Listening Prayer (because You Live by Every Word that Proceeds from the Mouth of the LORD

How do you know what God’s called you to do?

Hearing His voice is key. Without hearing His voice you’re left to flounder.

Have you been struggling with prayer lately?

Do you have moments in your life where you feel like you have a handle on prayer but you still feel frustrated? 

Does your mind wander because you don’t know where to begin because there’s so much to pray about?

First, this is what I will cover in this post.

  • God speaks through His Written Word, the Bible and
  • God speaks by His proceeding Word.

God speaks to you through the written Word.

The written Word is His established Word. It’s important to know what’s in the written Word but it’s also critical to know what He’s saying by His “proceeding” Word.

I’m convinced God speaks to people but they’ve not been mentored in how to recognize His voice.

God speaks by His proceeding Word.

“. . . man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

 The “proceeding word” means more than we think it means. Many Christians believe once the Bible was completed God stopped speaking.

Christians recite the verse this way, “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of the Lord.”

The word “proceeded” to many Christians means, what He once spoke. I was one of them.  But Deuteronomy 8:3 means something different. It says, “proceeds.” What’s proceed mean? God wants to speak to you directly not just through the written Word, the Bible. 

Hearing on the inside

The hamster wheel of good works keeps you busy and driven, but God’s proceeding Word keeps you off the hamster wheel. You stop saying,  Don’t speak to me now God I’m busy with this great work.

We put good works in place of listening prayer and wonder why we’re burned out.

burned-out

“Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? 

Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her” (Luke 10:41-42 TPT).

Does the Scripture above touch a raw nerve?  Martha had a need to be needed and she wouldn’t say no. Saying no wasn’t in my vocabulary years ago but major liver surgery got me off the merry-go-round of good works. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.  At last, I had time to listen to the works He wanted me to do.

Can you identify with Martha? Driveness keeps you busy but doesn’t satisfy the longing of your heart. The longing to hear God’s proceeding word.

I believe in hard work but what is our motive in all the work we do? Martha’s motive was not a godly motive. How can we tell? Martha was upset, troubled, pulled away by many distractions and lacked peace on the inside.

Jesus went straight to the matter of her heart because He’s always concerned with the heart of the matter. He put in perspective what matters most. Choosing to sit at Jesus’ feet comes first, then serving. Martha struggled to find satisfaction in serving because she neglected the most important part.

Peace comes on the inside when you tune to God and hear Him. Rest comes. Joy Comes. Satisfaction comes. Gone is the frantic attempt to gain God’s approval. 

“But instead we will remain strong and always sincere in our love as we express the truth. All our direction and ministries will flow from Christ and lead us deeper into him, the anointed Head of his body, the church.

For his “body” has been formed in his image and is closely joined together and constantly connected as one. And every member has been given divine gifts to contribute to the growth of all; and as these gifts operate effectively throughout the whole body, we are built up and made perfect in love” (Ephesians 4:15-16 TPT)

Finally, get all your direction that flows from Christ because you’ve been given divine gifts. May you find freedom in knowing you’re not skilled in all areas because God didn’t call you to do ALL things.

God gives you gifts so you can effectively serve others in the body of Christ without being worn to a frazzle. Paul found this out through experience. I think he was a type A personality but once God got his attention what awesome freedom he experienced.

Instead of being driven, how do you know what God’s called you to do? Hearing His voice is key. Without hearing His voice you’re left to flounder.

You can hear God through the written Word, the Bible and by His proceeding Word. Tune in to His frequency.

tune in to god

Is Your Conversational Prayer Missing A Vital Link?

When God speaks things happen. You see this from Genesis to Revelation.

Do you neglect Conversational Prayer?

I neglected it like the plague for years. I prayed with different types of prayer and I did all the talking. It wasn’t a dialogue but a monologue. It was about me, myself and I.

Don’t beat yourself up. You’re not alone.

Ranking high among the most neglected aspects of the Christian life is one  Conversational Prayer.

Not that Christians don’t pray, they engage in all types of prayer. What’s missing is Conversational Prayer.

 “The Lord says, “All you who are thirsty, come and drink. Those of you who do not have money, come, buy and eatCome buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

Why spend your money on something that is not real food? Why work for something that doesn’t really satisfy you? Listen closely to me, and you will eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies.

