Last week’s post on “knee-mail” got me thinking more about prayer and I realized I’d only covered half of the equation. Because conversation involves both sending and receiving messages. Talking and listening.

Want a glimpse into my prayer life? I rant and complain about injustices I want God to fix. I beg and plead for my needs to be met. I cry about rejection and pain. I ask for wisdom to know what to do. I know God is listening and I firmly believe He’s more than capable of defeating my enemies, meeting all my needs, comforting my broken heart, and making my pathway straight.

How many times do I walk away from time in prayer without waiting for the answer? How often do I find myself in a one-sided conversation because I never shut up and listen? And when the answer finally gets through my busy-ness, do I recognize it or discard it as spam?

God promises to answer. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” (Isaiah 30:21 NIV) Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27 NIV)

Am I listening? My heart’s desire is to be like the young boy Samuel who said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10b NIV) But I also need to get myself into a quiet place away from distractions that can drown out God’s reply.

What am I listening for? God speaks through His Word. Sometimes the Holy Spirit reminds me of a passage of Scripture that speaks to my situation. God also speaks through songs, reminders of His power through his Creation, dreams or visions, the words of close advisers, and a tugging on our hearts. Sometimes it seems like a message delivered through a megaphone and other times like a still, small voice that whispers to my soul.

How do I know I got God’s answer and not my own imagination? Every message lines up with His character and Word. For example, when praying for my marriage, God won’t tell me to have an affair or divorce my husband. If necessary, ask God to confirm the message through several avenues just to make sure you got it right! (You’re not alone in wondering. See the story of Gideon and the fleece in Judges 6.)

Next time you pray, take time to listen.

What about you? What percentage of your prayer time is spent listening? How does God speak to you? Any advice for listening better?

Am I Listening?
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