One of the goals I set for myself in 2019 was to journal more frequently.
I have a little black notebook that I keep on the bookshelf in my bedroom. It gathers more dust than ink, unfortunately. I am terrible at consistently journaling. I want to write down my prayers because I think it offers me a chance to go back in time and see how God was at work in my life.
When I journal my prayers, I can literally see those prayers answered on a timeline. It’s fascinating!
I got the journal out the other day and flipped back to March 2017. It’d been two years and I was curious to see some of my old prayers. I’d had written things like, Help me find favor in my next TV contract, and Give my wife peace about her parent’s upcoming move to Costa Rica. Both happened. The thing that stood out most from those 2017 entries was a bible verse I jotted down.
“I came across a new verse,” I wrote. “Psalm 116:1-2”.
I promise you I have not read that verse in the 700+ days since I wrote it down in my journal. I don’t recall doing so, at least. I looked it up and God flashed truth in my eyes.
“1 I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. 2 Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”
This was especially powerful because of what I had just done thirty minutes before.
If you have small children, then you know how tricky bedtime routines can be. It’s a race to get from the dinner table, to the bathtub, to the toothbrush then to the pillow. It doesn’t always go smoothly.
This was the case with my three-year-old son on this particular night. I must have asked him three times to go change into his pajamas. I was busy doing dishes and assumed he could handle this on his own. My first clue that this was not happening should have been the pitter-patter of feet in the hall. My second clue was the laughing. Normally, neither of those things are required for the clothes-to-jammies transition.
I realized after a few minutes that my request was either not being heard or not being taken seriously. Neither is acceptable. We have taught our kids that mommy and daddy make the rules and God backs us up. “Honor your father and mother”, we say. We expect commands to be followed the first time.
I walked back to the hallway and found my son sitting on the floor. He was still in his clothes. I could tell that my request was not getting through. So, I decided to make my message clearer.
“Easton, come here,” I said.
He strode over to me with a I-got-caught look in his eyes. I got down on one knee and squared his shoulders with mine, so we could be eye to eye.
I told him I needed him to put on his pajamas. He smiled at me and said okay. He ran off and did what was asked of him.
I thought about this when I read Psalm 116:1-2. The verse promises us that “He bends down to listen”. My son was not getting my message. I was trying to tell him something. It was a command designed to help him. He wasn’t getting it. It was only when I bent down on my knee and looked him in the eye that the message connected.
I feel like I miss God’s message a lot.
I get distracted. These verses promise us that, no matter how busy we are and disconnected from God we feel, He’s never looking away from us. Our Heavenly Father is down on one knee, just like a loving earthly father, looking us in the eye, ready to help and heal.
PROMISES FROM PSALM 116:1-2
God hears me.
God is attentive.
God is attentive not just today, but for “as long as I have breath!”.
That’s a big deal.
In a world fighting for our attention more than ever before, it’s comforting to know that we always have God’s. He may not always have our full focus, like my son failed to grasp mine, but God has His eyes permanently fixed on you and his ears are tuned to your needs.
The next time you feel like there is a disconnect between you and God, keep in mind it’s not His because He's being distant. He’s waiting for you to offer your “voice” and “prayer for mercy” from His eye-to-eye perspective.