“Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God’” (Isaiah 40:27)?
Excursion Two -
We have all been there. “Lord, are you here? Are you listening? Why are you not answering my prayers? Do you not see what is going on here? Do you not care? Can you not help me?” We have persistently been praying for something, but it is just not happening. Our prayers seem legitimate. God promises to help us in our time of need. Israel was complaining to God about their situation, but nothing seemed to change. Sometimes we pray like this and do not get an answer. Keep persevering, my sisters. God is listening and He will answer you. He wants to teach us to pray without ceasing (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17). You may not be hearing an answer because you are so busy complaining. You forgot to take the time to sit at God’s feet and just listen! Look at the prophet Isaiah’s example: “The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught” (Isaiah 50:4).
Part of why we need to learn to listen is that God tells us to pray according to His will. Listening to God requires several things:
1) Offer God a surrendered heart that is willing to accept His way of doing things, even if it is not your way of doing things (see Isaiah 55:8-9).
2) Daily spend time in an un-distracted place to pray and listen.
3) Daily read His Word so that He can guide you through the Scriptures. He will often answer your prayers by reminding you or leading you to a particular passage in His Word.
4) “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
5) Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you pray, and take time to just sit at His feet and listen. As you sense you are hearing something from God, respond to this still small voice, and allow Him to guide you in this “conversation.”
6) Be willing to answer your own prayers. His answer to your prayer may be that you are the one to fulfill this prayer request. Are you open to this?
7) Be sure that there is no unconfessed sin in your life. God does not respond to the prayers of an unrepentant heart. Repent of anything the Lord shows you is not His will. Call on others to pray with you and help you walk away from sin and live according to God’s will.
8) Have faith in God’s unfailing love and awesome power. “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10).
Look at God’s response to the Israelites in Isaiah 40:28-31 when they accused Him of disregarding their prayers. His response is the same to us when we want to give up and feel God is not listening. The Lord reminds us of who He is. He is the Lord, the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He never grows tired or weary, and His understanding is beyond our comprehension. He promises to help us in several ways. He gives strength to us when we are weary. He gives greater power to us when we feel weak. He renews us until we can “soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, and walk and not be faint” (40:31).
All of Isaiah 40 is God’s gentle rebuke to us when we are weary and have lost faith in His love, power, and care. Read this whole chapter today, and then sit quietly before Him meditating on who He is. “He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:11).
Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 40
An excerpt from Mission Impossible written by Sue Corl