All praying people believe God hears them. If they didn’t, why in the world would they pray? But I wonder how many believe He actually listens and responds? And then I wonder how many realize that sometimes He listens and responds even when we haven’t prayed?

As we join Hagar in Genesis 16, we find her on a journey of discouragement and despair. And as she is in the midst of her pain and confusion, one thing that strikes me as encouraging is that while we don’t read of Hagar uttering even one word to the LORD, this in no way prevents Him from hearing and listening and responding to her. God responds to wordless prayers.

Now you may find yourself thinking, “No He doesn’t. We have to pray and use words in order for Him to hear and listen.” But let’s be reminded and encouraged by Paul’s teaching in Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Do you see those last two words? Of course, you do! Wordless groans.

You know, sometimes our life is so tough, our circumstances so discouraging, and our pain so overwhelming, the best we can do is…groan. And that’s perfectly fine by Him because wordless groans are the prayer language of our God.

Let’s face it, we all have challenges, worries, stresses, and burdens here at Emmanuel Faith. As I think about our church family, I know some are facing uncertainties as they look into the future, others are carrying around deep regrets about the past, and still, others are heartsick with concern for their kids or grandkids (and this is to name just a few of the things with which we wrestle). The reality is sometimes we are able to give words to how we are feeling, while at other times the best we can do is a deep sigh or a groan or a silent tear.

The good news we receive from this account is when we pray, and by whatever means we pray, we have a God who listens as well as He hears. Take heart, Emmanuel Faith. We are not alone!

Scott Smith
Connection and Growth Pastor

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