He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision. Daniel 9:22-23(NIV).
When does God hear our prayers? Easy: as soon as we begin to pray. Don’t believe me? Reread these verses. Then read Isaiah 65. God hears our prayers as we say them, silent or silent or spoken. He knows what we are going to say before we even say it.
So why pray? If He knows what we’re going to say before we say it, why put us through the (sometimes) humiliating experience of having to say it? You know why. It’s for you.
No, this isn’t to shame or guilt you into praying. God gave us a free world to live in as free people of choice. He doesn’t want you to be compelled or forced to believe in Him, or talk with Him. He does want us to willingly bring our inmost thoughts and feelings to Him, though. God asks us to bring all our troubles, successes, thoughts, wishes, everything to Him in prayer, as an ongoing conversation. Not because we have to, but because we want to. Why?
Love. Love isn’t forced, not with the real God. Even love here on the Third Rock isn’t forced. Everyone wants to be in love. Even Osama Bin Laden, Che Guevera, and Adolf Hitler wanted to be in love. God is real love and He wants us to share in Him and it. Because of that, He doesn’t force us to say what’s on our hearts, doesn’t force us to come to Him. Allah forces you. A thousand Hindu earth-gods coerce you. The self-focus of Buddhism compels you. But the triune God of the Christian faith doesn’t force you to love Him. Or to pray to Him.
And He hears us anyway. As soon as we speak.
God sent Gabriel to give another divine revelation to Daniel. He did this because He listened to Daniel’s prayers and saw that Daniel was in earnest. Daniel prayed selflessly, and honestly, for the state of his people, Israel. He prayed for their return to Jerusalem, and the restoration of God’s temple there. And he prayed when he didn’t have to. You and I get to do the same thing, any time we want, in fact. When we do, rest assured that God not only hears our prayers: He hears them as we were speaking.
For further reading: Isaiah 65:24, Amos 3:7, Matthew 24:15, Luke 1:28, Daniel 9:24
Lord God, hear my prayers today and the things most on my heart. Comfort my weary mind and body. When I don’t know what to say, put Your holy words on my lips so I can speak with You.
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