I was pondering something I learned at The Wholeness Network's retreat with Michell Powers. She said it is curious that we hope to build a relationship with God and yet we often pray and then go on with our day the minute 'Amen,' is spoken. We don't let him talk or answer our questions. I have spent years of my life, actually DECADES of my life, praying to God, and then getting up to leave, or jumping into bed--never taking the time to listen. It was a good reminder for me that God doesn't answer me just because I go through the motions of prayer:
God answers me when I listen.
As with any good parent, He doesn't always say yes. Imagine the state of the world if God granted every desire, just like a genie in a bottle. Thank heavens He loves us too much to say yes to everything we ask for.
My good friend, Dr. Jeff O'Driscoll said: "God does answer your prayers. Sometimes the answer is 'No.' Sometimes, the answer is, 'Not yet.'" Dr. Jeff has written an amazing book by that same title, "Not Yet" that I would highly recommend. God, in His infinite wisdom, knows when to tell us no, or when we just need to be patient. Why do we doubt that? Or think He doesn't love us because of it? The word infinite means: limitless or impossible to measure. Why do I think my finite mind could arrange my life better than the infinite wisdom and love of my Father?
Answers come in all forms.
Sometimes, my answer comes through another human being. Sometimes, the answer comes through angels. Sometimes the answer comes pouring through the lyrics of a song on the radio. Sometimes the answer comes as sunlight pours over me. Sometimes I hear words. Sometimes I have a feeling. Sometimes I am simply enveloped in peace. Sometimes, I have a remembrance of something or someone - an old friend, a conversation, a memory long forgotten. Sometimes, I hear a scripture. Sometimes, profound truths are taught to me. Sometimes, I hear a single word. But the point is this:
Those 'sometimes' happen when I am listening and looking for answers.
So what if you pray -- and listen -- and hear nothing?
I recently talked to a friend who was grieving the loss of her father. She was upset that she would pray, but felt God was not there. As she shared her sorrow and pain, I wondered what was happening? I couldn't imagine God abandoning His child at such a tender time.
The Spirit spoke to me. God was there. He was simply listening. If you ask any therapist what the best thing to do is when someone is trying to process emotion?? They would say - Listen. Don't try to fix, don't interrupt, don't add your own words. Just listen. Emotion is simply energy in motion. God listens and lets that emotion flow through us - so it doesn't get stuck inside of us. He is there. Trust me - He is listening.
When you pray, in your darkest hours, or your days full of light - assume the best. Don't assume the worst. God is there. He is listening. He will answer you in many miraculous ways if you watch for it. He is intimately and devotedly a part of your life. He loves you. You are His child. He is in every detail of your life...even the silence.