Luke 9:18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
Two things are of interest about this simple verse. The first is that Jesus didn’t always go off by Himself to pray, but prayed in the presence of His disciples as well. We have no record of whether He was praying out loud or silently here, but the general impression of the Gospels is that He probably did both. Naturally, the only ones we have a record of are those He prayed out loud. The second thing is that His famous question to His disciples, recorded here, was a direct outgrowth of His time in prayer. In other words, it would seem that the Father told Him to ask them what He did. Any time we pray we need to “have our listening ears on,” as little children are sometimes told to do. We all tend to hear without listening sometimes. That creates enough problems when it’s between people, but it’s much more serious when we fail to listen to God. However, the Biblical record is that mankind has done that a lot! When we read the Bible, too often we take it in just as literature, failing to recognize that it is written to us personally. We don’t believe that God cares that much about us personally! One of the most incredible things about the Gospel is that He does indeed care. Jesus indicated the extent of that caring when He said that even the hairs of our head are numbered! (Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7) When God cares about us so much, why would He not be speaking to us, guiding us, informing us, and assuring us of His love? After all, that’s what a good father does for his children, isn’t it? When God is the perfect Father, we need to work at being better children, listening to what He says to us and not just letting His words go over our heads or whistle past our ears.
I have written before about how I have heard God speak to me in what could have been an audible voice (though no one but me heard it) on two, maybe three occasions, but inaudible impressions are frequent. Sometimes, if I’m listening, He guides me in such mundane things as when to change lanes when driving. If I’m listening, it really speeds up and/or smooths out my trip. That’s very gentle training, because the consequences of listening or not listening aren’t so momentous, and it helps me tune my ears to Him. I wish I could say I always listen attentively to Him, but that’s another area in which I’m still growing. As a pastor, this is naturally an area in which I want the believers to grow as well, but training them isn’t easy. I can give testimonies, but I don’t want to brag or be seen as bragging. What I can do is pray for them to have their ears opened, and I need to do that more. I want us to be a congregation that listens to our Lord and does what He says, for His glory alone.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the many ways You have guided over the past week. Help us learn from everything You allow us to experience, hearing what You are saying however You choose to express it to us and responding in full obedience, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!