'Learning to Hear God'
Wednesday, February, 1, 2017 | 9:28 AM | by Munholland
Learning to Hear God
Many people tell me that they don’t hear God speak to them; that it is a mystery. It is true, that prayer in many ways is a mystery. However, our inability to hear God may be on the receiving end. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to discourage you, and I certainly condemn no one who is seeking God in prayer. What I offer are some thoughts that may give you a breakthrough in your prayer life.
First, give time for God to speak. Our human tendency is to dominate the airwaves when we pray. Prayer is meant to be a dialogue with God, not a ranting, whining monologue. ‘And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.’(Matt 6:7-8) Let God know what is on your heart and mind, then stop talking and rest your soul in his presence. Trust God to give you insight and wisdom with regards to your concerns.
Second, be open to transformation. So many times, I have wished that God would get on my agenda so I could get what I want. Prayer, however, is learning what God wants – getting off our agenda and getting on God’s agenda. C. S. Lewis wrote, ‘I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.’ When in prayer we feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, the shame of sin, the longing for wholeness… then we can be assured that God is speaking to us – lovingly inviting us into abundant life. The most transforming practice I know is to slowly, prayerfully read through the scriptures.
Third, incorporate prayer into the rhythm of your day. Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to, ‘Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.’(I Thess 5:16-18) Those adjectives indicate that they didn’t just ‘throw up a prayer’ in the morning or when all else failed. They interacted prayerfully with employers, with spouses and children, and with people in their community. They sought to be led by the Spirit in all circumstances so they would experience the full riches of life offered by God.
Finally, find a friend who will join you in the journey of prayer. God didn’t make us to be Lone Ranger Christians. John Wesley called ‘Christian Conferencing’ a means of grace. Through our conversations with one another, we discover many truths about God. Christian community is designed to spark our faith, and keep the fire burning bright. We also are blessed to share our burdens, and pray directly into the brokenness or confusion. Talk with fellow believers about your prayer life. Find out what has helped them. You will be amazed and encouraged at how alike and uniquely God speaks to people.
Prayer is God’s gift to you for health and wholeness, for wisdom and joy, for power and grace. If you have been baffled by prayer, try following the suggestions above. Abandon yourself to God’s agenda in continual prayer, then share with a friend what God is teaching you.
Blessed to be a blessing,