When I read Dr. John Koessler’s recent blog https://johnkoessler.com/2021/08/02/is-god-hard-of-hearing/ many thoughts flooded my mind. If you are a fellow prayer-struggler, I recommend you to take the time to read “Is God Hard of Hearing”.
After reading his thoughts, the following stirred in my heart.
I came to put my faith in Jesus over twenty-five years ago. It happened at the end of a common and wide path of stubborn self-sufficiency. While drunk one night, I stared into the barrel of a nine-millimeter (ok, maybe that part is not so common), fully intending to end my life.
God did not allow for my plans to succeed. Instead, He led me through those dark days to Jesus.
Someone told me I should invite Him into my heart. I did. I had nothing else left.
So, I asked Jesus into my life in hopes He would fix all that I had wrecked (including my marriage which I had almost destroyed through an affair). Now, over two decades later, I look back and know He heard my very simple prayers. In many ways I still pray simple ones.
my prayers have also changed, not so much in content but in realizing where I stand when I pray.
When I asked Jesus into my heart, I believed He was there, that He came inside.
shortly after my conversion, the Spirit developed an unsatisfiable hunger for God’s truth in me. I longed to know all I could about Him. Among other books, I read Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy, a catalysts to changing my view on where I stood. I read about an omnipresent God. Many questions arose. How could I even have been in a position to minimize God and put Him inside of me, when all along I was in Him? Then, one cold and clear night as I took out the garbage, I sensed the expanse above me and the insignificance of my tiny being. An indescribable awe filled me, a fear I can’t describe. As if an invisible curtain opened, I remembered (and for the first time partly understood) God’s omnipresence. I became so keenly aware of God not in me but present throughout the entire universe. He was going before me, behind me, guiding me from within me. He pushed Himself into my small understanding. I was in Him. He was pressing into me, ridding me of my self. I felt safe, remembering Jesus’ love and His payment for me. My position changed. I no longer prayed to Him inside of me, I was addressing Him as Almighty, outside of my being, Creator, Master, All-knowing and Omnipresent God. I am not able to really put it all into words, and for lack of them, God became a lot bigger.
My desk sets against an egress window in my basement. Every so often mice and shrews fall into the well. If I don’t see them in time and take them out, they die. The other morning, two little shrews frantically scurried by my window. They stood on their tiny feet, looking desperately for an escape. I thought for a while and took a ladder and placed it in the well for the critters. I was trying to come up with a permanent solution – a once-and-for-all help for all fallen shrews. How stupid of me to think the large rungs would help them to escape. Of course they didn’t realize the big rescuing effort in front of their pointy noses. After several hours I climbed the ladder myself into the well, lured them into a box, and carried them out.
I wonder if we forget to speak about the greatness of God and his attributes, His plan to rescue man-kind? Might prayer be an opportunity to recognize our position rather than a reciting of petitions? Do we not know how fearful it is to step into His presence? Do we really understand our position in Christ and the shelter He provides us by His blood? I pray. I hear God. “Is my hand too short?” I weep, thinking of the reality of hell. I hear God, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” I am at a loss. I hear God. “Go make disciples!” I tire. I pray. I hear Jesus, “Come unto me.”
Maybe I am like those shews in more ways than I like to admit. Maybe I need a little box in the shape of my heart to be carried out into a much larger picture. I wasn’t made to fall into pits. I was created for a world so large my mind can’t imagine. I have come to believe that listening past the silence into His heart, is the only way I can know of His unfathomable, majestic, greatness. When I recognize his omnipresence (among other attributes), what else do I have left but to be in His will? When my eyes are opened to all His goodness, I can see He is already in my requests and has positioned me to see and hear Him in all I ask.
Dr. Koessler is right. The Scriptures will give us the truth by which we can hear past the silence into God’s character and goodness. His Word to us breaks the silence and brings us to know His great love for us.