Something I am still delightfully confused about is how God hears all of our prayers. Of course, He is God and the mystery of how it all works belongs to Him alone. But sometimes, in my own prayer time with God, I ask him, “Lord… how do you even hear all of us? You’re so amazing.”
I often think about the scene from the movie, Bruce Almighty, when Jim Carrey’s character, Bruce, was given all of God’s powers and responsibilities. In the film, God himself visited Bruce after he had desperately and rather arrogantly called out to God. In a low moment, Bruce challenged God and questioned his character. No, the movie isn’t very reliable with good theology- but it’s definitely a cute story and worth the watch. The scene I replay in my mind is after Bruce had gained the power of God. He was hearing the prayers of the entire world, and it was utterly overwhelming. (I mean- I can’t even handle it when both of my kids are trying to talk to me at the same time, let alone hearing millions of prayers at the same time!?) So, Bruce was determined to create a system where he could manage the non stop incoming prayers of the world.
First, he tried a filing system with filing cabinets… which did not work. Then there was a hilarious scene of him directing the prayers to go on sticky notes. I laughed at how silly it was… every square inch of his house, including his own body and his dog, was covered in little yellow squares of paper. Obviously, that wasn’t going to work either.
Finally, he tried an email system, called, “Yahweh” which was hilarious. It was a play on Yahoo, and basically, he formatted all the prayers to come through as emails, where he could respond to them. Over a million prayers were downloaded when he began replying. After getting through the first round of prayers in a comical scene of him typing faster than the flash can run, he was met with millions more prayers waiting to be read.
Even though it was funny, it was also a reality check into how infinitely wise and powerful God is. After that first round of prayers, Bruce decided to answer the second batch of prayers with a general YES. He basically let every person get what they wanted. After that, the world was in complete disarray. We all got to go along on a journey with Bruce into the increasingly obvious truth that God is beyond our human abilities.
Can you imagine if God gave every person exactly what they asked for? The thought of that makes me cringe, as I know my own prayer life. If God had answered some of my prayers the way I desired him to, I would be a hot mess. I remember praying that I get married to my first boyfriend…. Um, thank you Jesus that you said No to that one. I can’t imagine my life without my husband Jacob, let alone not having my children. And that is just one of a long list of prayers, that in hind sight, I am SO thankful the Lord had other plans.
The truth is, no one understands God fully. He is so much bigger than us and our finite understanding. And thank God, that He is! Instead of being bothered by all the incoming prayers, like Bruce was, God actually enjoys listening to us, even when we are asking for things He knows he won’t give us. Isn’t that comforting knowing how often God saves us from ourselves?! I sure as heck am grateful!
For me, prayer is an ongoing conversation and a very intimate connection with God. The crazy thing about it is, God is always inclined to respond and delights in hearing my heart. I don’t need an appointment card to see him and he never makes me wait. When I want to talk to God, all I have to do, is start talking. Isn’t that wildly confusing and incredibly amazing!? I just can’t get over it.
I always think about this. Having full access to God is humbling and so much a gift. Can you imagine if God treated us like we treat our own children?
“Hi God. Can you come play with me?”
God: “Uhhh sure, let me just finish the dishes and make a phone call.”
“Hey God, I need you right now.”
God: “Um excuse me, can’t you see I’m talking to another adult. Next time you interrupt, you’ll have a discipline.”
There’s no such thing as disturbing God. We can’t catch him at a bad time, He doesn’t need alone time to recuperate. God doesn’t have available office hours, or a secretary managing our requests.
No, God is fully available, all of the time; interested, leaning in, bending down to hear, waiting to interact, delighting in our never ending conversation with one another… And this is true for each. and. every. believer?!
If I choose to fellowship and commune with God, and I want to be with him, all I have to do is approach him.
I thought it would be a good thing to remind some of you today, that God is ready for you. He isn’t mad, arms crossed, with a grimaced face, frustrated that you haven’t talked to him in a while. He is waiting, with open arms, ready to talk. He is prepared to smother you in love, to comfort you, to reassure you of your value to him. I want you to find joy in how accessible the God of the entire universe is. He isn’t too busy for you, or too important to listen to what you have to say. God isn’t upset or insecure when you speak in a grumpy tone, or offended when you ask for something that He just can’t give you. God is perfect in his love for you, and He is perfect in how he will respond. Take joy in the truth that his utmost desire for you is that you know him, and in turn you can make him known to others. Get alone with God today, and expect that he is there with you. It’s a joy to be in the presence of a God who is always listening.