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When I was teaching Middle School, I faced a problem that’s common to all teachers. I’d be giving instructions to the class, and while I was talking, one or two hands would flip up into the air. They had a question. I wasn’t finished giving the instructions, and already they had questions. My response?

“Please put your hand down,” I’d say. “When I finish the instructions, then I’ll answer questions. And besides, you might hear the answer to your questions in my instructions.” Sound familiar?

Eventually, I figured it out, and even before I’d begin giving instructions, I’d explain, “When your hand goes up, did you know that your ears go shut? It’s true – because all you’re thinking about is your question. You’re not hearing what I’m saying. I could be telling you the answer to your very question, but you won’t hear it. All you’re thinking about is remembering your question.”

Sometimes that’s just how it is when we’re praying. Our minds are going a mile-a-minute with questions or concerns, but we’re not listening to God’s explanation. We’re too focused on our question to hear anything God says.

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