"golden bowls full of incense,
which are the prayers of the saints"
Does God always hear? Can He choose not to? Or can He just not help it?
Or is it all in the definition of the word "hear" vs the word "listen"? Like when I'm not paying full attention to my kids: I'm aware they're talking, but I'm concentrating on something else, so I don't really hear what they're saying.
Except, of course, that He is omniscient. I'm not. So I don't already know what my kids are going to say.
So I'm looking at Hebrews 5:7 today. And it's reminding me of what my attitude should be. See, sometimes I forget. He's Father, but He's also Lord. He's Abba, but He's also King of kings. I think we can get a little familiar sometimes, you know? Not respectful enough. Forgetting fear. Forgetting awe.
And then I come across a verse like Hebrews 5:7. Here it is in a few translations:
"Jesus, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared"
(King James Version)
"While Jesus was here on earth, He offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the One could rescue Him from death. And God heard His prayers because of His deep reverence for God."
(New Living Translation)
"While He lived on earth, anticipating death, Jesus cried out in pain and wept in sorrow as He offered up priestly prayers to God. Because He honored God, God answered Him."
"... He was heard because of His godly devotion."
(Common English Bible)
"... He truly worshiped God, and God listened to His prayers."
(Contemporary English Version)
"... His prayers were answered because of His great respect for God."
"... Because He was humble and devoted, God heard Him."
(Good News Translation)
"... His prayer was heard because He trusted God."
(New Century Version)
"... God heard Him because He truly honored God."
(New International Reader's Version)
"... He was heard because of His reverent submission."
(New International Version)
Okay, several translations.
But do you see the point? First, please note that the word "heard" does not just mean God perceived the sound of His voice. It means that God heeded Him. Valued His words.
Second, please notice that even though God heard and answered (according to the ERV), Jesus still didn't get what He wanted: namely, the cup to pass Him by. Being heard and answered by God doesn't mean you get what you want.
Third, notice Jesus' attitude toward His Father in heaven. Crucial. If you want to be heard, be worthy of being heard.
~ "Hear my prayer, O God;
give ear to the words of my mouth" ~
~ "I will praise You, O Lord my God,
with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore." ~