“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” (Matthew 6:7-8, NLT).
Does God hear our prayers only if we’re good enough or if we say the right words in the right way? Does he wait to listen until we are in the correct position or we reach a quota of minutes? God doesn’t wear ear plugs until we get all our prayer ducks in a row and then pop them out when we’ve completed some magic formula. He knows what we need even before we do and often answers before we ask.
God is always listening and not just listening, but knowing and anticipating. He doesn’t have to wait until we’ve prayed about something before he can act. Praying doesn’t release God’s power. He wants us to pray because he wants us to participate in what he’s doing and he wants us to learn to care about others as much as he does. God hears, but his hearing is so much more than what we define as hearing; it’s what author Walt Wangerin called a divine and merciful awareness. We don’t have to wonder if he’s listening – he not only hears our words, he hears our hearts as well.