Question: “Why do we have two ears and one mouth?”
Answer: “To listen twice as much as we talk.”
If you’ve ever been to a class about healthy communications, you’ve probably heard that quote.
Listen twice as much as you talk.
Great advice when dealing with people.
Even greater advice when communicating with God.
How often do we treat our Heavenly Father like an ethereal vending machine? Coming to Him with our agenda, expecting to push a button or two in prayer and having the desired answer appear quickly and painlessly?
My natural inclination is do that. I’m sure yours is too.
And Scripture does tell us to keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. (Matthew 7:7)
But any good relationship requires two-way communication. And that includes our relationship with God.
If you want to strengthen your relationship with God in 2016, I highly recommend incorporating regular times of “listening prayer” into each week.
This idea is not new to me. But for the last seven years, I’ve found this spiritual discipline to be both challenging and inspiring.
Here’s my simple approach:
The process doesn’t take long. Maybe 15-30 minutes.
I don’t assume everything I have written down is a word from God.
It’s a given that if something conflicts with Scripture, it’s not from God.
But what I have found amazing over the last seven years of this practice are the patterns of what I hear.
If I continue to record the same message over a period of time, I assume it’s from God. If I am feeling led to step outside my comfort zone, I assume it’s from God. If it’s an idea that came out of “nowhere,” I definitely wonder it’s from God.
Sometimes, a name comes to mind that I haven’t thought of in a long time. I might feel led to contact that person and tell them I’m thinking of them.
Sometimes, I’ll feel inspired to start doing something. Or I’ll feel that it’s time to stop something or be convicted about a behavior or an attitude.
Sometimes, I’ll be encouraged to not lose heart or to be courageous when I’m feeling fearful or uncertain.
Sometimes, I’ll even feel as though God is promising me something that will happen in the future. (and I’ve seen those promises answered in absolutely amazing ways!)
While I don’t practice “listening prayer” every day, I have found that taking time regularly for this simple (and granted, very unusual) habit to be a tremendous source of comfort and encouragement.
People will often say: “I don’t hear from God.” My question is: “have you really tried to listen?”
Why not give “listening prayer” a try in 2016? See if your relationship with the Lord doesn’t grow stronger and deeper as you make an effort to consistently listen for His guidance and direction.
Happy New Year! May 2016 be your best year ever.
And thank you for all the encouragement you have poured into me over 2015. I’m very, very grateful for each one of you.
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