Come to me and listen; listen so you may live” (Isaiah 55:1-3).

I can’t get away from Isaiah 55:1-3. We own a Yorkie called Rocky, and these verses in Isaiah paints a picture of what he does when he gets his meaty bone. Yum! 

He prizes his bone and anyone who owns a dog knows the routine.

dog Bone

I say to Rocky, “Want a treat?” His ears perk up and he prances even before he sees his treat. He now has his prize, wagging his tail, and proud of his find, even though it came from my hand.

After telling Rocky what a good dog he is he drags his bone to a more quiet place in the TV room. He settles down, gnaws on his bone and it’s obvious he’s enjoying himself. He isn’t in a hurry and after an hour or so he buries his bone in his doggy box so he can find it the next day.

I love to see Rocky chew his bone. I call it doggy meditation. Just kidding – but it’s a lot like Conversational Prayer.

Let me explain.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good!” (Psalm 34:8).

The missing link to Conversational Prayer is neglecting to come to the one who gives you food for your soul. Rocky comes to me to get his meaty bone because he knows who gives him tasty treats. He doesn’t go to the next-door-neighbor but to me. Again, and again without fail.

God says, “Why work for something that doesn’t really satisfy you? Listen closely to me, and you will eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies. Come to me and listen; listen so you may live.” 

I hear God saying, “The spiritual food I give feeds and nourishes your inner man that all your material things can’t.”

“Listen closely to me, and you will eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies. Come to me and listen; listen so you may live.” 

God is speaking about His Word. The word “listen,” is directly connected to the phrase “eat what is good.”

Conversational Prayer is a Feast for Your Soul

No one taught me how to eat the rich food God gives. I came to Him but totally missed the listening part.

Eating the word is not a new concept. “I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll; and he said to me, “Take it, and eat;” (Revelation 10:).

Jeremiah and Ezekiel old testament prophets had also eaten books. Yum. A good diet for anyone who cares about Conversational Prayer.

I am using the metaphor,

“Eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies.

 Come to me and listen; listen so you may live.”

In addition, I want to focus on and clarify what it means to “Eat what is good.” When you learn to “eat what is good” it becomes a feast for your soul.

When God speaks things happen. You see this from Genesis to Revelation.

“You can’t hear God speak to someone else, you can hear him only if you are being addressed.” Ludwig Wittgenstein

Like Rocky putting all of himself into gnawing on his bone, we put all of ourselves into eating what God gives us to eat. As Rocky chews and eats away at his bone, he absorbs it. There’s not a trace of any meat left on the bone. It’s now become part of him. His coat shines, his teeth are white, and he’s satisfied.

How to start absorbing the food God gives you to eat. 

Exercise: 

Read Isaiah 55:1-3. Which thoughts below describes your most common response to what you just read. Circle two or three, if you wish.

  • What in the world do you mean Holy Spirit by “eat what is good”?
  • I need your help to understand these Scriptures?
  • I remember a teaching about this passage – how is it connected?
  • I can’t do what this passage teaches.
  • That was new!
  • I’m done, it takes to long.
  • I’m sleepy – I’ll read it tomorrow.
  • Other 

Read Isaiah 55:1-3 again.

  1. In Conversational Prayer why are the activities described in these verses a right response if you feel poor and penniless spiritually?
  2. Describe the reaction you have when you read.Those of you who do not have money, come, buy and eatCome buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
  3. “Why spend your money on something that is not real food? Why work for something that doesn’t really satisfy you? Listen closely to me, and you will eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies.” What does that mean Holy Spirit?
  4. What do these verses tell you about Conversational Prayer?
  5. Which of the following responses to Isaiah 55:1-3 would you like to try more often? Why?
  6. Why are you more likely to change when you engage with God through Conversational Prayer?

Going Deeper with Conversational Prayer

Experiment with one or more of the following.

  • Choose a response from this passage (such as how thirsty you are). 
  • Read Isaiah 55:1-3 aloud slowly. Which word or phrase is most meaningful to you? Why? What does that phrase say about how you want to connect with God? If you were to pray phrases from Isaiah 55:1-3 back to God, what would you say to Him?

