“Until now, I’ve never heard anyone pray like they really believed someone was listening.”
A teacher friend of mine and I used to pray every morning in her classroom before the students arrived for the day. And every morning we invited her teacher’s aide to join us, making it very clear if she wasn’t comfortable, there would be no offence or consequence. The above was her statement at the end of the year as we all embraced and said our farewells for the summer break. Her words warmed my heart.
Someone is listening.
But how can I believe that?
There have been so many times when I’ve seen answers I can’t relate to anything or anyone else but a God who hears me and answers. Sometimes the answers are too specific, or the situations too bleak for any other explanation.
I’d been praying on and off for a couple of years for wisdom regarding the timing to visit a very dear friend in Hawaii whose son was extremely ill, and had been for a long while. He’d had so many close calls the last couple of years, and his health was becoming more fragile with each incident.
I’d not only been praying, I’d been listening for God to answer.
A year ago, about this time, my friend’s son was deathly ill one more time, and as I prayed for her comfort, his health, and when and if to travel, suddenly the words came into my mind – “Go now!” I mentioned it to my husband, and some other prayer warriors to make certain I was hearing correctly. This trip wasn’t down the street, but across the continent and over an ocean. I needed to be certain.
The more I prayed about it, the greater the urgency to “go NOW!” I began asking how urgent “now” was, and after a couple of days, the words also came into my head, “You must travel by Wednesday next week!” This was a little strange to me, as I’d never been given such specific instructions before. I once again mentioned it to those praying, so I’d be certain to make a right decision. However, the longer I delayed in booking my flight, the greater became intensity to act.
I ended up booking the flight and a rental car to travel the next Wednesday – less than a week from the time I booked the ticket. A sense of peace finally came over me. I’d listened and followed through.
The day of travel came, and went, and finally I found myself sitting in the front seat of my friend’s car as we drove toward her home, in the mountains of Oahu. As we caught up on life, she mentioned her son had arrived home from the hospital just a couple of hours previous. She then mentioned, a bit sheepishly, “I hope you don’t mind, but I have a surgical procedure early tomorrow morning. Since Kekoa is home from the hospital, the only person who can drive me there will be staying with him. I know you must be exhausted from your flight, but I need you to take me tomorrow morning.”
I finally understood why God’s Spirit so insisted on the day I would travel. My friend was more than exhausted from years of caring for her son, who had severely fragile special needs. Also, his last hospital stay had been horrific, and filled her soul with great pain as she, for a couple of weeks, helplessly watched him writhe and moan due to his own pain and discomfort.
God, in his mercy, knew his provision would ease her mind and care for her in a way she alone had no energy to do for herself. He’d heard. He was answering. I’m grateful I’d listened.
.… when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen. You deliberately sinned – before my very eyes – and chose to do what you know I despise.”
Isaiah 65:12 (NLT)
God spoke this to his people long ago through a prophet named Isaiah. Could he say it about me? Although I listened this time, so many times I’m too busy wanting my own way, or relief my way and my time, to take the time to actually listen.
“Lord, forgive me for not always listening very well. I want to grow in trusting you more, so that I can listen better.”
With love and prayers,