Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me! – Psalm 66:20 ESV Have you ever stopped to consider the unbelievable reality that God hears your prayers? Not only does He hear them, He answers them. Maybe not in the way you would like or were expecting, and perhaps not on the schedule you were hoping for, but He always answers. But the even more amazing fact is that God hears our prayers to begin with. Think about that. Why should He? What have we done to deserve the attention of the holy, righteous, sinless God who created the entire universe. He is the one who made us and yet we have returned the gift of His creation with sin, rejection of His authority, indifference to His Word, and a constant love for creation instead of the Creator. So why does He listen? Because for those of us who are in Christ, He sees us as righteous because of the sacrificial blood of His Son. God no longer sees us as rebellious sinners, but as saints, sons and daughters. We are His children and, as a good Father, He listens to our calls for help, our pleas for direction, and our cries for mercy. The psalmist praised God because his prayers had not been rejected. He praised the fact that God was still in love with him in spite of him. He was able to say, “But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer” (Psalm 66:19 ESV).
The sad fact is that we take that reality for granted. God listens to our prayers and the unbelievable nature of that thought doesn't even seem to register with us. God chooses to hear me when I call out to Him. Not because I deserve it, but because His Son has paid the price for my sins so that I can come into the very presence of God the Father with no fear of condemnation or rejection. He hears me and He listens to me as His child. He loves me and answers me like a loving Father would one of His children. And I take it for granted. So do you. We have given God plenty of good reasons to reject our prayers and ample cause for Him to fall out of love with us. But He continues to hear and listen to us. He continues to love us unconditionally and unwaveringly. So why don't we praise Him more? David did. He got it. He appreciated God's love and the fact that He heard his prayers. Read the following words of David and ask yourself when was the last time you felt the same way.
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. – Psalm 103:1-5 NLT
God hears you. He answers you. He loves you. So why doesn't that amaze you? Why doesn't that produce an attitude of gratitude and praise in you? If you're anything like me, it is probably because we don't pray and truly believe He hears us or answers us. Or it could be that we pray and then fail to recognize His answers when they come. David said, “He fills my life with good things.” We have lost the sense of God's goodness in our lives. We no longer see all the good things that He is doing in our lives every day. Instead, we have boiled down the proof of His activity in our lives to the list of things we ask of Him and expect Him to deliver. We are like a child who wants a new bike, but fails to appreciate the bed in which he sleeps, the food he eats, the clothes he wears, and the room full of toys he already enjoys. We want and demand more from God, while failing to appreciate and show gratitude for all He has already done. God is worthy of our praise – all the time. The very fact that He hears us when we pray and loves us even when we sin, should amaze and astound us. It should produce in us an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. Our attitude should be that of David. “Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds!’” (Psalm 66:1-3 NLT). Praise Him. Not because of what you are waiting for Him to do for you, but for the very fact that He loves you enough to hear you when you call. Praise Him for all He has already done. Praise Him because He provided His own son as a sacrifice for your sins and has made it possible for you to enjoy a relationship with Him, free from fear and condemnation. He is worthy of our praise. So let us praise Him. Shout for joy to the Lord. Sing His praises. Let Him know just how grateful you are that He hears you and loves you.