“Four Inseparable Aspects of Prayer”
The Second Aspect of Prayer: Listening to God
“Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.”
I remember telling my pastor, “Talk to me, because if you don’t, the devil will.” That was before I started developing a relationship with God myself and I started developing a hunger for His voice. Logically thinking; when having a conversation with the All Knowing and All Mighty God; it is indeed obvious that the most important aspect of that communication is what HE has to say. If you love basketball and you want to be a better basketball player; imagine for a minute that Michael Jordan is scheduled to spend a couple of hours with you to help with your game. Don’t you think that it will be foolish if during those couple of hours you do all the talking and after you are done you just leave and allow Mr. Jordan no time to speak about your game? You had one of the greatest basketball players that ever lived at your disposal for a couple of hours and all you could do was talk yourself. My friends; that is what many of us call prayer! We have access to GOD, but we don’t care to listen! Perhaps the reason we don’t care to listen is because some can’t believe that God can actually speak to them.
Let’s do a basic review on the seven ways God uses to speak to us:
- He speaks through our hearts: This is a deep thought that you know it did not come from you.
- He speaks through visions: These are like mental pictures from God.
- He speaks through dreams as you sleep.
- He speaks through His Word; through the revelation of His Word: It is no longer a normal reading; it is when a Scripture jumps out and gives you a deeper understanding. We will be discussing the reading of His Word as a crucial aspect of prayer in the next article.
- He speaks through circumstances: God sometimes opens and closes doors through events in our lives.
- He speaks through people: God can use anybody.
- He speaks through His audible voice
This aspect of prayer is very dangerous if handled the wrong way because we must make sure that we are indeed listening to God. Not everything that we listen to is from God even if it sounds spiritual. We must also remember that the enemy will always try to imitate God in order to twist things around. So, not every thought, dream or person that approaches us, necessarily speaks on behalf of the Lord; we must be discerning, confirming what we hear through the word of God. And in decision- making especially, we must have the confirmation of two or three witnesses. (2 Cor. 13:1) For example, the Lord spoke to me about working full time with CRM where I was serving as part-time Chaplain, as I was working full-time with another organization. This was not an easy decision because it required resigning from my full-time job and loosing the extra income of a part-time job. I felt peace about it, but I was waiting for a confirmation. That confirmation came through three different people that did not know what I was asking the Lord and what the Lord was telling me.
This second aspect of prayer also reminds us that we need the Body of Christ. Prayer should not alienate us from people as we need people in order to be able to confirm that it is God speaking to us. But, is listening then enough?
To be continued…