“Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.” (2 Chronicles 6:21)
No less than eight times in Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple does he beseech God to “hear from heaven” (see 2 Chronicles 6:21, 23, 25, 27, 30, 33, 35, 39). But the obvious question is just how can God hear our prayers, especially those uttered only in silence?
The answer is in both God’s omniscience and His omnipresence. Although God is indeed on His heavenly throne, He is also right here! “O LORD,” David prayed, “thou hast searched me, and known me. . . . thou understandest my thought afar off” (Psalm 139:1-2). He can, and does, hear our prayers. “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?” (Psalm 94:9).
In a manner of speaking, He hears the prayers of redeemed children today even more directly than in David’s day, for we who trust in Christ have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit. “God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them” (2 Corinthians 6:16). “The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers” (1 Peter 3:12).
God can indeed hear our prayers. But there are times when He refuses to hear! “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God . . . that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).
Yes, but if we ask anything according to His will (and this implies first living according to His will), “he heareth us: and . . . we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15). HMM