(click for podcast version)
In Klingon the word is 'Ij, Mando'a, sushir In what is called Federation standard in Star Trek - or Basic in Star Wars, (that is to say, English) LISTEN is a verb and can be a command. The same speaker, simply can by context and emphasis change the word from a description of an activity to an outright demand. To what do you listen? If you're like me (and if you're listening to this, I suspect you might be) you listen to podcasts. I listen to a lot of radio as well, from local AM and FM stations, to shortwave, to streaming internet. I'm a radio amateur as well, so I listen to voices from all over the word - and they can listen to me too. I also love audio books - so I've got quite a collection, from audio tapes to quite a few mp3 files. Last night as we were working on a messy project in my house (making some candy), we were watching a program on television - because of the project I had to keep leaving the room, so I grabbed my TV-radio receiver and tuned in to the audio portion of the show so as not to miss a thing. The common factor in all of that (radios, podcasts, audio books and such) is that I was actively involved in listening. I've made an effort, even applied technology, to LISTEN to the things I wanted to hear. Now - if WE do all that, to listen to all manner of mundane things - don't you think God is attending just as carefully to what WE are saying? After all, regarding prayer, Jesus says:
The Hebrew word 'azan can mean "to expand," to broaden out the ear - that is, just as WE use tools to improve our ability to LISTEN to things from radio to podcasts, the Psalmist is calling on God to do the same. LISTEN! Pay ATTENTION to me!
Now - do you think God needs to be reminded? As Psalm 38 notes, Lord, all my desire is before you. My groaning is not hidden from you.
He does know - as Jesus said - what we need. He doesn't HAVE to be reminded - but here's the deal - he WANTS us to call to him. Again and again the Bible commands us to call out to Him in prayer.
- I Chronicles 16:11: Seek the LORD and his strength. Seek his face forever more.
- Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you.
- Luke 18:1: He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray, and not give up,
- Philippians 4:6: In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
- Colossians 4:2: Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving;
- I Thessalonians 5:17: Pray without ceasing.
- James 5:13: Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises.
He wants us to call - and he will listen. When we pray with the psalmist for God to listen - be assured, this prayer will be answered.