Taken and adapted from, “The Return of Prayers.”
Written by Thomas Goodwin, Puritan
Edited for dynamic thought and sense
…you let God speak to you in vain, because you are not listening to what he has to tell you. If two men are walking along, and if one has spoken what’s on his mind but ignores the other man’s answers, he greatly insults the man.
Now if you want to study God’s dealings with us, do so by comparing our prayers with his answers; that is, by our speaking to God in prayer, and his speaking to us by way of answers. Why? Because in essence, these dialogues between us and him comprise the greater part of our walk with God. It is said of Samuel’s prophecy, “that not a word of it fell to the ground,” 1 Sam.3:19; and so it may be said of our prayers; and so it ought to be of God’s answers as well; not a word of them should fall to the ground.
Now in 1 Kings, 8:56, it is said,”there hath not failed one word of all his good promises.” Solomon had observed this by painstaking survey, and by making comparisons of all which God had spoken and done for them, and he found not one promise unfulfilled.
And so Solomon brings these exact words here for a very specific purpose: to confirm their faith in this, that no prayers would fail, if grounded on a promise.
This was done to encourage others, and to even encourage his own heart to diligence. And it was also done as a motive for God to hear him; for in verse 59, he infers,”Let my words be nigh thee,” seeing you always thus perform your good word unto your people. Yes, if you don’t listen, you will provoke the Lord to not answer at all; he will forbear to answer, because he sees that talking to you will be in complete vain.
When a man is talking to someone that’s not listening, he will cease to talk, and completely leave off communicating, and so will God.