Lenten Devotional for Thursday March 7

Scripture Passage – Romans 10:8–13(NRSV)

But what does it say? “The word is near you on your lips and in your heart”(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11 The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13 For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Talking on the phone is one of my job requirements. It really has been that way for a while even in my other careers. I can remember the long evenings at Merrill Lynch “cold-calling” and asking people if they would like to meet about their finances. As you can imagine, after those evenings most everything else in life seems tame.

One of two things would happen when I would cold-call. Either the person would pick up and 99 times out of 100 I would be told “no” [that would be the kind and family friendly version] or I would reach an answering machine and then leave a message. Yes, under 30 year olds, people do leave messages. After a few difficult “no’s” to start an evening, can I admit to you that the rest of the night I prayed for answering machines?! But here is something that I quickly realized…no one ever called me back. I know its shocking that a person in their right mind wouldn’t return a telemarketing call but I am living proof!

In verse 13 above, Paul writes that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God always picks up. There is no answering machine in God’s kingdom.

And yet, I believe that we often pray as if to an answering machine in which the likelihood of a returned call is about the same as to a telemarketer.

How would you prayer life change if your expectation of an answer increased? What would you say to God if you knew God was really listening?

Our issue is not that God doesn’t listen, our issue often is that we don’t look for God’s answers. We look for our own answers and if they materialize then we may or may not give God credit. But what if we prayed and then began to look for answers that may very well be outside the bounds of our own imagination or desires?

That’s my prayer for us this Lenten season. I know that God hears and answers either yes, no, or not yet. I pray we might have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the wisdom to discern, and the heart to accept God’s response.

Let’s pray with more expectancy for answers and not simply use prayer as a self-help session.

Lord Jesus, you promised that we could ask in your name and it would be done. We believe that Lord…help our unbelief.

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