Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Art of Listening Prayer

Prayer is first and foremost about relating to God before it is requesting and petitioning of Him. You will never understand petitioning prayer until you understand relational prayer. When you hear God’s voice, you love your own voice less. I can’t tell you how many times I have wrestled through situations, decisions and then finally let God speak to me through a devotional, His Word, in the quietness and it stills my soul. It gives me incredible resolve and peace to follow through, to stick with it, to persevere!

The first thing in prayer is to get God. If you get Him, everything else follows. Allow God to get at you, to invade you, to take possession of you. He then pours His very prayers through you. E Stanley Jones

Listen to God’s voice as he speaks into the life of Job in Job 38 -42

We put God in second place every time we pray more for personal things than for the opportunity to bear fruit for Him. It is a hard question to ask… and as Larry Crabb writes in his book we do it when for example we pray harder for our marriage to feel better than we pray to more closely relate to God.

We need to focus on the provider more than His provisions.

Archbishop Trent said prayer is ‘not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His highest willingness’

The acid test of you prayer experience is does it make a difference in your life. It is moving you more closely to those that are the hardest to love.

Remaining in Christ teaches me the value of what Christ does in me can never be accomplished by myself in getting adopted into the family of God. My radical helplessness really teaches me that the real significance comes through finding my satisfaction in Him and my need to get away with God!

What is the unsatisfied desire and consuming terror in your life? Is it that you don’t feel the depth of your value? Is it inadequacy? Reflect on it. What is going on inside of me? What am I feeling? What am I wishing would happen? What am I scared of is the real question that Larry Crabb addresses.

IS IT SILENCE? The LORD said to Job:

2 "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who accuses God answer him!"

3 Then Job answered the LORD :

4 "I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth.

5 I spoke once, but I have no answer—
twice, but I will say no more."

Job 40 The first thing we learn here is that God did not speak until Job finally became silent

God continues to speak into our lives but we often miss his still small voice because we let our lives become so complicated.

Ecclesiastes 7:29 (Good News Bible) God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated.

We have so many competing affections that suck up our time and we're afraid of silence.

Avoiding the thought that my soul is empty by keeping busy is one of the oldest tricks in the book. One writer suggests that we fill our calendars because we want to. To come to the point where I’m left all by myself, no friend to visit, book to read, TV to watch, music to listen to, bringing me to the revelation of my basic human aloneness can be a scary thing. Keeping busy allows me to play the game that everything is fine. God doesn’t want my busyness – He wants me, but we miss the point and as a result, our lives are unbalanced, our priorities are forgotten and our hearts are not in tune.

Why is it so hard for us to listen, especially guys. I remember one of the first things on Jordan's report card was the word 'focus'. His kindergarten teacher would use that word to draw attention away from what the kids were doing and the training was amazing.


What is God trying to show you:

1. God’s plan always prevails – get on His track. v2

2. Don’t talk about what you don’t know. v3 It is not your job to figure everything out and the sooner you learn that the better off you will be.

3. He is in the business of revealing Himself. God revealing Himself to you is more precious, more important than even knowing the answer. To know God is a powerful, all consuming passion.

In Philippians 3:10, Paul's passionate pursuit was to know Jesus so deeply. "For my determined purpose is that I may know Christ- that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding (the wonders of His person) more strongly and more clearly. And that I may in that same way come to know the outflowing from His resurrection (the power it exerts over believers); and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed (in spirit into His likeness even) to His death. The Amplified Bible. If you are ready to go deeper, if you long for intimacy with our Lord Jesus, if you want to be more profoundly aware of His presence, as do I, then this message is for you!

O the bliss of the man who longs for total righteousness as a starving man longs for food, and as a man perishing of thirst longs for water. And then Jesus added, ‘For that man will truly be satisfied

Lets look at a man who was heartsick for God - Psalm 63 – He didn’t seek comfort, ease. As Charles Spurgeon wrote, ‘his soul, his very self, his deepest life, was insatiable for a sense of the divine presence…oh to have the most intense craving after our Savior!

4.Repent of whatever is getting in the way of hearing and seeing God! v6


Where does God meet me? Where do I hear Him? How does it happen?

IT DOESN'T HAPPEN RIGHT AWAY. Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem.

Richard Foster

There is a process to walk through that draws us in as Chuck Swindoll outlines so well...


It begins by reordering our personal life. I can so easily be led astray!

We need to simplify our lives, ask Jesus to release the grip, deliver us from those things that will only suffocate us and to satisfy us with His unfailing love. If I don’t simplify my life, I will not be able to rest within, I will be unable to enter the deepest parts of my heart where God’s awesome messages are revealed.

Anyone can be led astray, we are not immune, but our response time can be shortened!

J. I. Packer – in moral and spiritual terms as it relates to sin, we are all sick and damaged, diseased and deformed, scarred and sore – and the only sin I have victory over is a forgiven one. The only power I have is remaining in Jesus…


I am talking silence – Let be and be still, and know-recognize and understand that I am God (Amplified)

Eugene Peterson states – Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything! Jacob wrestling God fights for us. Psalm 46:10

We have to banish our world. Silence, uninterrupted quiet moments whether it is a quiet morning walk -His creation can bring us so close… find your own special meeting place with God. Go where you won’t be distracted like my pastor friend Alex in Cuernavaca, Mexico. It was there while we were building the second floor of his house that he showed his plans for his bedroom complete with an ensuite...actually no... The room in the corner was a prayer room!

Jesus also knew when it was time to dismiss the crowd.

Noise and words and frenzied, hectic schedules dull our senses, closing our ears to His still small voice and making us numb to His touch. C Swindoll man, that is scary.

If prayer is a chore rather than a comforting relief, if you are spiritually insensitive, pray that God would incline your heart toward Him. If you don’t, you are just going through the motions. It is not about doing it right. I still practice listening to God even when I don't sense He is speaking to me. God doesn't always show up and give me passion and energy.

Silence works - it brings me to the place where I'm alone with Him, shut up to God


In the midst of the storms, it is Jesus who tells us 'to take courage' Matthew 14:27 He is with us, we do not have to fear.

There is a furnace of transformation for our souls where our faith is tried by fire, its not pleasant, but God is more interested in your character than your comfort.

KNOW THIS… the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:12

We need to get alone with God and let Him expose us for what we really are and give us His motives, His passion, His preeminance. If we don’t, we are just mouthing words, meaning nothing.

May not the inadequacy of much of our spiritual experience be traced back to our habit of skipping through the corridors of the Kingdom like children in the market place, chattering about everything, but pausing to learn the true value of nothing. A W Tozer


Proverbs 3:5,6 - surrender your rights, your future, your will, your dreams, your finances, your leisure, your personal space, your attitude. God’s will is accomplished when I keep my hands out of it.


WHY DO I WANT TO LISTEN? – because His presence is the only thing worth such a determined pursuit – it is the only thing that will satisfy my inner man!

It is there that I will weep with Jesus for those who are lost without a Heavenly Father

It is there that I will hear Him say come and find rest for your soul

It is there that I will feel His heartbeat to glorify God

It is there that I will touch Him and know He has made me whole

It is there that I will see Him intercede with all powerful intensity, not my will but thine be done

It is there that I will be delivered from selfish and wicked thoughts.

Let Him speak to your soul.

May the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:12.

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