Is God Listening?
Updated: Mar 23
True story ahead. One night in late fall of 2006 just before prayer time, I asked my young son, Austin (9 years old at the time), if he ever prayed to God without Mom and Dad around. He hesitated and then replied that he had prayed on his own but was not 100% sure if God really did hear his prayers. I asked him if he ever tried praying for something that was on his heart and then listened for God’s answer the next day. He thought about it a minute and answered, "Mom, how can I hear God’s voice? It’s not like I can ask Him a question and hear His voice for an answer.” So, I tried to give an explanation a 9-year-old child could grasp. I explained, “Well, for example, let’s say the poor or those in need have been on your heart and you pray to God to please help the poor and needy with things like food, clothes and medicine. An example of an answer from God that He hears you would be that perhaps you would receive an unexpected letter in the mail the next day from a person living in poverty.” Austin nodded his head and seemed satisfied with that answer as he replied that he could see how God could answer prayers through things that happen around us like that.
The very next evening I had forgotten our conversation. Right before bed, I quickly went through the mail as I usually did and then walked upstairs intending to go to bed. I hesitated and then decided to check on the boys (our two boys slept in the same room). I quietly went into their room and said a last goodnight to Austin who was still awake and turned to go out of the room but stopped short and said, “Oh, by the way, did you pray to God last night?” Austin shared that he had prayed but God did not answer his prayer. I simply said, “Oh, I see. Well what did you pray?” He explained that the poor and needy really were on his heart and that he prayed that very prayer I had given as an example the night before. My heart skipped a beat as I suddenly realized the significance of the mail I had just opened before coming upstairs to go to bed. I ran downstairs and brought up to Austin a letter we had received that very morning from a young girl living in Africa we had begun sponsoring not too long before. Austin had never received a letter from a “poor” person before. Austin, Alex and I had been praying for this little girl and her family every day for the past few months. As Austin lie in bed reading this letter with his mouth hanging open, he exclaimed with tears in his eyes, “I believe 100% that God hears my prayers.” I confess. When I have doubt that God hears my prayers, which is more often than I'd like to admit, I close my eyes and place myself back in this moment with my young son when my heart was so full of gratitude and certainty that God our Father, our Creator and Lover of our soul, is always listening and hears every prayer we lift up.
Written March 5, 2019
(Featured artwork Searching for Answers by Anita Zotkina)