“Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him” (Luke 8:18).
How do you listen to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords? The Bible gives much illustration of God’s people interacting with God. He spoke to Daniel through visions, Balaam through a donkey, Peter through a rooster, and Moses out of a shrub.
Listening to God is not meditation or practicing the lifestyle of a monk or mulling things over in your mind. Jesus said, “Therefore take heed how you hear” (Lk. 8:18). Prayer listening is not special revelation. Prayer listening should be as common as other parts of praying, as it is part of your communication with the Lord. I find that God talks to me at the most unusual times and places.
Some suggest keeping a journal of the things that the Lord says. That would be good, but He doesn’t conveniently talk to me when the journal is handy. My DNA will not let me pray a “Dear” and “Amen” prayer for hours on end. I have longed for that ability to be in a closet for hours. For the longest time I was ashamed that I could not do that.
All my life I have been disappointed that I didn’t have a very personal relationship with God. While I had my devotions and read my Bible and prayed my “Dear” and “Amen” prayers, I found them to be very routine. I found I could talk to my friends by the hour, but I had a hard time praying “Dear” and “Amen” prayers for ten minutes. Then I learned that prayer listening is as common as prayer itself. It is not some special gift, it is your everyday communication with the King of Kings. It is, in fact, a way to pray without ceasing.
Father, I struggle to stay in my prayer closet, and often feel guilty that I am not gifted to intercede for hours on end! Yet, Your word says that my whole life can be a prayer: “By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life” (Psalm 42:8). Open the ears of my heart to hear the voice of Your Spirit so that I may be attuned to Your voice continually throughout the day and night. Thank You for the ability to hear what You speak to my heart even in the most mundane moments of my day. Help me to find joy in whatever You may say and to obey in whatever ways You choose to lead me.
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 38, How to Pray without Ceasing by Cornell Haan). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God for choosing the foolish things of the world to shame the wise and the weak things to shame the strong (1 Cor. 1:27). Thank God that your salvation does not depend on your wisdom but on his grace alone (Eph. 2:8-9). Confess your self-sufficiency (Lk. 16:11-13). Commit yourself to doing what the Lord requires of youto act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God (Mic. 6:8). Ask God to show you clearly the depth of the riches of wisdom and knowledge of God (Rom. 11:33).
Pray that your church leaders will show God’s wisdom by their godly lives and deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom (Jas. 3:13).
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.