Do you ever feel far from God and wonder why? Do you sometimes wonder if your prayers are in vain? Because you, like me, are a sinner, the answer to those questions is surely yes, at least occasionally. Why, though? Why do we sometimes not feel as close to God as we would like (for those of us who desire such closeness)?
While there are a lot of things we could discuss regarding closeness to God, I want to focus on prayer. To be clear, though, feeling distant from God is never God’s fault. He is not playing hide-n-seek and desiring for you to feel alone and abandoned. Rather, feeling far from God can only be the result of our sin – our failure to sincerely seek Him, surrender to Him, serve Him, and obey Him.
God does not make mistakes. We do. God is perfectly faithful. We are not.
Specifically, then, what does this mean about our prayer life? Is God listening? Similar to our awareness of God’s presence in our lives is the promise of God’s ear to our requests. If we are genuinely seeking Him in faith, then we can be assured of His presence and provision (spiritually). He is not a genie, though, that is simply waiting for our wishes regardless of our hearts’ affections.
“Anyone who turns his ear away from hearing the law — even his prayer is detestable” (Proverbs 28:9).
In other words, if you are not seeking to honor God with your life, He despises your prayers to Him. If ever I am struggling in my prayer life and in my relationship with God, I must examine my heart and consider, “Have I been turning my ear away from hearing God’s law?” If so, it is no wonder I am struggling.
Let us consider such important truth, then. Are you walking with God? If not, do not expect Him to listen to your prayers. You have no such guarantee.
“The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight” (Proverbs 15:8).
And so, “The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29).
The primary problem, then, is that none of us is righteous. We are all sinners and thus only deserving of God’s judgment and wrath (see HERE). Praise God, though, that in and through Jesus Christ, we can be counted as righteous (see HERE).
Thus, that is the first and most important thing you must do – make sure you have trusted in Jesus for your salvation and righteousness. Otherwise, you have no right to even bring your requests to God, let alone for Him to listen to them.
Then, though, you must also make sure that you are continuing to walk with Him according to His Word. Otherwise, as referenced above in Proverbs 28:9, your prayer is detestable.
A blind man healed by Jesus was right when he said, “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God listens to him” (John 9:31).
We are all sinners, but if you have trusted in Jesus by faith and are walking with Him (the proof that you have trusted in Him), then your status with God is one of right standing. Worship Him and live according to His Word, and you will be aware of His presence and experience the closeness that He desires for you.
Is God listening to you? If you know and follow Him according to His Word, then yes, He is. If not, cry out to Him today. He desires that you do and is faithful and merciful to our sincere surrender.