When was the last time you had a really in-depth conversation with someone?
There are all kinds of false starts when it comes to talking with people. There is the very common question, “How are you?” I suppose that question can have different intentions. It can just be something to say, like a simple hello, only with more words, or it could be very heartfelt. Do you ever wonder if the person asking that question really wants you to answer? Do they have time to hear how you really are? Do they even care?
Or perhaps it is not awkward questions so much as interrupted conversations that you find unfulfilling. You’ve probably been in the middle of a conversation with someone, and they get distracted by their phone, their children, etc. Such moments bring their own awkwardness. Should I pick back up where I was when the ringer went off or the diaper blew out? Does it matter to the listener whether I continue or not? Do they even remember what was being discussed? We might decide to continue, but it is tempting to just forget about it.
Perhaps the person you are talking to is completely engaged – engaged in sharing their story with you, and then the conversation is pretty much over. So much for what might be going on in your life.
This earthly experience is certainly not what we find in Scripture in regard to our heavenly Father. He is always attentive, even though in a very real way, his phone is always ringing, and there is always something blowing out in someone’s life somewhere. Yet, when we call upon the Lord, he is never distracted, and he always cares about our cares.
The Lord does not need us to schedule a time when he is available. He is ready to hear our prayers in the morning (Ps. 5:3) and in the evening (Ps. 141:2). And he is not limited in his scope of listening. We can pray in times of trouble, times of joy, times when we need his mercy, and times when we need his help.
And the listening of our heavenly Father is more than just the hearing of words. His listening is the sympathetic listening of the one who loves us, knows our lives intimately, and can offer help. The Lord Jesus Christ walked this earth, experienced what we experience, and knows our needs. One of my favorite passages on prayer comes from Hebrews 4:15-16:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Do you wonder if anyone is available and willing to listen to you? Psalm 66:19 reminds us, “But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.” So, pray! God is ready to listen!