Listening Before Praying

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spiritof wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17).

Elijah and Daniel both listened to God first and then prayed. They based their prayers on what they had “heard.” Elijah heard God speak directly. Daniel heard God speak through the scripture. They took God’s revelation seriously. They took their prayer responsibility seriously. They understood the listening side of prayer.

Listening prayer is simply this: First, we listen, and then we pray. There are several different ways that we can listen. First, we can “hear” directly from God. When God the Father speaks, it is always through His Son and His Spirit. Of believers Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice . . .” (John 10:27, NASB). Hearing Jesus’ voice is direct hearing. Paul calls the Holy Spirit the “Spirit of . . . revelation” (Ephesians 1:17). This Spirit of revelation dwells within us and is able to reveal what God wants to say directly to our hearts and minds. What we “hear” from God shapes our prayers, so that we know what to pray.

By listening we may even learn when not to pray for something. At a time when the spirit of unrighteousness reigned in Israel, God said to Jeremiah, “Do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them: do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you” (Jeremiah 7:16).

The link between our prayers and God’s actions is so tight that God doesn’t want us praying for things that He definitely doesn’t want to do. Though He probably won’t speak to you as decisively as He did to Jeremiah, He may at times put a check in your spirit when you start praying for someone or something. When that happens, it may be time to change your prayers.

–Adapted from Praying God’s Heart (Prayers that Make a Difference) by Alvin VanderGriend.

Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation, speak to my heart as I listen for Your voice through Your word, in my circumstances, through others, or in whatever way You choose! May Your words shape my prayers and guide my life into the midst of Your divine activity! Help me to be attentive to Your voice, never doubting Your ability to share Your heart with my own.

Prayer Points

Praise your God, who alone is holy (Rev. 15:4). Thank him for the glorious promise that one day all nations will come and worship him. Confess sins which keep you from drawing close to God. Commit yourself daily to exalting and worshiping your holy God. Ask God to help you keep his command to “be holy, because I am holy” (Lev. 11:45).

In all your family relationships, pray that the truth of Heb. 12:14 will be central: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy.”

Prayer Pointer

“If family worship is neglected, other attempts at prayer are like sprinkling the foliage of a plant while leaving the roots dry.” —Anonymous

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend

Each day you have prayed through some of the prayer points from the resource Patterns for Prayer. This prayer guide, which contains 365-days’ worth of scripture-based prayer points to pray for yourself, your friends, the lost, your church and the world, makes an excellent gift. It is now available at 50% off until January 1st. Normally $15.99, you can purchase it for $8 each. Buy two or more copies at $6.00 each. Click here for more information.