Here are some starters:

Abba, my Father, open my eyes to the rich things you’re blessing me with that I don’t see or understand about Conversational Prayer.

Thank you, O God, that you know what I need to nourish my soul.

  • Journal about “Eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies.”
    Here’s an idea to get you started: Eating what is good takes time Cindy. Don’t rush, let’s enjoy this time together. I want to savor every word you give me Father like I savor each bite of smooth luscious chocolate. Each word you speak to me is like a feast for my soul. Delicious and satisfying.
  • Give yourself permission to respond: sense how much God loves you; how you may have left God on the sidelines of your life; how much God has helped you understand Conversational Prayer.

 

 

 

 

Conversational Prayer (and Wisdom for the Weary).

Why it’s a good idea to speak to your heavenly Father when you walk through trials.

Trials.

Everybody has them from time to time.

But why do some sink beneath the raging waves but others experience joy?

To be honest when I was a new Christian I was taught once you become a believer you don’t experience trials anymore. That’s a stronghold of the mind (pattern of thinking) that needs to be shattered. It’s a lie we believe.

“When you face stormy seas I will be there with you with endurance and calm; when you will not be engulfed in raging rivers.

 If it seems like you’re walking through fire with flames licking at your limbs, keep going; you won’t be burned,” (Isaiah 43:2 VOICE Translation).

Did you notice God didn’t say “if”. . . He said, “When you face stormy seas. Everyone will face stormy seas at one time or another. But it’s possible to walk through the storm knowing He’s right there with us and we will not be completely covered by the raging rivers when they come.

Many times right in the middle of calamity, when it looks like a disaster, we hear His voice saying, “Be not afraid.” His presence is all that we need even in the deepest floods of tribulation.

Early in my Christian life, the Book of James didn’t make sense to me. “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy.”  I mean really James. . .  you can’t possibly mean this. You don’t know what I’m going through.

Years have gone by since walking through the depression, major liver surgery, and breast cancer – and I’ve found James was right.

Conversational Prayer has a place in your trials.

Before 1990 I couldn’t see nor understand how to meet trials with joy. I met people who thrived in their trials. But I wasn’t one of them. Reading chapter one of James just made me angry. 

But 1990 was a turning point in my life. During a four week stay in the hospital one night, while I sat on my bed my heavenly Father spoke to me. His voice wasn’t audible but these spontaneous words went through my mind.

“You’re my daughter that will never change. I’ll never leave you or forsake you.”

The surprising thing was I was more than 1,000 miles away from home. He KNEW where to find me. He KNEW where I was. His words comforted me like a fluffy down comforter. I felt warm, enfolded and safe in His affectionate presence.

Another thing happened that night, my perspective changed. The anger lifted. I hadn’t changed my thinking because my attention span was non-existent because of my illness.

Even so, my life took a turn for the better. It was life-changing because my perspective changed how I looked at trials.

Conversational Prayer is about having a two-way conversation

God and you talk back and forth. It’s like any other conversation you have with a close friend. You speak and they listen, then they speak and you listen.

On a side note. I highly recommend Whispers of my Abba, by David Takle.  You will learn how to listen to the Spirit of God and develop a conversational prayer life that will change forever your relationship to God and your approach to the Christian life.

In his book, David Takle summarizes and clarifies much of the best on the subject of Conversational Prayer.

Sean P has this to say about Whispers of my abba, “Because Christianity is referred to as a “Relationship” and not a “Religion”, I struggled to understand how to have this relationship when it seemed so “one-sided”. I was always doing the talking through Prayer.” 

Now back to 1990. Prior to my four-week stay in the hospital, my life was like a hamster running on its hamster wheel. Busy, busy, busy. No let up and so much to do. I was driven.

 

Busy Busy Busy

Was it because my life came to a screeching halt that now I had time to listen to my heavenly Father’s voice? I think so. I had almost totally forgotten Him. I had pushed my heavenly Father to the sidelines of my life but He was waiting for the right time to speak to me.

Jesus was no stranger to trials either.  In the Garden of Gethsemane waiting for His betrayer in the dark shadows of the cross, He’s in conversation to His heavenly Father.

