Does Prayer Even Work? I would be so bold to say that many people have wondered this exact question. In a moment of desperate need, we petitioning up to God hoping for a Hail Mary and for whoever might be up there would hear our plea. I suspect that many intimately know exactly what I am speaking of and have wondered: does this prayer thing even work? Does God hear me? Is there even anyone on the other side of this phone call?
Humanity has been searching for the answer to this question for centuries and by no means do I expect this simple post will wrap up this age old journey. But let me ask a simple question that may simply bring a different perspective to the equation. Is it possible that we have this whole prayer thing wrong? Maybe, just maybe, prayer is more about listening than speaking.
Prayer is for me nothing more than listening to the voice of the Creator, in scripture, in nature, in people, in all of life. Sometimes I use words to reflect back to the Creator. ...Sometimes, particularly when I emotionally agitated, sorrowful or depressed I can use a lot of words. I trust that my Abba is listening. Other times when I am emotionally overwhelmed with joy or wonder I can also use words of praise and thanksgiving. Prayer takes all kinds of forms for me, but mostly I think listening. // Michael Hardin
I mean, is that so far off? Truth be told, the world has become so noisy and busy, we barely know how to be still enough to listen to each other as human beings, sitting right in front of us, let alone the divine? Maybe the issue isn't God being to far away or to hard to reach, but maybe we can't hear Him through all the noise, when he does. Maybe we have become to busy and occupied that we don't know how this whole thing works anymore, or worse... don't have the time anymore.
In 1 Kings 19 we get a bit of a glimpse into unlocking this all. Elijah is in the lowest of places in his life and God wishes to speak to him and show Himself in the midst of all that is going on. As the story goes: Elijah experiences a great wind that seemed as though it would tear the mountain apart, but God was not in the wind. Then a massive earthquake that shook the very foundations of the ground Elijah stood on, dropping him to his knees, but God was not in the earthquake either. After, a consuming fire comes, but again God was not there either. But it wasn't until the stillness and silence that God shows up and in that quiet solitude, on the top of that mountain, does Elijah hear the voice of God. Not in an audible voice I suspect, but he did come face to face with the divine nonetheless, and God choose to speak to Elijah in the whisper of silence and stillness.
God isn't hiding, He is waiting to meet with us, we just need to be willing and ready. He is on the line asking, "Can You Hear Me Now?" It's our reception that needs fixing.
I don't believe that this means we must become so still and quiet and escape away from everything to be able to hear God (though, this may be of help), but that if we can quiet ourselves, even in the midst of the whirlwind of life, we can truly begin to recognize the whisper of His voice. So much was happening in Elijah's life at this point, he was on the run, fearful of death and his life was crashing down around him and God shows up in all this, but only after things come to a silent standstill. When was the last time you slowed down long enough, quieted the noise around you and drew away to be able to reflect and meditate?
God shows Elijah, that even in amidst of it all: the turmoil, the craziness, the winds that seem to tear everything apart, the earthquakes that shatter the very foundations we build and the fire that consume everything. God can speak through it all, if we would be willing to slow down and quiet ourselves enough to learn the discipline of hearing His voice.
Have you ever felt like you are always saying the same things and throwing up the same old empty lines? I wonder if we spent more time seeking the face and hearing the voice of the divine, if we might have something new to say when it is our turn to speak. What if we took the time to discover our Lord and Saviour's heart--for our lives, His mission and this world? There is such a rich well to drink from when we are able to discover our sacred pathway to hearing God's voice in our life, being able to reflect and meditate on the world around us and see reality through his eyes. Imagine the vast world and deep relationship that would open to you if you sought Him out? Let me tell you: God isn't hiding, He is waiting to meet with us, we just need to be willing and ready. He is on the line asking, "Can You Hear Me Now?" It's our reception that needs fixing.
Like any friendship, we learn to interact and love their voice and long to be in their presence. Should it not be the same with the divine. He already has declared His wanting to be in relationship with us, with His great action of love on the cross.
I'd like to think we all have this opportunity and ability and I think I would be right in this assumption. Like any friendship, we learn to interact with them and long to be in their presence. Should it not be the same with the divine. He already has declared His wanting to be in relationship with us, with His great act of love on the cross. What are you waiting for, pick up that phone and make the call; He is waiting on the other line.
If this article resonated with you and your heart desires this deep connection with the creator of the cosmos and to hear the divine voice of God and develop your own sacred pathway to Him, but you are unsure of how to start or flush this out, I would recommend these three books as a great start:
1. Brad Jersak's book 'Can You Hear Me' (There is even a kids edition for it)
2. David Chotka's book 'Power Prayer: Hearing Jesus; Spirit by Praying Jesus' Prayer'
3. Gary Thomas' Book 'Sacred Pathways'
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