When I was a traveling as a missionary on a missions trip called The World Race, I learned how to practice listening prayer. I remember walking in the early crisp mornings along the sand dunes of the Kalahari desert in Botswana. I would talk to the Father and then I would wait and listen.
Wait and listen. Wait. Listen.
These were beautiful times of communion with Him. I would speak, He would speak. Distraction was minimal before I embarked on the Race, I wasn’t walking in this realm. My prayers were largely one-sided. Me, me, me, me. I was lacking a very important category, a very important truth.
Isaiah 8:19 says, “Should not a people inquire of their God?” If we believe God is good and still speaks to us, we are missing out if we do not ask Him questions. In a huge way, we are missing out.
But asking requires us to listen, and we don’t do that well. We like to talk. Above all, we like to talk about ourselves – our fears, troubles, worries, desires etc… And we like to read, we may even like to study the Bible. And we should.
We should feel the freedom to honestly express what is going on in our hearts. However, we should read and study the Bible. Absolutely. But isn’t the conversation a bit one-sided if we never listen or even ask a question? It seems a little narcissistic, right? I mean, you wouldn’t do that to a good friend, would you? And yet we do it this to our Abba Father every day.
Mother Teresa once said, “God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.”
The fact is, the Father wants to say something to you. He longs to speak. Sometimes He does this through a word or phrase in the Scriptures, sometimes it’s a more unique, detailed word directly for you and your situation. In fact, He longs to whisper words to you. After all, you are His beloved and He is utterly wild about you.
You may have some time on a plane, bus, airport, tuk-tuk, or boat. Or even better, right after you get up, grab some coffee, a pen, and journal, and give the Father 15 minutes of your focused, distraction-free attention. Focus your mind, ask Father what He wants to share with you at that moment. Write it down.
In conclusion, maybe He’ll remind you of who you are, maybe He’ll put a person on your heart to reach out to, maybe He’ll give you a mission for the day.
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