Listening Prayer: Engaging with God in the Prayer-Filled Life

“I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and

will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.”   Habakkuk 2:1  (KJV)

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 11:15

This week’s teaching brings to an end our discussion of the prayer-filled, contemplative life.  We began this series by inviting our readers to pursue the prayer-filled life.  Fulfillment of this life entails both love for God and the desire to be in His presence continually (practicing His presence).  For many believers, such a pursuit necessitates a return to our First Love (Rev. 2:4) and desiring the needful thing (Luke 10:42) which can only be found in fellowship with Infinite God.  Today we will spend time looking at a key practice in the prayer-filled life—listening prayer.

Listening prayer was a new experience for me.  I admit my prayer life was pretty one-sided—asking, seeking, and knocking (Matt. 7:7).  I invested much time in learning what I thought was the “right way” to pray.  I followed the PAPA prayer formula.  I prayed the Scriptures.  I employed the infamous ACTS model (adoration-confession-thanksgiving-supplications).  I wanted to better communicate with God but I failed to realize what God wanted.  God was not concerned with “correct communications” but God did desire “devoted relationship.”

Listening prayer is about joining with God at the “heart”.   By heart, I’m not speaking about the emotions only, but that “intuitive part” which instructs the mind and the will.  It is a place of union with God.  Through the eyes and the ears of the heart we see and hear God—who He is and how He operates.  We discover God’s purpose for our life and how we can better serve Him (2 Cor. 5:15).  In listening prayer we exchange our “intermittent” requests for “continuous” dialogue with the all wise, all powerful God.

How does one begin listening prayer?  Believe that God desires to communicate with you (Gen. 35:13).  God is not some distant deity disinterested in His children.  We cry “Abba Father” (Gal. 4:6) knowing He hears our every word.  Know that God wishes to be in relationship with you (James 4:8a).  By instituting His plan of salvation, He created the means to restore that which was loss in the Garden of Eden—fellowship with mankind.  Declare your intentions by asking God to help hear His voice. Hearing God is not natural (remember we loss that in the Garden) so you must be intentional (Matt. 11:15).  At first, you may need to set aside time, to listen for His voice, perhaps during your morning or evening devotional time. Invite Him into that time with you and expect to hear (1 John 5:14).  You may receive a fleeting impression, a scripture or a song.  Don’t ignore it!  Write it down then ask God to dialogue with you about what you heard.  Journal what He says to you!

Listening prayer is not a method, but a walk with God where ongoing dialogue occurs.  It’s not about doing but it is about being in unbroken relationship with Triune God.  It is an exciting time of fellowship and discovery.  It is what God has always wanted for us.  Visit our website for a reading list on listening prayer and the prayer-filled life.  Happy listening!