two, however, can be the condition Martin Luther called incurvitas; that is, “curved in on oneself”.
Don’t get me wrong. I think we live in a society and a culture that lacks self-reflection (TMZ is proof of that). Most people could define sin, but don’t believe it pertains to them.
What I am referring to is the belief that my prayer is not heard because of some deep, unknown sin in my life.
Perhaps this is the case. Think of David. He wasn’t very self-reflective. In fact he was a gross sinner as he took Bathsheba from Uriah. His arrogance and sin litters the story.
But, it was Nathan who had to point out his sin to him. He was blind to it (or, he excused it). Self-referential self examination is not objective.
So, what are we to do if our prayers are not heard? More to the point; what are we to do if our needs and security are not met?
Express yourself. This is not just a song from Madonna. Honesty in prayer is utterly critical. Tell God you’re frustrated. Ask Him to examine you and reveal any sin. Don’t get caught up in “trying to solve the problem”; that will only lead to frustration and anger.
Ask God your Father not to turn a deaf ear to you. Ask Him to hear you. And why? Because you are such a good prayer? Because you are so law-abiding or morally upright? Because you fasted for eight hours?
No. Because God poured His wrath out on His only Son to open up the Holy of Holies to His Children.
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
This is preceded by Hebrews 4:14-15, “we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,e Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses …”
And, this Son of God, this Word who is our prayer is praying for you too. To the Glory of His Holy Name, Amen.