The One Who Hears Prayer

Jim Cymbala

In addition to describing God as Creator, Comforter, and King, the Bible also calls him “the Hearer of Prayer.” This is one of the sweetest yet least known descriptions of the Lord in Scripture: “O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come.” Or, more literally, “Hearer of Prayer, to you all men will come” (Psalm 65:2).

If God did not hear our cries and prayers, wouldn’t our world be incredibly lonely and depressing? Fortunately, the Lord is not some distant Creator who set the world in motion and then proceeded to ignore it. He is the “Hearer of Prayer” who made costly provision that his people might “approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Hebrews 4:16).

God loves to answer our prayers, but the Bible speaks of definite principles that govern a successful approach to him. Just as God created an ordered universe with physical laws governing it, so it is with prayer. Prayer is not some haphazard, accidental undertaking.

The great reformer Martin Luther boldly declared that God does nothing but in answer to prayer. That is probably very close to the truth that Scripture affirms. Over and again, as God deals with his people, we see this cycle:

Purpose – Promise – Prayer

The Psalmist asserts that the Lord’s deliverance is at hand because “the appointed time has come” and then he quickly adds that God “will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea” (Psalm 102:13, 17).

We need to realize that the promises that overflow our Bibles will overflow into our own lives only as we appropriate them through prayer. God wants us to feel secure regarding our relationship with him. He wants us to know with certainty that we possess eternal life as part of his family. Because we are his children, then, we can bring our needs to him with certainty in prayer. We can have the same confidence in asking for things as we have about our salvation.

Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.