Becoming a Listener in Prayer
by Sharon Paskewitz

Sometimes in prayer words will not come. Have you ever prayed and felt like your words were phony? As people we sometimes stumble over words or run out of words to say. How do we address an all-powerful God? How do we know when God is answering us? If words are not coming and you simply cannot pray, perhaps it is time to be quiet. God wants you to be silent. For the hands of prayer must be open to the sounds of God's heart. In being silent you will learn to hear the sounds of God's heart.

How do we know what we are hearing are the sounds of His heart and not the thoughts of our own minds? Maybe all we are hearing is what we want to hear. One way to know is to know the Bible. Read the Bible every day and every time you pray. Pray that God will help you understand what He is saying to you through his word. The more familiar you are with the Bible the more you will know God's word. If what you hear contradicts the Bible, then it is not from God. This is because God does not lie. If you are unsure, pray and search the Scriptures. God will help you find the answer. Jeremiah 15:16 (NIV), "When your words came, I ate them; they were joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, Oh Lord God Almighty." When you read the Bible, read it aloud. This will get you used to hearing the words and may help you in remembering them. Hearing the word of the Lord needs to be as natural as eating. Try this little experiment for a day: every time you eat, read the Bible and hear the word of the Lord. In doing this experiment you will find where your priorities are. Is reading the Bible as important as eating? You may also find that you are becoming more in tune with what God is saying to you.

Secondly, we must be aware of what we expose our minds to through what we see and hear. Philippians 4:8 (NIV), "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things." We need to expose our minds to the things of God. This means things like the music we listen to, the TV shows we watch, the books we read. Every day whatever we pay attention to fills our minds. Sometimes when we go to God in prayer our minds are filled with nothing but garbage. This is because we have exposed our minds to garbage and therefore are filled with garbage. So be aware of how you occupy your mind! You can begin by asking the Holy Spirit to direct your mind to what is Godly. This may include Scriptures to memorize, and even TV shows to watch. Soon under the direction of the Holy Spirit you will find yourself naturally in tune to listening for what God has to say.

Thirdly, we must look at how we spend our time in prayer. Do we spend all of our time talking? Are we afraid of silence? To begin listening to God while praying, first find a quiet place with no distraction. Next bind all evil forces from the place you are by the power of Christ. Lastly, tell God you are ready to listen to Him. Then be quiet and wait to hear from Him. You may want to take note about you hear and learn from listening to God. Be sure to write down the date when taking notes. This will help when you refer back to it. What you hear may make no sense to you at the time but later it will fit perfectly. We see in part, God sees the whole picture. Trust God to help you in understanding what He is saying to you.

Listening to God in prayer takes practice and patience. Once you get started, don't stop! Continue reading the Bible. Always be aware of what you are exposing your mind to! The enemy is very clever; he can trick you, so be on guard! Be willing to listen. God will speak to those who have open hands of prayers waiting to hear the sounds of His heart.

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