Hello, this is Will Hardy with ManTalk Radio.
We are all about breaking down the walls of race and denomination. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few minutes. Enjoy it, share it. But most of all, thank you for listening to the Truth Network Podcast. Any time about anything. On Encouraging Prayer, Dr. James Banks, author of the best-selling Prayers for Prodigals and many other books on prayer, provides weekly biblical insight to help you learn to love to pray. And now, here's James.
So today we're going to talk about one of the coolest things about prayer, and that is that God is always ready to listen. So James, where do you want to start? Well, let's start with a question, Robbie. How good a listener would you say you are?
Not bad, I suppose, as a radio guy. You know, I have to listen to people and respond, you know. Okay, but what if I were to ask Tammy, your wife, that question?
What would you say? Ah, probably the same thing your wife would say, James. I'm just guessing.
Good answer. Because honestly, it's something I have to work at, you know. It's something I have to be intentional about. It requires focus.
And you know, for me as an ADD guy, sometimes that's not so easy. But that's the beautiful thing about it when it comes to God. God has no trouble listening at all. Oh wow, I've never really thought about that. But I do love that, because there are few things more frustrating than trying to talk to someone, and you're not getting through. Maybe they're looking at their phone, or whatever. But I guess God never is looking at his phone. But I mean, isn't that true? Sometimes we feel that way about God, and that maybe he might not be paying attention, because our prayers sometimes don't meet the answers that we sometimes are hoping they would? Yeah, that's true, Rothke, because now that you mention that, with cell phones, it's interesting. You see that all the time, don't you?
I mean, families are out together, and everybody's looking at their cell phones, nobody's talking to each other. And that kind of inattentiveness, if we're not careful, we could think, you know, maybe God's just kind of tuned out. You know, we can equate not getting what we want with God's not being there, but he is there.
And he loves us more deeply than we know. But you know, sometimes too, there are things in our lives that hurt our prayers. There's a psalm that tells us, if I cherish sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. Wow, that's a good point. And don't you think that when we go to prayer doubting, if anyone is listening, you know, it really makes praying a lot harder?
Sure, it does. Yeah, I think the problem we face when an answer seems slow in coming is that we think that God is somehow reluctant to listen. But I like what Martin Luther said about this. He said, prayer isn't overcoming God's reluctance, it's laying hold of his willingness. And that means that sometimes we have to keep asking, you know, we have to reach when we pray, to keep praying for a while. But I think part of that is probably just the fact that we're praying matters to God. He loves it when we pray, and he wants us to pray. So maybe sometimes we have to pray a few times for something to happen. Yeah, so you're saying that it's almost as if he's saying, you know, as long as you're here, why don't you pull up a chair?
We'll talk a bit, right? You've got to wonder about that. I think that's a great way to see it. Because if you think about it, apart from the Lord's prayer where he tells us how and what to pray, when Jesus teaches about prayer, he doesn't give a bunch of methods. What he does do is tell us to keep praying and not to give up, and he does that on several occasions. Oh, that's true. I mean, he told stories about that, and you can see that in his interaction with people like the woman who came to him for her daughter, at first he doesn't say anything, and then it seems like he's going to say no, but really in the end he says yes.
Yeah, that's just it. He interacts with her. It's all about relationship, and that's what God wants from us. If we just boil it down to requests and answers, we miss the very point of prayer, and that is that God loves us and wants to be with us. That's why he's so ready to listen. You know, again, the listening isn't just about input and output.
It's about just being with him. Oh, yeah, and knowing that really can make such a difference. It really makes me want to pray more. Exactly, and that's why I wanted to talk about this today, because if we start with the wrong idea that we have to try really hard to get God's attention, we're really missing something. So as you listen today, I want to encourage everyone to know that God loves you so much.
He longs for a real relationship with each of us. That's why Jesus came, and receiving him is the start of that. But afterwards, talking with God, oh man, that's a gift.
Think about it this way. Who's your favorite performer or your favorite public figure? You know, someone you've been a fan of for a long time. Imagine not only that you got a chance to talk to that person, but imagine that they really wanted to talk to you and were interested in what you had to say. Robby, I mean, just think of it this way.
Imagine if you could get Justin Bieber on the phone right now. Oh, yeah, yeah. I get your point. I mean, it really is a privilege, and even though, you know, we know that, but we tend to forget it.
But it's true. You know, God really does cherish those moments with us, and I think the challenge for us is to cherish them as much as he does. Yeah, and I feel like I should apologize to Justin Bieber right now. You know, I think one of the ways that we can cherish God is to just ditch the list sometimes. You know, to go to him not with the intent of asking for anything, but just wanting to be with him, to tell him we love him, to thank him, or just rest in him.
You know, no agenda. Give it up. Just go to love him for who he is and what he does, and just go to be with him. You know, it's funny that you mention that, because, you know, one of my big heroes is John Eldridge. And one time, I did get a chance to meet him, and actually, you know, when I met him, since I was doing live interviews right there, I asked him if he would mind.
And he said yes, but his handler said no, we don't have time right now, and he scurried him off. Well, about five minutes later, John came back by himself, and he goes, oh, man, I'm dying to talk to you. And, you know, as you were talking about that story, I couldn't help but think of the grace that was there, how I felt when, you know, John Eldridge came back to talk to me, like, and to think God himself wants to do that?
I mean, how cool is that? Yeah, that's the beautiful thing. And to know that we are so loved, I mean, that each of us individually, I mean, that it's real, that he's right there, you know, again, it's, I think it helps if we look at prayer not as about requests and answers, but about moments. Pull up a chair of prayer, as you were saying, and then I think we're getting closer to God's heart.
So Robbie, would you finish up today by asking for God's help with just that? Oh, Lord, I thank you so much for this insight that you've given James today. And really, as I reflect back on that conversation with John Eldridge, I don't remember what we talked about, but it doesn't matter, because I just enjoyed, you know, actually fellowshipping with him. And wow, that's exactly the point. Lord, help us to realize that as we fellowship with you, that it may not matter.
Wouldn't it be cool if we got to the point where we didn't even know what we talked about, but the important part was that we just got to talk to you? I mean, how wonderful is that? And Lord, help us to cherish that and get to that place. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. You can hear more from Pastor James by visiting his website, jamesbanks.org, or by visiting Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina. May God bless you and encourage you as you pray.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-11 14:11:37 / 2023-03-11 14:15:35 / 4