Day 16 of 21 • This day’s reading

1 John 1:9
Psalm 34:15
Hebrews 11:1

Day 16: Does God Always Hear Our Prayers?

We’ve previously unpacked what prayer is, the types of prayers and motivations, and the power that comes with genuine prayer. Despite it all, sometimes it comes down to this simple question, “Does God hear our prayers?”

The basic answer is that if we’re walking with the Lord to the best of our abilities, then yes, He does. Yet, the Bible shows many reasons why God doesn’t listen in certain circumstances, such as deliberately breaking God’s commandments (Psalm 66:18), ignoring the cries of the needy (Proverbs 21:13), and keeping idols in the heart (Ezekiel 14:3). If we cherish sin or deliberately wander away from Him, God may shut his ears and stop listening.

But we all make mistakes, and God doesn’t ignore us if we humbly confess our sins. Regardless of the sin, habit, or lifestyle that’s not pleasing to God, if your heart genuinely seeks for forgiveness, God knows. He hears the cries of repentance and is faithful to forgive. In similar ways to fasting, God looks at the heart behind the prayer.

We may have ticked all the boxes, maintained righteousness before God, praying and fasting, but we’re still not hearing Him or seeing answers. A difficult part of unanswered prayer is that sometimes we’re not ready to receive. Oftentimes, it’s the tension between timing and waiting. Just because His timing doesn’t align with ours, doesn’t mean He doesn’t hear our prayers. Sometimes God answers our prayers in the form of a seed, and it’s our responsibility to recognize the seed and cultivate it.

Recognize that asking is a small part of our prayer life. Although we should persist, don’t get caught up on that one request and miss everything else that He’s doing around you. Don’t waste the waiting season and finish disappointed and discouraged. Keep believing in faith but broaden your perspective. There are instances where the Bible equates faith to trust. If faith still sounds too mystical, then start with trusting that God will fulfill His promises. Trust that His love for us overarches our need to hear Him in our timing.

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