“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Perhaps you recall the story of LeRoy, the bad little boy, who simply wanted a new bicycle. In a moment of bold courage, LeRoy asked his mother directly if he could have a new bicycle. His mother, seeing that LeRoy might be in a teachable moment urged him to write Jesus a letter and pray for a new bicycle.
LeRoy bolted upstairs to his room and sat down at his desk. He took out a clean sheet of paper and began his letter to Jesus, “Dear Jesus, this year I have been a good boy. Please give me a new bike. Your friend, LeRoy.” He immediately tore up that sheet of paper knowing the God would know that, in fact, he had not been a good boy at all and he wouldn’t have a chance at the new bicycle.
After several other drafts that he was certain God would see straight through and deny his request, LeRoy became frustrated and decided to go outside for walk around the neighborhood. He happened upon a large church with statues and pictures of various people from the Bible. He sat down in the sanctuary and glanced around at the different statues.
In a moment of inspiration, LeRoy grabbed a small statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and ran home, up the stairs, into his room, and he proceeded to hide the statue of Mary under his bed. He, then, sat at this desk and began another letter to Jesus, which read, “Dear Jesus, I’ve got your mama. If you ever want to see her again, give me a new bike.” He signed it, “you know who!”
Do you ever feel like you have to get God’s attention like LeRoy? Perhaps you have tried to leverage your obedience and goodness to get God to listen to you, to a gain a hearing with Him. Sometimes we feel as though we have to jump through hoops to get God to notice and hear. Sometimes we feel as though we need to back God into a corner to get what we want and need.
Thankfully, the Bible reminds us again and again that God is a God who listens to His people. 2 Chronicles 7:14 teaches us that when God’s people pray, He listens!
1 John 5 teaches us that our confidence before God is that He is a God who hears his people! Matthew 7 teaches us that when we ask, seek, and knock, God is listening and generous – better than the best parent on earth. It is unmistakable – the God of the Bible is a God who hears. God listens! We do not need to trick Him into caring, hearing, or providing. We do not need to prove how good we have been or promise to be in order for God to hear us when we pray. He is listening, listening, listening!
If His ears are open, if he is engaged and gracious, if his eyes of concern and love are upon us and our needs, the question becomes, “Are we speaking to God? Are we asking, seeking, and knocking? Are we humbling ourselves and praying to this God who cares and hears and acts?”
Thomas Watson, a pastor from long ago, encourages us to pray to the God who listens: “Prayer delights God’s ear; it melts His heart; it opens His hand. Plead with him earnestly and either He will remove the affliction or He will remove your impatience.”
May you speak to this gracious God today and see His ear delighted, His heart melted, and His hand opened in love and provision for you!