Are you a good listener or do you jump to conclusions,
fill in the pauses, and hijack conversations?
A man in the back row of the church comes forward for prayer.
The pastor asks him what he wants.
“I need prayer about my hearing,” says the man.
The pastor prays passionately over the fella, then asks loudly,
“How’s your hearing now?”
The man replies, “My hearing isn’t till next Thursday!”
It’s funny until it’s YOU feeling misunderstood and unheard.
Does it ever feel like you are in a sound proof room
and your prayers are not getting through to God?
Have there been times when God is silent and you question his listening skills?
If he is listening like the Bible says, why aren’t your prayers being answered?
A better question might be are you listening?
What if God is answering your prayers, but
you haven’t taken the time to listen or
are so unfamiliar with his voice
that you don’t recognize it?
There are certainly times when God is silent,
but let’s just make sure that if he is talking,
you are paying attention.
Let me ask you,
generally speaking, are you a good listener?
Do you keep your focus on the speaker while they talk?
Do you wait patiently if they need time to formulate a thought
or find a word?
Do you give them your full attention?
Before you answer,
think about how to listen to your hubz
and your kids
and your mom
and the lady next door who saves all her words for you
because she doesn’t get out much.
I believe the way we interact with people in
conversation says a lot about how we expect
God to answer our prayers.
If your idea of prayer is
mentioning a couple thank you’s,
dropping in an I’m sorry or two for good measure
then delivering your wishlist off at the foot of the throne
as you spring off to do the next thing,
you’re not very likely to hear the
Lord of the Universe’s answer.
I’ve had to learn to be a “white knuckle” listener.
To honor the person I’m in conversation with
I hang on to something till my knuckles turn white if necessary
to keep me from multitasking or fidgeting.
I hang on and I look them in the eye.
I zip my lip so I don’t hijack their story
or make them feel rushed.
I smile and nod engagingly so they
I repeat what they said in my own words
and ask them if they want advice
or just to be heard.
When you finish praying to God,
pouring out your heart or
begging for a must-have,
honor and respect him enough
to pause and listen for his response.
Just sit and wait for a minute or two for God to respond.
He answers in many ways.
Here are a few ways I’ve heard from God.
A thought traipses across the back yard of your brain.
A picture related to your prayer pops into your mind.
A Scripture verse comes rushing back to you.
An idea will just occur to you about the issue you’ve been praying about.
A chorus or stanza of a song or hymn might float into your mind.
The phone might ring or a text might ding with the answer or affirmation
God has prompted someone to share with you.
You remember the name of a friend to call for council.
God answers prayers in many ways.
Listen for his reply.
It takes practice but, just think about how smart you’ll be
if you let God’s answers guide your decisions.
How have you heard God speak to you?
God Almighty, I want to know you more. I want to hear your voice. I want to recognize your work in my life. Protect me from being deceived by the enemy who is so good at whispering lies in my ear. Guard my time and invite me to spend more with you. In Jesus Name. Amen.