Those are words God longs to hear.
How much of your time with God is spent listening to him?
When does the Lord interrupt your thoughts with one of his?
Our greatest need for prayer isn’t the requests we lay before him. The answers we most need are often to questions we would never think to ask. God knows our requests before we make them and wants to listen to our words anyway. Even more, God would love the opportunity to author your prayers, according to his will.
If improving your prayer life is one of your spiritual goals this year, I would suggest this thought.
Simply bow before your Father and say, “Dear, Lord: I’m ready to listen.”
What are you listening for?
When my boys were young their constant noise filled our home. I learned to work and study with that noise in the background. The thing that sparked my attention wasn’t their sounds of play but rather those moments when there were no sounds at all. Complete silence pulled me away from my work and down the hall to check on them.
God listens to his children all day, every day. What if God waits to speak until he knows we are ready to listen?
God is a perfect Father and doesn’t set his children up to sin. As I’ve often said, if God issues a word of direction, it is not a suggestion. If we don’t obey God’s word of direction, then we have sinned. God wouldn’t give his direction to a person who wasn’t listening because ignoring God would be a sin.
When it seems God’s voice has grown quiet in our lives then we need to grow quiet before God. We need to pause and pray, “Please, Lord: I’m ready to listen now.” When we pray, we aren’t listening for answers to our prayers as much as we are listening for the answers God wants us to pray for.
You can recognize God’s voice
I tried to find out how many times God spoke in the Bible but never determined a reliable answer. Truthfully, all of Scripture is God’s word. But there are times in the Bible where it specifically says, “And God said” or “The Lord spoke, saying.” Sometimes we wonder if the voice was audible, but we never need to wonder whether the person knew it was God speaking.
That is how we should feel about every word of our Bibles.
When we read God’s word, we are hearing his voice. But God did not quit speaking to the world when Bibles were printed and made available. God gave us his Holy Spirit so that we could live closely with his voice of direction.
When the Holy Spirit guides our thoughts and directs our path, it is according to God’s word and will for our lives.
We hear the same voice Paul heard
The apostle Paul knew some of the people who had walked with Jesus during his earthly ministry. Those people had heard the actual voice of Jesus when they listened to him teach. I’ve often wondered if their thoughts were filled with the earthly voice of Jesus at times.
The apostle Paul heard Jesus speak to him on the road to Damascus, and he apparently spent a great deal of time listening to that voice for the rest of his life. Paul was writing to the Philippians when he said, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).
Paul had accomplished a lot by the time he’d been sent to Rome and placed under house arrest. He wrote his letter to the Philippians during his time in Rome, yet his heart’s desire was still to know Jesus. Perhaps it was his desire to know God that allowed Paul to become the one to write and record so much of our important Christian theology.
Are you ready to listen for that voice today?
When do you desire “to know Jesus” as Luke, James, John, and Paul knew him?
The voice of Jesus is just as real today as it was for those living in the first century.
Our great goal for prayer
We have been gifted with everything we need in order to personally know the God of the universe and walk with his Presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit.
To pray in God’s will simply means to pray as God leads you toward all that he wants for your life. When we pray the words of Scripture, we pray with the knowledge of God. When we pray as the Spirit leads us, we pray for those things God wants us to know and do.
To “pray without ceasing” means that we walk so closely with God’s Spirit that his voice of direction is easy to discern. We walk through our lives attuned to whatever the Lord may speak into our thoughts to direct, encourage, or convict.
Our great goal for prayer is to live with a constant readiness to listen for the thoughts and direction of Jesus. He is present in your life and waiting for you to say, “I’m listening.”
One of my favorite quotes is from an English theologian and hymn writer by the name of Frederick Faber. When I read his words about listening to God from the 1800s, they profoundly spoke to me. Biblical wisdom transcends time and culture. I hope his words will speak to you today.
Faber wrote, “There is hardly ever a complete silence in our soul. God is whispering to us well-nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out of the soul, or sink low, then we hear these whisperings of God.”
Let’s all pray for those whisperings of God and say, “Dear, Lord: I’m ready to listen.”