Sometimes, when we pray, I think we forget that there is Someone at the other end of the line, so to speak. No, we so often start off with “Dear God” and then go through our litany of concerns and requests before signing off with “In Jesus’s name, amen.”
Truthfully, there is nothing wrong with such prayers, as they are doctrinally sound. The issue (at least for me, anyway) is the issue of my focus. When I pray, am I remembering that the Someone on the other end of line not only listens to me intently, but also desires to respond to us in a loving way? How quick we are to claim the words of the preceding verse (Jeremiah 29:11), without fully heeding the guidance given in the remaining verses.
It seems to me that we are to call upon Him, pray to Him, and then trust that He hears us and is responding. However, do I pause long enough in my prayerful monologue m to listen to Him? This definitely is an area where I have room to grow.
This listening has more to do with discernment and attunement, in my view, then it actually does with hearing an audible voice (which is rare). It seems to be an invitation to pause, look around, and see if something unusual is happening around me — think of Moses and the burning bush). In that example, things got going only when Moses responded to what the Lord had shown him. The Lord observed that Moses approached Him, and only then did He call out, “Moses, Moses!” The Lord knew that the only way to get Moses’s attention was to put him in a place where he was free from human distraction, and could not explain what he observed through any human logic or “wisdom”. And as it was with Moses, I wonder if this is how the Lord works with us — getting us to a place where the distractions have been removed, and we find ourselves in a place where our attention is focused and expectant. Otherwise, how will I hear when He calls out after me?
Pray with me:
Dear Jesus, I openly admit that I am prone to distraction when I pray to You, often placing my focus on my problems, rather than on what is working well in my life. This is ingratitude, and I apologize to You for it.
I understand that You have placed me in a remote and quiet place so that I may observe You at work, pray to You each day, and clearly hear You when You listen and then call to me by name.
Thank You for showing Yourself to be faithful and loving, even when my actions and attitudes say the complete opposite. I thank and praise You for who You are, repent of any discontentedness that has crept into my life, and wait — observantly and expectently — for Your call. In Your name I pray, amen.