The sounds my 10 month old son makes are some of my favorite sounds in all the world. His jabbering will some day change into actual words, but for now I am happy to sit and listen and watch. He can tell me so much with his facial expression, but even more so with his eyes. While to me his grunts and repeated sounds can seem cute or funny, I am often reminded that he is taking part in a very deep need for all people. The need to be heard. The need to be known. I hope that he will always want to talk to me throughout all of the challenges that life will throw at him. I hope that he will have a confidence that when he speaks to me I will listen, always seeking to be present with him. It amazes me time and again that we have this same ability, an even stronger relationship with the father in the gift of prayer. We can have confidence that we are heard and known by our loving God who is always present. We simply need to speak.
It seems like a common lament of many Christians can be a lack of prayer life. I often find myself lacking in this at times when the busyness of everyday life seems to take control. You find yourself tired and seeking just a moment to unwind. Sure the dinner and bedtime prayers still happen but the true time spent just being in the presence of God is missed. It can develop into a routine and then we wonder why God may feel distant or we may feel alone. We are not hearing from or being heard by the one who matters most. We see others who seem to have a vibrant prayer life and are thriving in their relationship with the Lord, and we wonder why we don’t have that, when in fact the Father is right there waiting to speak and listen. We know this because we have the example of Jesus and the countless brothers and sisters who have walked with God before us. We can walk with God in this confidence thanking him for hearing us.
In the scriptures, we see Jesus repeatedly make time for prayer. In fact it is with prayer that he approached every facet of his life. He lived and breathed the amazing gift of prayer with the father. Our deep need for prayer should mirror the son. If Christ needed the presence of the father this much, how much more so with us! Christ’s confidence that the father hears our prayers should strengthen our own. We can approach the creator of all things in prayer as Christ did calling him father and be assured that he is listening, that he is present. In the Garden of Gethsemane, shortly before his arrest, torture and eventual crucifixion, Christ prayed to the Father in this way.
And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you.
Remove this cup from me.
Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36
In this beautiful moment, we are given example of how we should approach prayer. We are seeking our father. We are seeking his ear, his presence, and we have the assurance that he is listening. In the recounting of the raising of Lazarus in John, Jesus once again seeks the Father and cements the confidence that we should have when seeking God in prayer.
“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you
always hear me, but I said this on account of the people
standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” John 11:41-42
God always hears us. When we seek him we are heard and known. We seek him as father. When we look at prayer this way the vibrant prayer life we seek becomes more like something we absolutely need. It becomes almost like the air we breath, and we thank God for it.
As my son grows older I look forward to the many conversations and “talks” we will have. I will always try to be there to listen and simply be with him, but sometimes I will fail. I will understand him as much as one human can, but it will always pale in comparison to how God understands him. I look forward to teaching him about prayer, and the one who knows him best, who hears him perfectly. And to this I say to God, thank you for hearing me.