Did you know that listening is just as important as talking in our prayer time?
I used to believe that prayer was all about me talking to God and Him listening. Boy, was I mistaken!
Jeremiah 33:3 says “Call unto me, and I will answer thee…”
Often, we don’t take time to listen.
To listen requires time.
And it’s important to remember that God always answers in His perfect timing, not ours.
A lot of times when we are praying consistently about something going on in our lives, we want an immediate answer. What we fail to remember is that God already knows the answer. God is all about relationship. He isn’t an errand boy who jumps at our every command and request.
Some people have asked me how to listen to God. After all, is He just going to answer our prayers audibly in that booming voice of His? How can we know what God wants us to do? How does God speak to us today?
Here are some things to keep in mind…
#1 God speaks through His Word– it is impossible to totally ignore the Word of God and know His will for your life. The primary way God speaks to us is through His Word. The Bible is God’s revealed message to mankind. It is profitable for many things ( 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ) including instructing us in how we are to live our lives. The buck stops here when it comes to listening to God…and what I mean by that is that God never contradicts Himself. God will never say something to you that contradicts His Word ( the Bible ). So the rest of the things in this list must be held up against the Word of God and if it doesn’t jive with His Word, it ain’t Him speaking.
#2 God speaks through His Holy Spirit– the moment we come into relationship with Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit takes up residency inside of us. God speaks to us through His Holy Spirit…convicting us of sin, stirring up our hearts for service, warning us against temptation, among many other things.
#3 God speaks through others– for me, this is one of the major reasons I never want to miss a church service. What if I miss something God had to say to me through someone else? God can use anyone to speak to us, a pastor, a friend, even a small child. Always keep in mind that when someone gives you advice or counsel…it must line up with the Word of God.
#4 God speaks through our circumstances– whenever a difficult situation comes up in our lives, we should first ask…”God, what are you trying to say to me?” But let’s not be fooled into thinking that God only speaks in our trials. God speaks in the joyous times too, but often we are not listening. He will get our attention.
At the beginning of the new year, someone brought an opportunity to our attention and we brushed it off. We said we would “pray about it”. Honestly my husband and I felt happy in the situation we were in and truly believed we were doing what God wanted us to do. The opportunity came up again…. and again- still we dismissed it without ever asking God what He wanted us to do.
On March 9th of this year, as I was spending my quiet time with God I felt Him say to me as clear as anything, “you didn’t even ask Me.” Though the opportunity had long ago left my mind, I knew EXACTLY what He was talking about. I quickly asked His forgiveness and texted my husband. I told him what happened and we both decided to pray earnestly about it. Later, he confessed that the opportunity had never left his thoughts.
Finally….we were listening.
It grieves me to think about the alternative. Sometimes God will go to great extremes to get our attention and speak to us. Other times, we miss His greatest blessings by our unwillingness to listen.
So, what about you?
Are you listening?