Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Leaning Into Lent: Day 7—Inclination of the Ear

One of the Psalms appointed for Morning Prayer  this morning was Psalm 17, the sixth verse of which says,
I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me;
incline your ear to me, and listen to my words.
I find idea that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ might incline, or lean, his ear in my direction to hear my words very appealing. It creates a very pleasing and comforting image in my mind’s eye. I’ve seen parents and grandparents lovingly lean closer to their children and grandchildren to listen to them. I’ve done it myself. 

The thought of God leaning in to listen to my prayers makes me more inclined to lean closer to him. It encourages me to persevere with the prayer part of observing my Holy Lent trusting that, as the time is right, God answers me. 

Jesus also encouraged perseverance in prayer. His Parable of the Persistent Widow was an object lesson of our need to pray always and not lose heart (Luke 18.1). 

Careful and honest Lent observance, however, also means acknowledging the uncomfortable fact that sometimes God chooses to lean away and not hear me when I pray: 
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. (Isaiah 59:2 ESV)
This is where the self examination and penitence parts of a Holy Lent come into their own.  As all my separating iniquities are identified, confessed and repented of, I am properly inclined to the Lord, his ear is inclined to me once again and his face will be hidden no longer.