The Weekly Word - A Devotion for the Week of April 27
“In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. – Jeremiah 29:12-14
Sometimes it feels like God can’t hear us or that He’s not listening, doesn’t it? We pray, we wait and we wonder – is He here? Does He hear me? Will He respond?
In these verses from Jeremiah, God tells us clearly and emphatically that yes, He is listening, always listening. In fact, it’s no coincidence that these verses come right after a long list of instructions from God: build, work, plant gardens, keep moving in the right direction, have faith that my plans for you are good and above all pray: “Look for me wholeheartedly, and you will find me.”
It’s easy to get complacent in our prayers. Our minds wander. We find ourselves thinking about all the items on our to-do lists. We are distracted by our many worldly concerns. We might be reciting words or thinking prayerful thoughts, but sometimes our hearts aren’t always in our prayers.
God understands this about us and forgives us for our wandering ways. At the same time, though, He also yearns for us to love Him with our whole selves – hearts, minds and souls – wholeheartedly. One of the ways we can do this is by simply paying attention and being present to His presence all around us.
Listen to the variety of birdsong on these spring mornings – robin, cardinal, goldfinch, woodpecker, mourning dove. Breathe in the sweet scent of apple blossoms and lilac. Notice the delicate leaves unfurling on the trees and shrubs. Pay attention to a word of kindness you receive, a smile, a gesture of goodwill in these trying times.
These are all small but precious gifts from God, and our praise and gratitude for these blessings are received by God as prayers. When we are present in His creation and among His people, we are present to God Himself.
When we give our whole selves to God, opening our hearts to Him, we will find Him just where He promised He would be: with us, right at our sides until the end of time.
Gracious God, You are everywhere, and yet, how often I miss Your presence in my daily life. Today I pray for the eyes to see and the ears to hear You. May I not be so distracted with everyday concerns that I forget the most important thing: You. Amen.