Hope for When We Wonder If God Hears (and Answers) Our Prayers |
christian speaker, writer, christian blog, south dakota blog, speaker, sojourner, Cindy Krall
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I'm reading a great book on how to understand your dog. The author is intelligent, so she uses big words. Are you ready for one?

 

Anthropomorphism.

 

The word describes what we do when we attribute human characteristics to non-human beings or things.

 

My new, big word nagged at me as a shift occurred in my heart this past week. I was reading the following verse:

 

Genesis 24:15 reads:
"Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder." Genesis 24:15

 

The context of this Scripture is an old father's wish to see his son married to "the right kind of girl." So, he asks his servant to go to his native land to bring back a wife for Isaac.

 

The good servant reaches the homeland and prays on behalf of his Master. He wants to bring back the right wife for Isaac, but he needs a sign. His request is specific:

 

"Lord, God of my Master Abraham, make me successful today and show kindness to my Master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a young woman, 'Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,' and she says, 'Drink, and I'll water your camels too'—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac." Genesis 24:12-14 NIV

 

The next verse reads:

 

"Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder." Genesis 24:15

 

There's a lot to unpack in this story. Things like anthropomorphism, God's character, and prayer. 

 

Let's start with the champagne that launched the ship. The Devo I was reading that sparked my vertical conversation.

 

Streams in the Desert was compiled by a woman named Lettie B. Cowman and published in 1925. When asked why she wrote it, she would reply that she didn't. Instead, she would say it was "born" during her life's most challenging six years.

 

Last week, I read an excerpt from it based on the verses I just shared from Genesis. I was deeply moved by the thought that the servant hadn't even finished his prayer when God had already begun to intercede on Abraham's behalf.

 

When I recall times of desperate need in my life, I'm grateful that there were people I could reach out to for help. 

 

I remembered the time my car broke down, and I called home. "Mom, I'm on the side of the road with a flat tire, and I…." Before I could finish the sentence, she grabbed her keys and headed out the door.

 

Thoughts of individuals who immediately sprang into action were pinging about my brain as I wondered, "Does it really work that way with God? Or am I trying to make Him someone or something He's not?"

 

I spent, or more accurately, wasted a lot of years being skeptical about God. It has taken me decades to unpack my doubts about Him. Life experiences made me cautious about His character. Education me made the "smarty pants" that was now too brainy to JUST have faith.

 

Years of skepticism combined with my innate ability to overthink can still occasionally bite me in the buns.

 

Enter anthropomorphism.

 

My smarty pants vocabulary began to get the best of me. I wondered if the God of Abraham could be compared to the kind of responsiveness I'd known from family and friends. 

 

"God, do You launch into action even before I finish praying, or am I just attributing a human characteristic to You?"

 

It turns out BOTH of these things are true. 

 

We CAN attribute a human characteristic to God because He is the best possible version of a Father we could ever have. 

 

God really does begin to answer prayer before we finish. 

 

We can know that these things are true because Scripture says so. 

 

The word Abba is an Aramaic word for Father. Jesus used this word when He made references to God. 

 

There are numerous other references to the term Abba in the Bible. For example, the apostle Paul said in Romans 8:14-15…

 

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the Spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."

 

It's important to note that it isn't uncommon for the words Abba and Father to be linked.

 

Father comes from the Greek word Pater, which is more about ancestry than closeness. "That is my Pater. He is the source of my DNA."

 

Linking the word Abba with Pater implies something far more intimate. Abba reflects a language that comes from the heart. But the word Abba is also about something else. It's about discipleship. 

 

A disciple follows another for the purpose of learning. It implies a relationship characterized by someone who is in authority and someone else who surrenders.

 

No one modeled this better than Christ. In the garden of Gethsemane, it was Abba that He cried out to. And it was to Abba that He said, "thy will not my will be done."

 

We've learned that when it comes to anthropomorphism, we can pretty much throw it out the window when it comes to God.

 

God IS our Father… our Abba, Father. 

 

But what about this business of prayer being answered before we even finish it? Well, I think we need to go back to our friend Lettie Cowman. She has some sage words to say about it.

 

She writes, "Every godly prayer is answered before the prayer itself is finished"… This is because Christ has pledged in His word,

"My Father will give you whatever you ask in my name (John 16:23).

When you ask in faith and in Christ's name–– that is, in oneness with Him and His will––

"it will be given you" (John 15:7)

 

Our friend Lettie continues, "Since God's Word cannot fail, whenever we meet these simple conditions, the answer to our prayer has already been granted and is complete in heaven as we pray, even though it may not be revealed on earth until much later. Therefore, it is wise to close every prayer with praise to God for the answer He has already given."

 

When Jesus prayed to Abba Father, He prayed under the same simple condition that you and I are called to pray. The condition of surrender. 

 

When we meet the simple condition of surrender, we can be assured that heaven is moving on our behalf even before we finish our prayer. 

2 Comments
  • Thank you Cindy. I. Afraid I’ve been I’ve been in a skeptical season and your words are what I need to ponder on. (As always🥰)

    October 12, 2022

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