God’s Not Listening What’s the Matter With Me?
An Actual Thirty-Thousand-Foot Prayer – Part 2
You would do anything to get a thirty-thousand-foot prayer problem to go away, wouldn’t you? Where does one draw the line on getting their thirty-thousand-foot prayer answered? What would you give to remove sickness off of a dying parent? What would you do to reverse the judgment levied on a child convicted of a crime? What would you give to restore a marriage gone bad? You’d do anything any other normal human-being would give and none of the things in your power can change the situation as it sits. In my famous words, “normal is no longer enough.” Now what will you do with that?
When my prayer isn’t working.
“Then I said, “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer!” – bible.com/116/neh.1.5-7.nlt
Nehemiah became a little frustrated in that he thinks God isn’t listening to him because the situation isn’t changing or it’s getting worse. He tries every prayer tactic he knows. He did what’s normal or rather what a normal person does. He complements God. He reminds God of his covenant with mankind. All of his efforts are bent towards making sure God is listening to his prayer. He does what he’s heard others do and have seen others do in the past. But with no success, his problem continues.
Have you ever felt that way? Like God’s not listening? In essence, what you’re saying is God’s not responding in the way you desire Him to respond. God listening and God responding are two different things. We want a response, but we question God’s hearing. As for Nehemiah, he wanted God to do something to correct the problems reported in his hometown-Jerusalem. For you, you might want God to change the heart of a wayward child. You might want your marriage restored. You might want freedom from an addiction. Your finances may be too far gone. You might be in a pending lawsuit which could take it all. Your life might be falling apart around you. You might have failed the same class three times and are ready to give up. Maybe you’ve lost a job, a car, a home, or even a loved-one.
“Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel.” – bible.com/116/neh.1.5-7.nlt
You’re desperate. Nehemiah was desperate. He says Lord, look down and see that I’m praying to You. He’s been praying night and day. This indicates that the matter is so great that it’s constantly on his mind. It’s so large he can’t get it out of his thoughts.
The end result of the prayer that seems unanswered is that Nehemiah tries the guilt approach. He’s going to guilt God into responding. [To the left.] Because at the end of the day, like all normal people, we think God works for us. He should answer me when I pray. So who’s in charge, me or God? He, Nehemiah says Lord, I know my family, everyone I know, and I have sinned. Yes, he pulled the “sin” card. He tries putting before God what God already knows just to get His attention. If I repent, give God what I should have already given Him, maybe now he’ll respond. It’s not a listening ear that I’m after, it’s a result I’m looking for.
“I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.” – bible.com/116/neh.1.5-7.nlt
I resort to reminding God of someone He did answer.
“Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’ “The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants.” – bible.com/116/neh.1.8-10.nlt
If I will be honest, I’ve tried this before. Let me remind God of what He has said. It actually sounds good, but it doesn’t work in this instance. I’ve made this my last resort and not my life’s practice. What we fail to realize is that God and His word are the same. God and His word are inseparable. So when we use terms like remind God of His word, it really means let me get an understanding of God and how He can handle what I’m going through so that I might do the same. I’m practicing to be like God, in whom I’m created in the image of. I need His word and me to become one in order to deal with this thirty-thousand-foot prayer.
It doesn’t work when His word and I aren’t one. That means He and I aren’t on the same page, one. This too was Nehemiah’s predicament, but he didn’t know it. He was quoting what God promised Moses, who became one with what God said to him. As a result Nehemiah’s people had been rescued by God’s great power with Moses. Now it’s time for Nehemiah to find out what he was missing that Moses had when faced with the “thirty-thousand-foot” prayer.
What will you do with your bad news? Are you going through the same process that Nehemiah went through? Are you using normal practices to achieve results that are far from normal?
I know you wish I would continue, but my time for this installment is up again. You’ll have to wait until next week as we continue with “The Reason for a Thirty Thousand Foot Prayer.” I leave you with this question.
What normal prayer routine have you used in hopes of getting God to respond to your “thirty-thousand-foot” prayer problem?
Until next Sunday, do me one favor, share this one with at least one.