Suddenly, there was an awkward silence. Our conversation came to an abrupt halt. I awkwardly cleared my throat clearing while my fingers restlessly fidgeted my teacup. My colleague glanced at her watch to see if it was time for her to leave. I don’t think either of us was completely comfortable with each other yet. Someone’s got to say something! Do you know what I’m talking about? Small talk ensues. We nod heads to the topic of the weather or the latest sports game. But the awkwardness remains. Does this sound familiar? Sadly, this is often also felt in our own prayer lives. We think we ought to talk God’s ear off with our petitions and desires. Or maybe our complaints and whining. But God longs to talk to us. He wants us to be Listening For That Still Small Voice.
To Hear Is To Be Silent
We live in a fast-paced culture where silence is not golden. Quiet is extremely difficult to find. And somehow, this concept has transferred into our prayer lives. We talk at God, hand over our requests, say a few thank-you’s and then end the conversation.
But God hasn’t had a chance to say anything to us. We don’t let Him.
Imagine having a one-sided conversation with your husband, children or a friend. How long do you think that relationship would last? I know for certain none of mine would be very healthy. They would end up deteriorating quite quickly.
Marcus loves me very much and he longs to have good conversations with me. However, that requires me to be quiet at times. It is difficult for me to hear him if I am the one doing all of the talking!
If I want my kids to trust me with their hearts, then I must be ready to listen to them. I need to just be quiet. How can a friendship with them develop and grow if it is solely one-sided? My oldest is almost 14 and I am really seeing how our relationship is evolving into a very deep friendship. She often expresses to me how important it is to her that I am her friend – after all, if God calls us friend, then why should the relationship with our kids be any different? This is so important to her and I must honour our relationship by allowing her to share her heart with me. It cannot be just me talking at her. That will not create a healthy mother/daughter friendship.
If we shouldn’t have a slanted relationship with our husbands, children or friends, then why should we have one with God? Should we not expect God to speak to us when we engage in conversation with Him? He longs to talk to us. He desires to share His heart with us. He yearns to speak truth into our crushed hearts. This is what a relationship with Him is about – having a discussion with Him.
Speak, Lord. I Am Listening.
How does God speak to us? Well, there are a few different ways.
He uses His Word to speak to us. This is one of the main ways He converses with us. He will bring scripture verses to mind that bring peace, knowledge or comfort.
I don’t think God speaks in an audible voice all that often. And this is probably a good thing. If I actually heard His voice in an audible way, I’d freak out! I am sure I’d feel terrified. However, I do believe He talks to us quietly in our hearts quite often when we allow Him to. This is the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He has been given to us by our Heavenly Father to be our counselor. And a good counselor departs wisdom.
Jesus promises that we will know His voice. This means that we need to spend time with Him, listening for His voice, in order to know it. It also means spending time in the Word so that His word is written upon our hearts.
He speaks to us through our thoughts and gentle whispers to the heart, often through bringing scripture to mind.
Sometimes He uses other people to speak His truth to us. Have you ever had a friend call you or send you a message at just the time you needed a bit of encouragement? Or you listened to the Sunday sermon and you just knew that the message was given just for you? Or your daughter comes to you when you’ve had a rough day and quotes scripture to you that fills your heart with peace and comfort? Then you’ve witnessed God speaking directly to you through other people!
It is important to be sure that what you are hearing is truly from God. Sometimes it is hard to know to whom we might be listening to, and as we continue to grow in His word and in our prayer lives, the discernment will become easier to determine. This is a very good reason why we must know God’s Word well. He will never contradict His word. Not ever. **This means that if you think you hear God telling you to sin in any way – like it is ok to have that affair – well, that’s NOT God. Sin is sin. Period.
Another way to determine whether or not you are hearing from God is to ask other trusted believers. I fully and completely trust my husband. He loves me and he only wants what it best for me. So, he is not shy in telling me if something is ‘off’. He understands his responsibility as head of the home. He knows my spiritual well-being is partly his responsibility. It is his duty to ensure I don’t fall for lies or something that is not of God. And that takes a conversation involving more than just me.
Sometimes I will share with a trusted friend. This helps me to verbalize what I think God might be telling me.
A Gentle Voice
God’s voice is gentle; He is not harsh with us. Yes, His Spirit convicts, but in a firm and loving manner. If what we hear is not tender and soft, then it might be a good idea to search scriptures and talk it over with those you trust.
In order for us to hear Him, we must be quiet and listening for His voice. He is not rude. He will wait patiently for us to be open to His words. And when we open that door and invite Him in, what communion that will be! But don’t make Him wait too long!
He longs to deepen a relationship with us and this involves us seeking Him out and listening to Him. We need to spend time in His word. Investing in a strong prayer life is important. Quieting our spirits before Him will help us to hear Him clearly.
To help you in your prayer life and to remember to listen to His still, small voice, I created a printable for you use. It is included in the gorgeous prayer pack for $16…BUT, subscribers will get a special 50% off coupon code when my pack is released later this week.
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