Psalm 4:1 We All Need To Be Heard

Answer me when I call to you,
    my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
    have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
                                                - Psalm 4:1

Sometimes all we need, more than anything else, is to be heard. To know we're not shouting into the wind from the top of some mountain, that our words aren’t being carried away and thinned into nothing before ever reaching another's ear. Even God's.

Since God is all knowing, all seeing, we assume He is all-hearing. When we pray, though, how do we know the creator of galaxies and carpenter ants hears us? We don't have the usual conversational feedback, no "uh-huh's" or "hmmmm's" while we speak. Maybe that's good, because God is not a therapist sitting across the room in a leather chair taking notes, or doodling while we bare our souls. He is, well, everything. According to His word He is the beginning and ending of all things. Poetic, but this paints a picture just how significant God is, and how insignificant we are.

Then He tells us, over and over, that we are significant, too. We matter. Words of scripture, even the weird stories, are woven throughout with this message. Jesus says when we pray, do so as children asking their father for bread, for a treat, for what our heart desires.

So we do, and wait, and wonder if we have been heard.

We can read books or listen to sermons on how to pray, but in many ways we're trying to learn how to listen. To hear that quiet nudge from God that our words found His ear. Occasionally an answer comes, as a feeling, a knowledge, a certainty that what we are thinking, a decision we've made, has been given to us. I've never heard the audible voice of God, if there is one as we understand the concept, but I have had a those certainties. When God answers prayers (even, as we like to say in the prayer biz, if that answer is "no"), what we need to do is open ourselves up for what He might say. His voice comes in whatever form He chooses. A song, a video suddenly scrolling along your news feed, a call, a word, a nudge. Initially we'll have to assume things, to trust that He's answering. Like most things of God, it's the look back seeing where we've come from when we understand what answers were His and what were not. Many times I've seen His hand at work in my life only after the fact.

We have wants and needs that we always – or we should always – put before Him. Then we simply ask for mercy. Sometimes, mercy means what most people think of: forgiveness, a second chance to get it right. But mercy from God might be turning His eyes to us - who are so small in comparison to His majesty - and answer us in such a way we know it is from God and not the pizza we just ate. Maybe that's grace. I get the two terms mixed up. No matter, they're "church words" that have been misused for centuries anyway.

In the end it's God and me. God and you. A connection between a human and the Divine, the power beyond everything which sees us as significant and wants to interact but knows we cannot always hear. Sometimes, all God can do is answer our prayers and wait for the realization to come to us at some point later, that Oh Wow moment. Only then will we understand that we have been heard. Next time, perhaps, we can be more confident He is listening.


Lord, I have asked so many times for You to answer me in a way I can fathom, but that's not always possible for me. Help us to stay out of the way of Your communication, and grant us patience to wait for an answer, even if that answer is that you answered us a long time ago.