If you’re wondering if God hears your prayers and you’re exhausted from trying hard in your prayer life, then you’ll value the wisdom my friend and fellow writer, Rebecca Hastings, is learning when she asks the question “God, do you even hear me?”
I lay perfectly still in my bed. The house was finally quiet. Everyone had their extra cup of water and bathroom breaks. The dogs were snoring quietly in the corner. My husband’s arm draped heavy over my ribs. Staring at the shadow ceiling I whispered,
“God, do you even hear me?”
I was met with silence.
I often wish God had a remote control so I could turn the power on or the volume up just when I wanted. I would be able to change the channel the way I change verses or even hit the mute button when I don’t want to listen. Instead, I find myself staring in the dark wondering if my words are doing more than dissipating in the air.
Knowing in my mind that God hears me is easy. Feeling it is another story.
Can you relate?
I’ve been praying for a new job for my husband for months. He has a job, and for that I am grateful. But he isn’t happy in his work and he keeps getting passed over. It breaks my heart. I keep asking God and nothing has changed.
Maybe it’s the prayer you’ve prayed so many times you could recite it in your sleep. Maybe it’s the same plea for healing or help or wholeness. Maybe it’s for someone you love.
I prayed for my own healing for a long time before I realized God answers in His own way. The expected response in the church is easy. It’s rolled off my own tongue for other people:
“No matter what your prayer, God hears you and is answering you with His presence.”
I know that’s easy to say. It’s the expected answer for us good Christian girls. So, we keep trying to be good. We keep striving, hoping that if we are better God will hear us and our prayers won’t feel so empty. But that’s where we have it backwards.
God never called us to a life of striving. He calls us to Him.
The more time we spend in His presence the more we know His presence. The more we talk to Him, the easier it gets. And the more we are quiet with Him the more comfortable we become when He is quiet with us.
As I lay in my bed, I let myself sink into the quiet. I inhale the stillness and exhale, “Jesus.”
My prayer doesn’t need to have the right words, it doesn’t even need to have any words. Instead my prayer is a person. My prayer is Jesus. And those places that feel unanswered, those things that feel old and heavy from carrying them begin to let go with every exhale of His name.
It’s easy to think of prayer like a drive thru fast-food joint. A place where we can show up, put in our order and get what we want. But there’s always a cost at the drive thru.
When we expect drive thru prayer, we are limiting ourselves to what we think is possible. We are forgetting that the bill has been paid and God knows what we crave even more than we do. We are forgetting that God is bigger and knows us better than we know ourselves.
If prayer feels empty, we need to keep coming to Him. Keep showing up. Keep seeking Him. He longs for our presence far more than our perfect prayers.
So, lay there in the stillness. Stare at the ceiling. Say the same prayer again and again if you have to. And when you feel like your words are hanging empty in the air, remember that God is in the quiet places with you.
Rebecca Hastings is a writer and speaker encouraging women to find real faith for real life. A wife and mother of three in Connecticut, her books including, Worthy: Believe Who God Says You Are, are available on Amazon. Her work has also been featured at Relevant Magazine, (in)courage and The Washington Post. She can often be found typing words, driving her kids places or wherever there is chocolate. Connect with Rebecca on her Website, Instagram, and Facebook.