The Upper Room Devotion for Wednesday, October 18, 2023, was written by Joan R. S. McDowell of Scotland, United Kingdom.
23 After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. 24 God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 God looked upon the Israelites, and God took notice of them.
Exodus 2:23-25 NRSV
A friend and I meet monthly to pray. We would share our worries and answered prayers, then spend some time talking to God about these things. We have seen prayers answered over the years and have supported one another through difficult times. One time, when we met to pray, my friend shared something that was really bothering her.
It took her a long time to share her story, and all our time together was used up talking through this one incident. At the end of our time together, my friend was distressed because we had not prayed in our usual way. But throughout her story, I had asked her questions, and we had discussed what we thought Christ's response would be. I expressed to her my confidence that God had heard our conversation and was fully aware of the situation. God knew her heart's desire was to honor God in the situation. Just as God heard the concerns of the Israelites when they were in Egypt, God hears us - before we even speak. Though we had not gone through our usual routine of talking and then praying, I know that God was present with us.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
Too often, as people of faith, we feel awkward praying, believing our prayers need to sound like the scripted prayers in worship. Yet, the best advice I ever received about prayer was to think of prayer as a conversation with God. Praying in a conversational manner not only eases the pressure to use flowery language, but it also emphasizes the importance of taking time to listen for God's reply. Thinking of prayer as a conversation with God also expands how and when we talk with God. We can talk to God as we're sitting with a sick friend by taking a moment to think: Lord, heal my friend.
Joan's assertion is correct: "I expressed to her my confidence that God had heard our conversation and was fully aware of the situation. God knew her heart's desire was to honor God in the situation. Just as God heard the concerns of the Israelites when they were in Egypt, God hears us - before we even speak."
Hevenly Father, we thank you that you hear our words and know what is on our hearts. Amen.