Read: Daniel 9:1-23; 1 John 5:13-15
Has anyone other than me noticed that a majority of the things we do during an average week wouldn't be spine tingling reading if we were to write it down for others to read? I know it is hard to believe but I haven't lunched in a small bistro in Paris even once this week. I haven't been interviewed on any news network, and as hard as it surely is to believe, I haven't inked a million-dollar deal to celebrate my latest invention. What have I been doing with my time? For one thing, since we need to hire out a job which requires a professional, I have been leaving messages or giving phone numbers to my husband who has been doing the same thing. The names of the people being called differ, but the messages are generally similar. No one is presently at the phone to answer, but someone will be getting back to us. One fact that is rarely stated is when they will be returning our call.
I was thinking about the uncertainty of leaving messages, and I was reminded of a really long answering machine message I heard more than a year ago. It stood out because of the sincerity in the voice of the man who was speaking and the length he went to, to say how he always got back to callers and the importance of being prompt. Now I don't know what has happened in his life in these intervening months; however, one thing is certain. We have never heard from this gentleman, and after the passing of this many months, I'm sure we won't; so, we will never know if this worker would have been reliable. We don't know if his failure to get back to us was the result of situations out of his control or negligence on his part. We don't know if people are truly important to him, and the list could go on and on.
How different it is when we "leave a message" with God in prayer. Think of it. We're not speaking to Someone we can't know because, we are able to get to know Him through His Word. We don't have to wonder if He cares about us because we know that not only has He fashioned us in our mothers' wombs, Psalm 139:13-16, we also know He loved us enough to pay the penalty for our sins when He gave His life for us on the cross, 1 John 2:1-2. Approaching the Creator/Redeemer in prayer and telling Him about our struggles, failures and joys is a privilege that we who belong to Jesus have received. When we have a request and don't know how the Lord will intervene in any given situation, we leave the message that is on our hearts knowing that He will be at work. He will get back to us whether His response is yes, no or wait. We know this because the Bible promises that the Shepherd hears us. Our words don't go out to an unattended machine, and we don't have to wonder if they get lost in the wind somewhere between earth and heaven. God has promised that He hears us and that we have what we have requested if it is in line with His will, 1 John 5:13-15. We see a beautiful example of this truth in Daniel 9: Through Jeremiah's prophesies, Daniel knew that Israel's 70 years in captivity was almost at an end, Jeremiah 9:2; Jeremiah 25:12. God had promised their deliverance; so, Daniel cried out for mercy. He confessed not only his own sins but those of his people. His request wasn't passed to some intermediaries or screened for importance before God heard it. Right away, Daniel 9:20-23 tells us that God quickly sent the angel Gabriel in response to Daniel's prayer. And there's more here too. Gabriel told Daniel that he was beloved by God. Daniel wasn't merely one more guy waiting in a line to have his request heard by the Lord. No, God wanted him to know how He felt about his man in Babylon.
What is wonderful is that it is the same as what the Savior feels about each of His blood-bought children. We are greatly loved, Colossians 3:12; 1 John 3:1. What if, unlike Daniel, we don't have a specific promise from God on which to come to Him in prayer. Many times, that's the case, isn't it? What then? Do we send up prayer simply hoping that God will get back to us? The answer is tucked away in Romans 8:26-27. I love it that God knows that our limitations often render us unable to pray. Circumstances can cause us to not know what we should say in prayer. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit will fashion our prayers into what we would pray if we could see as God sees. Our vision is often so cloudy. We simply don't know the way to pray. How sweet it is to know that the Holy Spirit has no such encumbrances, and God hears our hearts through the Spirit's groans.
Back to the message I left on the answering machine more than a year ago. It could be that the gentleman we called was simply too busy to call back. A very human limitation.
Praise God that He is never too busy or overwhelmed to get back to us when we pray. His box is never too full to receive one more message, and we don't have to get to the back of His line because others are more prominent than we are.
Lord, Help us run to You with our needs for grace and assurance as well as every other need. Help us to remember to offer praise and thanks to You, knowing that You hear us when we honor You for Who You are and what You have done. Please give us opportunities to tell others about You.