Does God really listen to me?
by Emily Vanden Heuvel
God is listening
Does God really listen to me? Quick answer: yes! While we may find it hard to imagine that God cares enough about us to listen to our prayers, the Bible makes it very clear that he does.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him (1 John 5:14-15, emphasis added).
This passage in 1 John is just one example of many verses (Jeremiah 29:12-13, Psalm 66:17-20, Isaiah 65:24, to list a few) that remind us God listens to our prayers.
Jesus makes a way
We find a powerful source of strength for our prayer lives in an unexpected place in Scripture: the moment of Jesus’ death. The gospel of Mark (Mark 15:37-38) says that when Jesus died, the curtain inside the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This curtain separated the Most Holy Place from the rest of God's house. What was special about the Most Holy Place? It contained the Ark of the Covenant, where God himself dwelled. The Bible tells us (1 Kings 6) that the curtain was 60 feet tall, 30 feet wide, and as thick as a person’s hand. It separated people from the God whose presence they could not endure.
The curtain’s rip from top to bottom removed the physical barrier in the temple between God and his people but more importantly it removed the spiritual barrier between us and God, too. The Most Holy Place moved into the hearts of those who believe. We now have direct access to God and can pray to him with confidence. Christ's death removed all the barriers between us and God. Jesus has made us worthy and has given us the right to pray.
Pray with confidence
Timothy Keller, in his book Prayer, explains: “God is great, and we are small—God is perfect, and we are flawed. Temples were places where an effort was made to bridge the gap.... Because in Jesus God became human, he is not only the God on the other side of the chasm, he is the bridge over the gap. Thus he is the mediator of a new relationship with God that cannot fail because it is based on his faithfulness, not ours” (p. 74-75). Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the weight of our sin and shame is gone, we have been forgiven, and we can boldly go into the presence of God with all of our prayers.
We pray with confidence because we pray in the name of our mediator, Jesus Christ. I like to think about this new relationship like crossing a bridge to explore a new place. Or maybe it's like receiving an all-access pass. No matter what you need and no matter the circumstance you find yourself in, you can always pray and God will always listen.
Drawing near to God
Remember this promise:
”Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings” (Hebrews 10:19-22b, emphasis added).
Even when we feel unloved and unworthy, God listens to our prayers because of the work of Jesus Christ. So pray with confidence, knowing that God loves you and is listening.