"If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7, NKJV).
How often is prayer a monologue? We come to God with our laundry list of things that need His attention, throw out a few "Praise the Lords" and "Hallelujahs," and feel like we've done our part. But as much as we need to make our requests known before the Lord (Phil. 4:6), do you suppose that God may want just a little more from us than that? That perhaps He wants us to listen just as much as we speak?
Think about human relationships for a moment. If I talked with my wife just enough to tell her what I needed her to do on a daily basis, I can assure you, I'd be sleeping in the sofa. No, not on it. In it. Our relationship includes mutual responsibilities, to be sure, and there are times when we need to address the things that need to be done, but those things are not what nurture or define our relationship. Our love for one another, expressed by being fully present to one another, are key ingredients in our intimacy. Listening, for no other reason than to know one another's heart, is vital.
I can't help but think that Jesus had this in mind when he told His disciples that they must abide in Him, and allow His words to abide in them. Prevailing prayer begins by simply being present to our Savior. The Bible tells us that Jesus praised Mary for choosing the "better part," while she both sat at His feet and listened to His words (Luke 10:39, NLT). The Scriptures never record any of her prayers, but I am confident that she had her Savior's ear!
Do you? Are you more ready to hear than to be heard as you pray? Have you learned the secret of abiding? These are penetrating questions, but please know that they are not meant to cast criticism, but to extend an invitation. As you pray today. take time to listen for His still small voice. Cherish your time with God, and don't approach Him in a hurry to move on to other things. If you abide in Him, and allow His words to abide in you, you can be confident that your prayers and petitions will reflect the heart and mind of God. He loves to answer such prayers.
Scripture for prayer and reflection:
"Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live" (Isa. 55:3, NIV).