God hears prayers. Do we hear God? When God speaks He speaks loudly. But sometimes He seems so far away. We have real and immediate problems and we pray for his guidance yet it never seems to come. If God really cares then he shouldn’t seem so far away.
God loves us deeply and cares immensely for us. Could it be that we are not really listening? Or maybe God is not saying the things we want to hear so we filter Him out. Communication requires both a sender and a receiver. The person receiving the message must be in tune to the sender or else no message arrives. I suspect we are often on the wrong frequency. We’ve tuned to the wrong station and we are missing His message.
But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts. “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 7:11-13)
That’s a quip from Zechariah, one of the so-called minor prophets. But there is nothing minor about these words. The people have come to inquire of the Lord concerning their worship. Instead of answering their question God rebukes them for the inattention to his previous teachings. He says they “refused to pay attention” they were “stubborn” and were hard-hearted (vss. 11, 12). All this in spite of the fact that God was speaking to them through the Holy Spirit and through inspired prophets.
Perhaps it would be wise to pause and consider our own condition. When we suddenly cry out to God in our troubles do we ignore the months and years of his pleadings for us through the inspiration of Scripture? I have a preaching colleague who often speaks of 911 prayers. We’ve ignored God for years but suddenly an emergency arises and He is the first we call. Maybe if we were not stubborn, hard hearted and refused to pay attention in the first place we would not be in the crisis we are facing.
The text also says that great anger came from the Lord because of their inattention. No one likes to be ignored especially when trying to help someone. To ignore the pleadings of the Lord brings extreme risk for our future welfare.
But there is one other very sobering comment from the Lord:
“As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear” (vs. 13).
Do you want God to hear you when you cry out? Maybe by listening now, in the small things, your voice will be heard in the big moments of crisis.