“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” – Max Lucado
Have you ever wondered if God still speaks to us today? Or have you wondered if what you’re hearing is really God speaking to you, or just your own thoughts? If you’ve wrestled with these questions, you’re not alone. Hearing God can be one of the most elusive parts of our walk of faith, but it doesn’t have to be that way. John 10:16 (TPT) says, “…And I, their shepherd, must lead them too, and they will follow me and listen to my voice. And I will join them all into one flock with one shepherd.”
Jesus longs to have an intimate, joy-filled relationship with each of us. It is difficult to set aside hours each day dedicated to studying scripture and praying. The good news is that He is always there, in your commute, in your workplace, in your family time, in your home, and even on your vacation. Jesus Himself said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV) He not only wants you to share your heart with Him but He also wants to share His heart with you. Prayer is an important part of hearing the voice of God.
Most of us picture prayer sort of like a monologue: We talk to God, sharing our heartfelt thanks and offering up our petitions and requests. But prayer shouldn’t be a one-sided conversation. Do you also listen to His voice? He may answer yes, no, or not yet. Sometimes He whispers. But we won’t hear Him if we’re constantly talking. Prayer is really more like a dialogue, where we speak with God and the Lord speaks to us.
Listening in prayer centers around a clear request for God’s guidance. Then we need to hit the pause button. We wait on God in a time of silence, giving the Lord opportunity to speak to us. We focus our time of prayer on intentional, purposeful listening and let God do the talking. This is really important because as followers of Jesus, we are constantly being bombarded with the noise of the world all around us. There are lots of voices telling us very different messages, and too often we find ourselves challenged and confused.
We need to think like David: “Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.” (Psalm 143:8) Read your Bible and pray to hear His voice. A.W. Tozer reminds us, “with the idea that it is not only a book which was once spoken, but a book which is now speaking.” While it would be awesome to have God’s audible voice whispering in our ears each day, Paul reminds us “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Philippians 4:6) God is listening when we pray, but are we listening to God?
- How does one go about listening for God’s voice when we pray?
- What can we do this week to become more attuned to hearing God’s voice?