The heart is opened to hear from God when the heart is opened to God. At first glance that statement may seem like an oxymoron, but there is actually a necessary order of action. First, the heart must be opened to God. There must be a response to His knocking. But the opening of the door is not as simple as just saying “come on in” because in a sense when the door is initially opened, the heart is often too full of other voices to receive anything new from God.
The heart makes room for God when ideas, thoughts, emotions, sins, dreams and desires of the heart are poured out to God. The heart is opened to hear from God when there is a pouring out to God what is in the heart. When the one praying exposes his or her heart to God, then his or her heart becomes open to receive what God wants to communicate. But there is often fear about such utter openness to God, particularly if there are unseemly and embarrassing heart-issues that seem contrary to the spirit of godliness. Strange though it may seem, even people who believe in an all-knowing God somehow feel that there are secrets of the heart that God does not know. Hence there is an attempt to hide from God what God already knows. We must realize that as the heart is totally open and transparent before God, nothing that comes out of the heart shocks or surprises God. There are no real inner-heart secrets hidden from God’s all-knowing nature, and these supposed barriers to hearing God are only barriers because we keep them in place. If we want to hear God with our heart, then our heart must be consciously and openly exposed to Him.
Father, You know everything about me. You know my strengths, my weaknesses, my sinful desires and my longing to live a pure and holy life. You created all that I am, and understand fully the joys I experience and the struggles I am dealing with moment by moment. Help me to lay my heart open before You, willingly and without fear, trusting that You will lovingly speak to me and teach me to walk the way of Christ.
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 31, To Whom Does God Listen? by W. Bingham Hunter). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
From your heart give praise to God as the Father of all peoples, the one from whom every family on earth derives its name (Eph. 3:14-15). Thank him for having created such a wide variety of peoples and cultures, including your own. Confess those times when you have looked down on people simply because their culture or way of life is different from yours. Commit yourself to learning more about the people who live and work around you. Ask God to help you become genuinely interested in other people’s perspectives as you pray for opportunities to share the good news with them.
Ask God to restore any breaches between the generations that you are aware of— frictions between grandparents and parents or grandchildren, and so on.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.