Listening. It's a natural function of our body if our eardrums are working properly. For those without the ability to hear physically, listening comes in different forms. They listen with their eyes, watching a persons body language and facial expressions. I think they have an advantage over those of us who can hear. The deaf are more attuned to what is going on around them, they pay attention better, they are better listeners.
Hearing and listening are two very different things. I may hear my child call my name but until I turn, look at that child, and acknowledge his presence, I'm not really listening. Listening requires my attention. It requires I tune in to what my child is saying. It requires I stop what I'm doing and sit with my child until he is finished speaking.
Prayer requires these same things. Prayer is a vital part of our relationship with God. Prayer is a time to talk with God and listen to God. It is a conversation, not a dictation. All too often we come to prayer with a list in hand and begin dictating to God what we want Him to do for us. But that's not at all what prayer should be. I know if I'm not careful in my own prayer life my prayers become all about me making requests (sometimes even demands) of God, instead of a time of worship and stillness; a time of listening to what God wants to say to me.
Psalm 46:10a is a familiar passage of Scripture. One we often quote when we are worried or in some sort of crisis. "Be still and know that I am God..." We need this reminder not just when we are in a crisis but every time we come to God in prayer.
Psalm 37:7a says:
"Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act..."
Listening requires being still. Being still is not something we are good at. We live in a fast paced world and we fight hard to keep up. We constantly have our phones in our hands and seldom look at the person who is talking to us. We eat our food on the go, sometimes while driving and talking on the phone all at the same time!
We are not good at being still.
But being still in God's presence is what it takes to hear His voice. Being still is how we listen. Like a deaf person listening with their eyes, we listen to God with our spiritual eyes. Listening requires us to stop what we are doing and sit with God a while. Listening requires we turn our attention to God, acknowledge His presence with us, and wait quietly there. Listening requires we intently gaze into His Word, pay attention to the flutter of our heart when we read certain passages, lingering there until we hear His still, small voice whispering to us. This is the type of prayer we need to practice. This is how we hear God. This is true listening.
Are you listening to God? How can you be still before Him today?
I'd love to know how you practice listening in your prayer life. Send me an email and let me know!
Until next time,
God bless and keep you,