Conversational Prayer (because it’s the Ultimate Listening Experience)

are you listening

What comes to your mind when I say God can speak to you directly?

Some people get anxious and others react with skepticism. How will I know for sure that I’m hearing Him? What if it’s just my own thoughts? Or what if the devil deceives me?

Some feel shame. I want to hear God like others do but He never talks to me. What’s wrong with me?

In addition, others experience sadness and long to hear Him. I don’t feel that close to God. I read my Bible and have morning devotions but He seems so far away.

In this post, I’ll show you,

  • Why listening to God is crucial
  • Why knowing the real God is important
  • Why knowing the real you is life changing
  • Why hearing God is hardwired in you

Why listening to God is crucial

Without hearing God we’re at the mercy of our own unhealed hurts, unmet needs, and unresolved issues. Or we become dependent on others to hear God for us.

Without hearing God we miss out on an affectionate, warm relationship with Him. Gary Smalley points out, “You may feel like the ragged, hungry, orphan child standing in the snow with your nose pressed against the restaurant window, watching laughing people eating wonderful food. You long to enter in, but you feel excluded, lonely, rejected, and starved.

I felt like that at one time because I held a wrong concept of God. It was like I was on the outside looking in spiritually. 

Why knowing the real God is important

A. W. Tozer when he wrote, “Nothing twists and deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God.”

How can we love God if we don’t know Him but when we know the real God we love Him. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). 

Often we paint over the face of God with how we experienced our earthly fathers. If your father was distant, broke his promises, shamed you, and called you names, we tend to see God that way.

Many believers don’t know the “real” God – the overjoyed God who welcomes the lost son or daughter home with open arms and acceptance. 

“Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the baby she bore?

But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you—never. Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:15 Message Bible)

Why knowing the real you is life changing

Many Christians believe lies about themselves. Unless you see yourself through God’s eyes who takes pleasure in you, you will probably experience a negative flow of emotions toward yourself. 

Who you are is based on who God says you are. Here is how God sees you,

“Holy” – not holier-than-thou cleansed, forgiven-washed in His precious blood (Romans 11:16; Ephesians 1:4).

“joined to the Lord and one spirit with Him.” He indwells you  – energizing your life (I Corinthians 6:17).

“lavished with His love” – God is “in love” with you (I John 3:1).

Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God makes the astonishing statement that God is “pursuing relationship with you.”

The Bible paints word pictures that describe your relationship with Him.

  • “friends with Christ” (John 15:15)
  • “children of God” (John 1:12)
  • “the bride of Christ” (Revelation 19:7-8)

The fact is God wants to be close to you:

closer than friends,

     closer than a father to his child,

          closer even than a bridegroom to his bride.

Dallas Demmitt, Ph.D. says it this way,  “When you know that you are surrounded and filled with a God who loves you and will never leave you, you then have a solid basis for a healthy self-image-not pride or arrogance, but a rock-solid confidence that you are loved and supernaturally equipped for loving others.”

Why hearing God is hardwired in you

“My sheep listen to my voice” (John 10:27).

But how can I be sure that I’m hearing God and not myself-or worse yet-the enemy? That’s a good question. The following exercise will walk you through both these concerns.

First, you will pray Scripture and know without a doubt that it is God speaking to you through His Word.

Secondly, you will hear God speaking through your thoughts, no in an audible voice. Most of the time you hear God through your thoughts.

This exercise is adapted from the book The Secret to the Christian Life by Gene Edwards. You are about to enter into an ancient practice of the saints of all the centuries past, a practice and a heritage passed down through two millennia of the Christian faith. you are about to turn Scripture into prayer.

Start – by taking a few minutes to get quiet and think about His love for you and yours for Him. let all other distractions fall away. take your time and don’t feel that you have to rush this process.

Next, open your Bible to Psalm 23. Ask the Lord to speak to you out of the psalm. Then read Psalm 23:1 out loud to Him. it’s okay if your mind becomes filled with other sights and impressions relating them to your own life.

Continue to read and expand the verse as you “hear” more of what the Lord is speaking to you based on your existing Bible understanding.

When there’s a lull in the flow of ideas, ask Him to “say more.” “Say more” is called (inviting).

When questions arise, ask the Lord, What does this mean? or How does this apply to me?” Then summarize his answer. I call this (Asking and Summarizing).

Example of how this might sound:

Lord Jesus, I hear You saying You are my Shepherd. I shall not want. I am a Lamb. I was mad for a shepherd. I wasn’t meant to have all the answers and to be strong and independent. You supply my needs. Thank You, Lord.

What else do You want to say? (Inviting)

I hear you say that you are a Good Shepherd. Trustworthy and pure in Your love and intentions toward me. That I can rest in Your arms. You are a safe place. In fact, You are the only safe place in this life. Thank You, Jesus. (Summarizing)

Is there more? (Inviting)

Continue on in this way all through Psalm 23.

Finally, at the end, sit quietly before the Lord and let Him love you deeply within your spirit.

Sample Closing Prayer:

Father, I’m so glad I can hear Your voice. Your nonjudgmental hearing and speaking powerfully draws me to You. Thank You that I no longer feel on the outside looking in. You continually speak to me and I hear Your words as echoes of the Scripture.

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