Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Why Does He hear Me?

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

"...the Father Himself loves you because you have loved Me and believed that I came from God." John 16:27

Struggling with a self-focus in prayer
In my praying, I am constantly battling the thought that I am earning "merits" so to speak - the thought that because I pray, God is pleased with me and rewards my good behavior by answering my prayer. The negative side of that thinking is also present - that if I could word my prayer just right or pray longer or more often, then I could move God's heart to act.

Nothing could be further from the truth! God's answer does not depend on how good I can make my prayer or how often or long I pray. I am not earning kudos every time I bend my knee. The only reason He hears me in the first place is because of Christ's goodness and grace. Jesus has made me righteous and acceptable in God's sight (Phil. 3:9). I cannot come to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6) and His unmerited grace.

So then, why does God hear and answer me?
He answers for His Son's sake - to glorify Himself in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. God is pleased to hear and answer me because I come in the name of Jesus. What I do will not impress God. How can I compete with the perfection of Christ or why would I want to? He hears me because I love His Son. That is what pleases God.

Then when I come into God's presence with adoration for my Savior, that gets God's attention. And I cannot fake that love. God knows when my heart is fervent with love for Christ. He also sees when I come with self-gratifying motives. Jesus said in John 16:27, "...the Father Himself loves you because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God."

How absurd is it to think that I can impress God?
Furthermore, a completely different thing happens when I come into God's presence. He is not at all impressed by my "devoutness in prayer". The truth is that when I come into God's presence, I am changed. I am impressed. No! I am astonished by Him! "...In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11
there are pleasures forevermore. there are pleasures forevermore.
Being at His throne of grace, praying to a God who should never have loved me - according to my own faulty standards of how to earn favor with others - transforms me. He turns my gloom into rejoicing. He turns me from my self-focus to His sovereign and gracious purposes. He forgives my sin, again. I become aware once more of His glorious and eternal grace for my messy soul. I am reminded of God's love for me which fuels my adoration for my Savior.

What absurdity it is then to think that I can impress God? To think that I can gain His favor by "behaving" a certain way! How silly to think that I could be in league with the sinless Savior. I am actually, without realizing it, trying to prove to God that I am more transcendent than my Savior.

But how can I impress God when Jesus is beside Him, seated at His right hand - the flawless, glorious, magnificent and incomparable Son of God? In truth, my effort to impress God with my "devotion" is really an effort to marginalize my Savior. What a flagrant sin that is when understood in this way!

God hears me because I love Jesus
God's love for me is real. He loves me - the Bible tells me so! He delights to hear from me when I come to Him with sincere devotion to Christ. Would you not love the one who adores your own child, the one who desires to see your child benefited and spoken well of to others? Would you not love the one who avails himself to see that your aspirations for your child are carried out because he recognizes that they are good, needful and important? Would you not then offer to that friend your resources knowing that your child would be greatly honored ultimately?

Photo by Tim Cooper on Unsplash

This is why God avails His resources to me. I long to see Christ glorified, lifted up, benefited through my life, my body and my all. This is why God hears me. He knows when my heart is truly set on loving His Son and that is when I pray according to His glorious will.

And He answers the prayer that is according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). When I pray this way God sees that my heart's motive is love for Christ. He answers my prayer for His Son's sake - for His glory. He loves to hear and answer the prayer that is carried into His presence on the wings of love for Christ. It is music to His listening ear.

Praise be to God for this precious truth! Lord, may I love Your Son in this manner. May my every prayer be influenced, permeated and saturated with sincere adoration for the One through whom I come.

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