When little kids want to tell you a secret, they climb up in your lap, cup their hands around your ear, and whisper warm, loud, and often incoherent words into it. For some reason, there is always condensation in your ear after the secret. I cringe even at the thought of this feeling.
It’s not just the feeling of the whisper that is scary, but the secrets kids tell are a bit scary too. A kid’s secrets are often about something terrible that happened (your favorite jewelry flushed down the toilet), or something deep and wonderful (they love you and want to be with you). The moment before the whisper causes you to fear what kind of secret will unfold. It will either be offensive or intimate.
Prayer is a lot like the whispers of children.
Yet, I don’t always feel the energy or joy of a young child to pray with eager, somewhat loud whispers. Sometimes I lay in bed, tired of my sin, yet longing to be known and loved by God. It is in these moments that I can only muster the strength for a measly whisper: “Father.”
In that small prayer, God reminds me that he is there and he is eager to hear me. No one in the world can hear what I say when I whisper, but God listens to it all.
You see, just like a father who offers his ear to the whispers of his young child, God listens to the prayers of his children. God is not afraid of the condensation I may create in his ear with my warm breath, and he’s not afraid of the words I say. He leans all the way in. My most shameful sins, deepest regrets, and worst fears do not frighten the Lord who knows all things.
The listening, loving, inclined ear of God is a gift that flows from the gospel.
God’s ear used to be off limits to us. He could not bear to be with us because our secrets broke his heart. God offered us intimacy and we spat in His face. Our sin kept us from God’s ear.
But God, who longs to draw his children close, came into the world in our skin. Jesus had perfect intimacy with God - something we could never achieve on our own because of our sin. It was at the end of his life that his perfection met our sin eye-to-eye. He whispered “it is finished” on the cross to create an open line of communication between us and God. God, through Jesus, adopted us as sons. He did this to make it possible for us to cry out “Abba, Father” and share all our secrets (Galatians 4:6). Now, because Jesus finished the work of salvation in his death and resurrection, God’s ear is turned toward us.
We now have full access to the Father. Brothers and sisters, we have freedom to whisper our prayers to our Father God. He hears our every word.