Why does God listen to my prayer?

I got a very interesting question on a Connect Card this past Sunday, and I’d like to interact with it here on my site. Here’s what it said:

With all of the prayers God hears every day – how does he hear yours? What makes me as important as everyone else in the world that I am heard?

Here is my response:

Your question is a great one!

I wanted to give you a quick response of encouragement and explanation of why God would pay attention to your prayers.

First of all, remember that He’s God, and he already knows everything. In fact, it’s a little wrong to think that God needs to exert any energy at all to pay attention to our prayers because as Jesus said:

… your Father knows what you need before you ask him. — Matthew 6:8

The fact that God knows everything means that he knows what you need before you ask it. You don’t need to do anything to “earn his attention” as if you have information to say that will “fill him in” on what’s happening with your life or what you’d like to have happen.

However, even if God knows what we need and even if he understands all our requests, that doesn’t mean he will care about those needs or requests. Honestly, that’s my real concern. Why would God care to be involved in my life at all? Is it because I’m important or even more important than someone else? Is that why he pays attention to me?

Actually, the problem here is that again, we are thinking of this question as if God were a human with our limitations. As God, he doesn’t need to prioritize people in order to care for them. With our limited resources and time, we need to care for someone first, and then someone second, and we need to ration our time and care based on the “importance” of the people for whom we care. With God, however, he doesn’t need to divvy up his resources that way. He has infinity in his hand, and he can help everyone at once if he wishes.

Nevertheless, there is one other problem to address. There is one situation, one circumstance that divides people from God. There is one category of person who doesn’t have God’s ear, so to speak. Isaiah 59:2 explains:

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. — Isaiah 59:2

Elsewhere in the Bible, we get further indication that sin has the power to cut off the line of communication between a person and God. But that’s another reason that Jesus’ work for us is so amazing. Consider this passage:

And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. — Heb 10:19-22 NLT

Or in another version:

So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body. So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. — Hebrews 10:19-22 MSG

The Bible is clear that Jesus has opened the way up for people to come directly before God in heaven with any need at all. Therefore, God hears prayers because he is God, he cares for the prayers of his people because he is God, but the link between us and God is established only through Jesus. Those who know Jesus have unhindered access to God’s heart.

Jesus said:

“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. — John 16:25-27

God hears us because he is God, because he loves us, and because we have been restored to fellowship with him through Jesus.

If you have received God’s grace to you through Jesus and you have given him authority over your life, then you have full access to God and should not worry about any prayer going unheard.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6-7