When God hears our prayers

As Sunday School kids, we know that Jesus still had to carry the cross, bear the shame of being spat on and the anguish of being abandoned.

So, I was taken aback when I read this verse:

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

– Hebrews 5:7 NIV

The last part of the sentence puzzled me. Jesus “was heard because of his reverent submission”? We knew in the gospel books, in Gethsemane, Jesus pleaded with God, with sweat dripping down like blood, to take away the suffering he had to bear. But in the end, Jesus still had to bear the heavy load of the cross. “But why? Didn’t God already hear Jesus’ prayers? Why did Jesus still have to go through the suffering”,  I thought.

Here, in Hebrews, I see God’s response. God heard Jesus’ prayers, and only because of Jesus’ reverent submission.

This epiphany from Hebrews corrected my flawed thinking that: heard prayers = answered prayers. It also taught me two things:

1. God hears our prayers when we bring them to Him with reverence and in humility, not in a demanding, defiant manner.

2. God is an almighty and sovereign God. Even when prayers are heard, it does not mean that God will answer them according to what we ask for. It does not mean that God will remove us from the suffering we are going through. Things will turn out as He wills, not as we will. But at the same time, as we entrust the suffering we face into His hands, God shows us that He can turn it into good, into something far glorious, far better for the future.

What great hope we have in Jesus and in our almighty God, as we go through this challenging but short journey we call, ‘Life’.


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