What Is God Telling You?
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”James 1:5
Last week during our staff meeting, we were praying together but as part of that prayer time, Sam asked that we take 10 minutes to listen to what God was saying to us individually.
Now, this is something that was new to me. Sam evidently realised this because after our prayer and worship time together he gave me a book to read; Is That Really You, God? by Loren Cunningham, which is all about hearing the voice of God.
Interestingly over the summer I have had lots of ideas, for my work and personal life, to kick start the new term with. But, if I’m honest I had, and still have, no idea if they are just good ideas or God ideas. And how on earth do I figure it out?
Unfortunately I haven’t gotten to the end of the book – I’m really hoping I’ll find practical ways to discern God’s voice, and when I strike gold I’ll share the wisdom with you – so I’ll hopefully share how to discern God’s voice at a later date. But in the meantime, I’m going to practice more Listening Prayer (yup, it has a name!) and I urge you to do the same.
What Is Listening Prayer?
For questions like these I go to Got Questions, as 9 time out of 10 someone else has already asked the question I have, and they tend to have the answer:
The Bible speaks often of prayer, but it does not mention “listening prayer” as a type of prayer to practice. The idea of “listening prayer” is to spend some time talking to the Lord and the rest of the time listening to His response. Or, sometimes, the listening comes first and the prayer second. Listening prayer is based on the concept of prayer as two-way communication—we talk, and God talks.
The answer goes further here, but it seems like it could be a controversial the idea, stating that listening prayer isn’t specifically called out in the Bible and the Word is more than sufficient for our needs as disciples. However, if after prayer and quiet time, we get a sense of guidance from God, then where is the harm? We are simply asking for God’s wisdom to help show us the way.
Last week I mentioned we would be focusing on Mark 1:1-15 in our Sunday Celebration, which we did and a couple of things jumped out at me while I read these verses and the rest of them from A Ransom For Many Devotional:
- John knew that he was to prepare the way for Jesus; how did he know if not through God’s guidance and calling?
- Jesus knew through his baptism of the Holy Spirit what His calling was and what He was put on this earth to do
As disciples, we are to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and we know He was always looking for guidance from Our Father. Therefore, as disciples, we too should be trying to see/feel/listen (however He chooses to communicate with us) to what God wants us to do next.
How To Practice Listening Prayer
Like I said I am no expert so I’ll share how we did it as a group last week. However, you don’t need to do it in a group and by all means start with a shorter time period and increase it as you feel more confident.
Come To God with your intention/Request
Share with God the fact that you’re taking time out to listen to His voice alone and ask for guidance to focus on what only He wants you to do. If you have a specific topic or request lay that at His feet too:
“I ask, Father, that only your Holy Spirit will speak to me now as I wait on you for wisdom, insight, and direction. And whatever you show me or direct me to do, I pray that I will quickly obey. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.”
Wait In SIlence
Sit/walk/lie in silence for 10 minutes. What does God put on your heart? Is there a theme, person or an action that comes to you?
Write It Down
Write down whatever comes to mind whether it be a song, scripture, image or words. It’s interesting the many different ways God speaks to each of us individually…
Though we sat individually and listened to God, when we got to discussing the different things that came to us, there were some clear themes that linked our messages. If you’re doing listening prayer alone, maybe share what came to you with a friend/family member/church family member.
Act Upon It
But most importantly act upon it.
Once you have discerned God’s voice. Act upon it.
As disciples we have a power that God instils in us to make change, through Him, for the better. (Acts 3:1-8) Stand in that power and use it.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.Acts 3:6-7
I found that time of listening to God a really helpful thing to do. I do pray every day but it’s usually one way communication and I don’t stop to listen to what God could be saying back. It’s something I intend to do more of moving forward, especially as there have been some things from that time that I can’t seem to shake off.
I must act.
You should too…