Prayer can be a frustrating activity. We make our requests to God, but how do we know if he is listening? Rodney Reeves discusses the generally unilateral nature of prayer in his Christianity Today article, “No, Prayer Isn’t Really a Conversation.” Reeves points out that many people pray for food but still go hungry. Others pray for justice but still remain oppressed. Reeves gives a solid response regarding God’s seeming silence at times:
When Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34), heaven was silent. The sky grew dark, and the ground shook. God seemed angry.
The divine comeback, God’s ultimate response to evil, injustice, sin, and death—what could be called the epitome of divine nonverbal communication—is the resurrected Christ. “God has not only raised the Lord,” Paul said, “but will also raise us up through his power” (1 Cor. 6:14). We may be tempted to believe that evil, suffering, and death prove God’s silence. But these are only ambient noises, and one day they will be silenced once and for all. God will have the last word when he raises us from the dead, when we are the embodiment of answered prayer.
We can trust that God hears our prayers whether they are expressed audibly or silently in our heads. God is all-knowing, and his omniscience includes knowing what we are thinking at all times (1 John 3:20). The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:17–18). We can rest in God’s perfect will as we pray to him, knowing that his peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7).