I cry out to you.
I call to you.
I pray to you, God.
I am praying to you.
Because you answer me.
Because I’m sure of an answer.
Because you will help me.
Because I know you will answer, O God
So tilt your ears toward me now.
So—answer! bend your ear!
Listen to what I’m saying!
And answer my prayer!
And listen as I pray.-Psalm 17:6 (CEB, MSG, CEV, NLT)
I wonder if most Christians have confidence that God hears and answers each of their prayers? We don't see the answer perhaps, so we might be tempted to believe God does not answer. Then, we might start believing God does not even hear us.
David had a different perspective. He believed God hears and answers prayer. He had plenty of experiences of feeling like God was distant and not answering, but he prayed and believed God would answer anyway.
Open heaven prayer is when you know God hears you and you hear back. Open heaven prayer is when you get answers. The answer might be something you don't expect, but you get answers. Open heaven prayer is when you might not understand the answer or "get it", but you know God is answering and will answer. When you don't get it, you pray some more, you keep seeking God, you cry out; because you get it that God hears and answers.
We need to pray about everything that is of concern to us. God can't answer if we don't ask. Better to ask and have our requests denied than to not ask and wonder "what if". Better to swing and strike out than not try. We have to "plug in" to God in prayer, if we are ever to get "current" answers.
Some of us shrink back from asking God because we are afraid of disappointment. We were disappointed before and we don't like that, so we don't ask. That is not the way. We need to die to our selfishness and get a revelation of God's nature to care for His children.
Imagine the person who gets all their prayers answered carte blanche. What would their character look like? That was not David's experience. David had set-backs, reversals, disappointments, delays, and heartbreaking defeats. But he believed in answered prayers. He knew God hears and answers.
We need to know that too by cultivating a secret history with God. The best athletes and musicians have a gift, but what makes them shine is their discipline to practice. Do you realize how many people also have a gift, but do not practice much and have no discipline, and they never shine? Professional athletes and musicians got where they are and can only stay there through thousands of hours of disciplined practice. It is the same way with spiritual things. You need the gift and discipline.
You can study something comprehensively, but never do it; or you can do something without any training and fall flat. Discipleship is when you study and do it, study some more and do it some more; with coaching along side of you as needed. Some people are self taught by life and circumstances. They need a little guidance and off they go. Maybe David was like that. He may have learned things in his mind and heart from his family and community and then learned it experientially in the lab or clinic of the great wide open lands where he shepherded, and then learned more later in the wilderness when he was on the run.
Bring to mind your answered prayers. Have you noticed that God's answer is bigger than your request? What if prayers that seem unanswered really have bigger answers, coming soon? What if we start believing that God hears all our prayers and answers each one? In light of that, why not pray more? Why not put more confidence in God and be like David, saying, "I am praying to you, God, because I know you will answer. So tilt your ears toward me now. So—answer! bend your ear! Listen. Bend down and answer my prayer." Like David, we can believe God answers, remind God that He answers and ask God to answer.
Maybe David had good faith and good theology, but he was desperate. He was pressing in. When we are in desperation we need faith and right knowledge of who God is. We need to get it settled inside ourselves that God is good and God hears and God answers our prayers. When the crisis comes, like a soldier that has trained and trained; we fall back onto what we know that is rooted and solid deep inside our selves. Crises come to everyone.
If we seek to live under an open heaven daily, then we will have a level of open heaven experience when crisis hits. Let us pray.