“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1)
A healthy relationship requires healthy communication. When I talk with my wife, I pause (probably not often enough) to listen. Our relationship with God works in much the same way. If we speak and cry to God in prayer, but do not pause to read his revealed message in the ministry and teachings of Jesus, we may fail to hear the answer to our requests. We learn from Hebrews chapters 1 and 2 that God spoke through prophets, but that he revealed himself uniquely in the life and message of Jesus, his Son, who as Son of God listened to humanity’s pleadings, but also came down to our level to hear and to understand more fully. When our prayers ascend, he who walked among us understands, and responds based on his having been tempted as we are (Hebrews 2:18).
Praying for guidance on a moral or ethical decision includes an awareness that we should read and heed what the message of the Bible is in regard to that matter. We will note, perhaps, subtle differences in context that may require us to adapt our response to our time and situation, but God’s message is revealed there in ways that have striking relevance to our quandaries in rearing our children, in persevering when discouraged, in conducting business,or in the treatment of the poor and immigrants.
It is most urgent that we listen when we pray for healing or salvation, either in a physical or a spiritual sense. Our survival depends on our hearing the message correctly!
O God who speaks,
We rush like children to tell you our hurts and our wants. As the child who pulls at his mother’s arm to plead for candy while she pays for groceries, so we sometimes cajole and beg that you will grant our desires – for food, for health, for romance, for wealth, and for so much more. When we hurt, or we fear, we cry out, also. Hear our prayers, Lord, but help us also to listen carefully for your answer. Help us to remember that you have already answered many of our questions and conquered much of what we fear through your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Increase our patience when your timetable requires us to wait. Calm us when we realize that your love requires you to say “No” to our fervent desire.. Help us to pay attention so that we may be free from fear. I pray in the name of your Son, Jesus, who walked among us as one of us, Amen