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1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray continually. This blog is an opportunity to do just that.  Highlighting different guides and styles for prayer.  Please feel free to comment below about your own personal experience with this prayer or any questions you have regarding praying.

Listening & Hearing Prayer

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Luke 11:28 (NIV)

It is important to go to God in prayer, to praise Him and let him know your worries and concerns. It is also important to listen to God and follow His instruction. Below is a valuable guide for hearing the voice of God and learning to listen to the father through prayer.

"Hearing the Voice of God" By Lauren Cunningham

If you know the Lord, you already heard his voice.  It is that inner leading that brought you to him in the first place.  Jesus always checked with his Father (John 8:26-29), and so should we; hearing the voice of the heavenly Father is a basic right of every child of God. 

The following are a number of ways of fine-tuning this experience:

1.      Hearing God’s voice is possible for you!  

Don’t make guidance complicated.  It’s actually hard not to hear God if you really want to please and obey Him!... If you stay humble, he promises to guide you (Prov. 16:9) Here are three simple steps that have helped us to hear God’s voice:

    • Submit to His lordship
      Ask Him to help you silence your own thoughts, desires and the opinions of others that may be filling your mind (2 Cor. 10:5) Even though you have been given a good mind to use, right now you want to hear the thoughts of the Lord, who has the best mind (Prov 3:5-6)
    • Resist the enemy
      In case he is trying to deceive you at this moment. Use the authority which Jesus Christ has given you to silence the voice of the enemy (James 4:7; Eph 6:10-20)
    • Expect your loving heavenly Father to speak to you
      After asking the question, wait for Him to answer.  Expect your loving heavenly Father to speak to you.  He will (John 10:27; Psalm 69:13; Exodus 33:11)

2.     God speaks in different ways

Allow God to speak to you in the way He chooses. Don’t try to dictate to Him concerning the guidance methods you prefer. He is Lord – you are his servant (1 Sam 3:9).  So listen with a yielded heart; there is a direct link between yielding and hearing.  He may choose to speak to you:

      • Through His word… this could be in your daily reading of the Bible, or he could guide you to a particular verse (Psalm 119:105).
      • Through an audible voice…(Exodus 3:4)
      • Through dreams…(Matthew 2)
      • Or through visions…(Isaiah 6:1, Rev 1:12-17).
      • Through the quiet inner voiceprobably the most common of all means (Isaiah 30:21)

3.     Acknowledge your sin before God

Confess any unforgiven sin.  A clean heart is necessary if you want to hear God (Psalm 66:18)

4.     Revisit the scene of God’s guidance

Use the Axhead Principle (see 2 Kings 6).  If you seem to have lost your way go back to the last time you knew the sharp, cutting edge of God’s voice.  Then Obey.  The key question is, “Have you obeyed the last thing God has told you to do?”

5.     God can and will speak to you!

God will use others to confirm your guidance, but you should also hear from Him directly.  It can be dangerous to rely on others to get the word of the Lord for you (I Kings 13).

6.     God will make it clear in his time. 

Don’t talk about your guidance until God gives you permission to do so.  Sometimes this happens immediately; at other times there is a delay.  The main purpose of waiting is to (help you) avoid pitfalls:

      • Pride – because God has spoken to you
      • Presumption – by speaking before you have a full understanding
      • Missing God’s timing and method
      • Bringing confusion to others, who also need prepared hearts (Eccl. 3:7; Mark 5:19; Luke 9:36)

7.     Be alert to the signs God provides

Use the Wise-Men Principle (see Matthew 2).  Just as the wise men individually followed the star and were all led to the same Christ, so God will often use two or more spiritually sensitive people to confirm what He is telling you (2 Cor 13:1)

8.     Discern true guidance from false guidance

Beware of counterfeits. Of course, you have heard of a counterfeit dollar bill.  But have you ever heard of a counterfeit paper bag? No. Why not?  Because only things of value are worth counterfeiting. Satan has a counterfeit of everything of God that is possible for him to copy (Exodus 7:2; Acts 8:9-11). Counterfeit guidance comes, for example, through Ouija boards, séances, fortune-telling and astrology (Lev. 19:26; 20:6; 2 Kings 21:6). The guidance of the Holy Spirit leads you closer to Jesus and into true freedom.  Satan’s guidance leads you away from God into bondage.  One key test for true guidance:  Does your leading follow Biblical principles?  The Holy Spirit never contradicts the Word of God.  Confess any unforgiven sin.  A clean heart is necessary if you want to hear God (Psalm 66:18)

9.     Yield your heart completely to the Lord

Opposition from humans is sometimes guidance from God (Acts 21:10-14)  The important thing again is yielding to the Lord (Daniel 6:6-23; Acts 4:18-21).  Rebellion is never of God, but sometimes he asks us to step away from our elders in a way that is not rebellion but part of his plan.  Trust that he will show your heart the difference.  Get your own leading. God will use others to confirm your guidance, but you should also hear from him directly.  It can be dangerous to rely on others to get the word of the Lord for you (1 Kings 13)

10.     God will reveal your calling

Every follower of Jesus has a unique ministry (Romans 12; 1 Cor 12; Eph 4:1, 1 Pet 4:10-11) The more you seek to hear God’s voice in detail, the more effective you will be in your own calling.  Guidance is not a game – it is serious business where we learn what God wants us to do and how he wants us to do it.  The will of God is doing and saying the right thing in the right place, with the right people at the right time and in the right sequence, under the right leadership, using the right method with the right attitude of the heart.

11.     Stay in constant communication with God

Practice hearing God’s voice and it becomes easier.  It’s like picking up the phone and recognizing the voice of your best friend… you know that voice because you have heard it so many times before.  Compare the young Samuel with the older man Samuel (1 Sam. 3:4-7; 8:7-10; 12:11-18).

12.     God wants a relationship with you!

The relationship is the most important reason for hearing the voice of the Lord. God is not only infinite but personal. If you don’t have communication, you don’t have a personal relationship with Him.  True guidance is getting closer to the Guide.  We grow to know the Lord better as He speaks to us and as we listen to Him and obey, we make His heart glad (Exodus 33:11; Matthew 7:24-27).    

Hearing God on the radio

I was having a hard time choosing a song for the weekly e-mail. I went through a few options, but nothing felt right. This happens occasionally, so I no longer fret, I just turn to God and say, ok Lord, what have you got in mind. I said, Lord, I'll take a break, do some jump rope (other information was not ready for the e-mail so I had time) and perhaps you will speak while I jump.  I plugged in the radio to begin my routine and the song that started from the beginning was "The Blessing". The same song that Dr Morgan's children had sung at the end of his memorial and at that time I thought would be great for the e-mail, but had since forgotten. One could say it was a coincidence, that song is played frequently as it is top of the charts right now. But I know that God was answering my prayer in the timing and the way in which he answered - not the middle of the song, not following announcements, not later in my jumping. I asked the question and He answered in a way that was direct and clear to me. There have been many other times where things have not gone according to plan but had they in my timing, I would have missed a message from Him.

I know that this is a silly example, that may seem insignificant to life, but when we learn to hear God in the little things and don't dismiss his daily working or care in our lives, then we begin to see Him and hear Him in all things. We can recognize when he is saying yes, no, and maybe. We can recognize when we are listening to ourselves and when we are listening to Him.

Thank you for praying,

for turning your eyes and heart to the Father who is able to do more than we could hope or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). May you come to know Jesus more, be blessed, and be a blessing as you pray.

Do you spend time listening to God?

How have you heard from God?

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