One time I attended the Mass, my thoughts wandered (errr… my mind does that a lot, sorry Lord!). I got to the part during the Prayers of the Faithful, where the response is usually “Lord, Hear our Prayer”, or sometimes it’s “Lord, Listen the prayers of Your People.”
I began to wonder, what’s the difference? And why do we still ask Him to hear our prayers, or listen to our prayers? Doesn’t He always do that?
So, the ever-curious-me-that-perhaps-God-is-telling-me-something researched on the meanings of the words “hear” and “listen,” and here is what Google showed me:
HEAR: verb; perceive with the ear the sound made by (someone or something); be told or informed of; be aware of; know of the existence of.
LISTEN: verb; give one’s attention to a sound;
And then, even while the mass is going on, I somehow had this revelation:
When we ask God to Hear our prayers, we are asking Him to hear them out, regardless of who is asking them, because He knows that the prayer is from someone who believes God and what He is capable of doing. We are also asking Him to hear us out, regardless if we have sinned. Regardless if we haven’t always been faithful. We are asking Him to hear us out because everyone deserves to be heard, regardless of what we did.
When we ask God to Listen to the prayers of the people, we are asking Him to listen to the prayers. Because God is always listening to us, He listens to everything we say. He listens to our stories, He listens to our sighs. He listens even when what we say is directed at Him with anger. He listens all the time. But during the prayers of the faithful, we are asking Him to just listen to the prayers in our heart. We are asking Him to pay attention particularly on the needs we are asking of Him.
So, somehow, this is a little related to the readings for today [which includes the verse below]…
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
1 Jn 5:14-15