This is a lengthy quote from Stuart McAlpine’s excellent new book, “Just Asking: Restoring The Soul Of Prayer.” It’s a must read for those who want to grow in prayer. I would go so far to say that it should be a required field manual for the tribulate times we live in.
“All spiritual life is premised on the fact that God has ears to hear. You bank on it. There is no salvation, no prayer, if God does not hear. Scripture affirms that God hears. “Does He who implanted the ear not hear?” (Psalm 94:9). “His ear is not dull to hear” (Isaiah 59:1). The deliverance of a future great nation was couched in the words, “God heard the boy crying” (Genesis 16:11). The whole story of the Exodus-deliverance was determined by one thing: “God heard their groaning, and remembered His covenant” (Exodus 2:24).
There are other kinds of cries that God hears: “ the cries of the workers reached God’s ears” (James 5:4). The conviction and relief that God hears is presented in so many ways as people talk about the “ears of the Lord” (1 Samuel 8:21), or testify with relief that “my cry came into His ears” (Psalm 18:6). Consider the ways this is presented: “Give ear O Lord” (2 Kings 19:16); “You hear O Lord” (Psalm 10:17); “May your ear be attentive” (2 Chronicles 6:40); “Incline your ear to me” (Psalm
17:6); “Listen to my cry” (Psalm 5:2); “Bow down your ear” (Psalm 31:2); “His ears are open” (Psalm 34:15); “Give ear to my words … to my prayer … to my voice” (Psalm 5:1, 17:1, 141:1); “Hear me when I call” (Psalm 4:1); “Hear me in the day of trouble … hear me speedily” (Psalm 20:1, 143:7). Assurance is given, not only that God hears, but what God hears, like the “desire of the afflicted” (Psalm 10:17) or “the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29). One of the most quoted chapters on intercession in scripture contains the most quoted verse: “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
There is no healing if there is no hearing. If God’s hearing is impaired, we remain impaired. God’s opening words to Solomon in this communication are, “I have heard your prayer” (7:12). This is the clear response to what was asked earlier: “Hear the asking of your servants … when they pray toward this place” (6:21). Any lack of assurance about this, any about His loving attentiveness to us, will undermine our confidence and our will to ask. God’s hearing invites our asking. Our asking is heard.
Without that confidence we will not ask. And even if we do, and go through the motions, it will not be with any faith at all. Nowhere is the assurance of God’s hearing more emphatic than in the repeated testimony of Jesus Himself at Lazarus’ tomb: “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew you always hear me” (John 11:42). Do we catch the confidence, joy, relief, gratitude and love in this statement? The grounds of Jesus’s confidence are the same grounds as ours: God hears when we ask.”
McAlpine, Stuart. Just Asking: Restoring the Soul of Prayer (Kindle Locations 1231-1252). WestBow Press. Kindle Edition.