Does God Hear Our Thoughts?

As the girls hovered over their Jenga tower at the kitchen table, Nannygranne rinsed the ice-cream bowls they’d just emptied.

“I know what you’re thinking!” declared Marie

“No, you don’t!  Nobody can hear your thoughts!”  countered Janie.

“God can.” Marie, proud of her superior knowledge, raised her chin in victory.   Then gingerly pulling a block from the stack, they both giggled when the tower fell with a satisfying crash.

“Nannygranne,” called Janie as they gathered blocks into the game box.  “Can God really hear our thoughts?”

Nannygranne, carrying her fresh cup of coffee, joined the girls at the table.  “Would you want Him to?” she asked.

“You mean He can hear everything I’m thinking?” wondered Janie.

“Are you afraid He won’t like you any more if He knew everything you thought and did and said and felt?”

Marie waded in.  “I hadn’t thought about that.  I bet He gets mad sometimes.”

Nannygranne smiled.  “You know God has emotions, too, but His are so much wiser and more loving than our emotions are.  You’re right Marie.  God can be angry, sad, or frustrated.  But the thing about God that we don’t understand is that He has so much more love than we can even feel.   Let’s see what He says about hearing our thoughts, OK?” 

Pulling her Large Print Bible closer, she passed it to the two girls.  This was a good time to practice the skill of finding Bible passages. “I’m going to find the verses and you guys can read them.  That way I don’t have to do all the work!”  

“Ok, Nannygranne.  We’ll help you,” Marie felt important to give a hand to her aging friend. 

Opening her MySword Bible App, she made a topical search, finding the verses she’d had in mind.  “Ok, ladies.  Turn to Psalm 139:1-2 and see what David says in his prayer to God.”  

Nannygranne had placed tabs to mark the books in her Bible.  They helped her stiff and awkward fingers find the pages more quickly.  The girls found the verse and Marie began to read.

Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me! 

You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.

“What does ‘discern’ mean, Nannygranne?” Janie asked.

“That means to figure out or understand.  So you see that God understands our thoughts wherever we are.”  Then she added, “In the Ten Commandments, God warns us to not love other gods or want to take what other people have.  Those are thoughts God wants us to try not to have.   Also, Jesus could read people’s thoughts.  Let’s look at Matthew 9:3-4.”

Finding the verse, Janie read, “At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, ‘This fellow is blaspheming!’ Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, ‘Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?’”

“So Jesus can read our thoughts!”  Janie’s realization was spoken with wonder mixed with a dash of apprehension.

“Yes, He can, Janie, because He made our brains and our heart of hearts.  He is very close to us. Remember I said that His love is bigger than all the love we can imagine.  Sometimes our thoughts aren’t right.  He knows that.”  

Finding Psalm 103:13-14 in the Common English Version on her phone, she turned it toward the girls to read.  

Marie accepted the phone and read, “Like a parent feels compassion for their children—that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor him. Because God knows how we’re made, God remembers we’re just dust.”

“So you see that God’s love is bigger than our bad thoughts and He won’t stop wanting us to follow Him.”  Then she had them find Psalm 139:23-24 and read it.

Examine me, God! Look at my heart!
 Put me to the test! Know my anxious thoughts!
Look to see if there is any idolatrous way in me,
then lead me on the eternal path!

“God helps us with our thoughts.  When we become Christians, we receive an important gift.  The Holy Spirit moves in with us and helps us with our thoughts!  That’s one of the best parts of being a Christian is knowing the Holy Spirit is working on us when we listen to God’s Word and follow His ways.  Marie would you read Romans 8:26-27?”

In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. 

We don’t know what we should pray, 

but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans. 

The one who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, 

because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will.

“What does that mean, Nannygranne?” Marie asked.

“It’s telling us that the Holy Spirit is so close that He knows our thoughts when they’re all mixed up.  Sometimes we can’t even pray right.  So He talks to the Father about it and They understand each other.”  

Nannygranne waited for it to sink in.

“You mean the Holy Spirit hears our thoughts, too?” Marie was encountering the concept of the Trinity.

“The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are so close that they make up One God.  That’s nothing like we are on earth, but that’s the way it is in Heaven.”

“Oh…..”  Marie and Janie looked at each other. “Wow…” said Janie.

“There’s one more thing about God knowing our thoughts.   John, who was one of Jesus’ closest friends, tells us that when Christians worry whether God will stop wanting them, not to forget that God knows they’re trying.”  Finding  1 John 3:20, she read.

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. 

No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do.

That’s how we know we belong to the way of truth. 

And when our hearts make us feel guilty, 

we can still have peace before God, 

because God is greater than our hearts. He knows everything.”

“Now, what do you think?” Nannyganne wanted the girls to verbalize their new understanding.

“Well, God hears everything we think, but wants us anyway,” Marie began.

“And when you’re a Christian, the Holy Spirit helps you with your thoughts,” Janie continued.

“You’ve got it!” Nannygranne said. “Anything else?”

“Even when we feel guilty for our thoughts, God knows we mean to be good so we don’t have to worry.” ‘

“So God hearing our thoughts is a good thing, would you say now?”

Janie and Marie looked at each other again, smiled and both leaped from their chairs and hugged their old friend, kissing her wrinkled cheeks.  “Thank you, Nannygranne.”  Then adding mischievously, “So do you know what we’re thinking now?”

Nannygranne laughed and admitted, “Yes.  You can play dress-up with my old clothes.”


I am a mother, grandmother, nanny, and writer—with a passionate concern about children, all children. With the help of my son Travis (who has a graduate degree in apologetics) I hope to share some thoughts that will be helpful to all who have the same concern.

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