Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Psalm 65:2a; 66:18-20 NASB

O You who hear prayer... If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear; but certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.  Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer, nor His lovingkindness from me.

My tendency, if someone shares something with me, is to drive toward a solution to their problem.  I want to fix things and, if not careful, begin to talk instead of listen.  But the greatest evidence of real caring isn't in shooting them a solution, but in listening.  My wife will often tell me, "I just want you to listen to me."  That means, stop what I'm doing, put down the book, or turn off the TV, turn full face toward Sarah, and thereby let her know she has my full attention.  She's not interested in my "solutions".  The person with all the answers is generally a controller rather than a companion.  All Sarah wants to know is that I care enough to listen to what matters to her and, as I give her my full attention, somehow, if she has been struggling with something, she feels better, just because I listened.  But, interestingly enough, when I enter into listening rather than trying to fix everything, our relationship deepens.  I have actually entered into her life by giving her my attention and affection and we draw closer together.  We could learn something from this in our relationship with God.  The greatest thing about Him is, "He's a listener".  He cares so deeply and intimately and  gives us His full attention.  We know He can do anything, but when we begin to treat Him as our problem solver alone, He is no different than someone we look for in the Yellow Pages, whom we call to come and fix something.  The thing I love the most about God is this truth the Psalmist captured in Psalm 65:2a:  "O You who hear prayer..."  Think of that!  When you pray; He listens!  Surely, our greatest hindrance in our relationship with God is that we have relegated prayer to a consumer mentality.  This is the problem with the world.  Though they will not readily admit it, they pray a lot, but their prayers are always consumer in thinking, seeking Him only for something they want on an emergency call.  He's "Joe the plumber".  God is nothing but a Jeanne in a bottle to them.  Does God hear them.  No!  Psalm 66:18 says, "If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear."  O church, let's redeem prayer from this sludge.  May God help us to shift from consumerism to communion again.  If we make this shift, we will again be able to say with deep feeling:  "But certainly God has heard, He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.  Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer, nor His lovingkindness from me."  Amen!

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