Too many calls on the line

E_C_Blomeyer Switchboard operator 1905

The Telephone Switchboard Operator 1905
Photograph by E.C. Blomeyer
From The Texas Collection, Baylor University


“How can God hear everyone praying at the same time?”

It’s a reasonable question if you’re trying to figure out exactly what it means to say that God is God. Trying to figure out what eternity means. Thinking about faith.

Of course, being human, we can’t really every understand the “how” and have to settle for something more like

“Does God hear everyone praying at the same time?”

I believe that he does. It’s one of the reasons I keep praying. I also think he knows it’s me praying and he knows who I am. “His eye is on the sparrow” and all that means.

But the other day I was reading a familiar story in the gospel of Mark and it struck me how the story was an earthly, God-incarnate version of the same theological question of scale as the familiar wondering about multiple simultaneous prayers.

How does He do it? I don’t know. Maybe a better question is “Do I believe that He wants to?” The psalmist said, “Even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.”

Here’s the story. Many people touched him, but one touch was a prayer.

And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.”  And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.  And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?”  And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’”  And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”  Mark 5:25-34


  1. Bob says:

    Spiritual communication is more advanced than I-phones or land based lines. Just know God is more advanced than we are.

  2. Ellen says:

    I cannot tell you how many people have asked me this question, and others who commented that their prayers could hardly matter when so many had much more serious concerns! I believe that God is not bound by space and time, which makes it perfectly believable that he can hear us all at once. It is our own human limitations which make us question what God can or will do!

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