“He walked a short distance away, and being overcome with grief, he threw himself face down on the ground. He prayed that if it were possible, he would not have to experience this hour of suffering

He prayed, “Abba, my Father, all things are possible for you. Please—don’t allow me to drink this cup of suffering! Yet what I want is not important, for I only desire to fulfill your plan for me.”

It’s a good idea to speak to your heavenly Father too when you walk through trials. Asking for wisdom is the natural thing to do. “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

This verse is in the context of trials and tribulation. I don’t know about you but walking through trials can be confusing. What better person to go to than your heavenly Father who will give you wisdom generously.

Before finally ending up in the hospital I frantically tried everything humanly possible to get better. I never thought of crying out to Abba, my Father for wisdom. 

Nothing helped, until. . .

By this time I didn’t know what I needed. But what I needed most was hearing my Abba, Father say, “You’re my daughter and always will be.” My healing didn’t come overnight but what a journey.  Conversational Prayer is a dialogue between two persons who love each other. 

Hearing “You’re my daughter and always will be” went straight to my heart. What daughter doesn’t want to hear those words from her father. Here I was hearing these words from my heavenly Father.

Even though I still had a long road to recovery, my inner being came to complete peace and rest. The peace and rest flooded my soul in a deep and profound way.

I tell people it’s one thing to hear about Conversational Prayer but experiencing God speaking to you directly is transformational. It’s the most life-giving thing you will ever experience.

You never believe again that God stopped speaking once the Scriptures were completed. Your perspective has changed. That’s why James could say.”

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance. 

And let endurance have it’s perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

I gained wisdom that dark lonely night in the hospital, spiritual wisdom that is. Spiritual wisdom is smarter than human wisdom. I thought I needed one thing but God knew I needed to hear His voice and sense His presence.

Like me are you able to go back on a storm of life and see how God brought you through? I’ve learned not to deny what I see around me, but know He will open my eyes to a new and fresh perspective when I ask for wisdom.

Thank Him for bringing you through past trials, and for holding you through current suffering. Cry out to Him, to help you see the light in a trial that has seemed so far just darkness.

Hear What Others Say about Conversational Prayer

Read what others say about Conversational Prayer.

Testimonials about Conversational Prayer?

Jene says, “Conversational prayer captured my attention.  The thought of aligning myself with God, letting go of the mindset of “it’s all up to me”, is refreshing.”

“I had never heard of conversational prayer before. Since learning to pray this way, I can say, it offers hope, reminding us that we can enter and live in God’s kingdom regardless of our brokenness.

It shows how we can participate with God in ways that change us at a deeper level, not just superficially/externally,” says Phyllis E. 

Jenny D. says, “the four aspects of conversational prayer are helpful with learning how to engage with God in a meaningful relationship as well as freeing regarding the life of a Christian and the why/how God intended us to live our daily lives.

It’s been eye-opening to learn how to directly engage with God.  You won’t find a quick magic cure, but a path that leads to the abundant life with Christ. A feast for your soul!”

“I wish that I knew about conversational prayer years ago. It certainly would have saved me a lot of time and heartache in learning how to connect with God. Once I understood the four aspects of conversational prayer I craved God’s presence like never before.

I  highly recommend conversational prayer,” says John K.

David A. says, “Listening to and hearing from God is of huge importance. The privilege and experience of conversational prayer are literally life-changing.

The four aspects of conversational prayer clarify much of the best on the subject I’ve ever read.

At least sample it. You may be glad you did!”

“Because Christianity is referred to as a “Relationship” and not a “Religion”, I struggled to understand how to have this relationship when it seemed so “one-sided”. I was always doing the talking through Prayer.

The examples and illustrations what a 2-way dialogue with God actually looks like helped me understand what conversational prayer looks like” says Sean P.

Kelly C. says, “I love that conversation prayer focuses on a deep relationship with Jesus Christ.

Anyone who wants to learn more about becoming closer to Christ and developing a prayer life that brings joy and peace could benefit from conversational prayer.

The four principles of conversational prayer are valuable to my own prayer life throughout my own life.”  

LW says, “If you have ever been stuck in a place where your prayers have seemed futile and repetitive or you were so overwhelmed by life that you didn’t even know how to pray about a situation, then conversational prayer is a good solution.

I could see how my prayer life could be transformed from praying repetitively to pray passionately to my Heavenly Father who wants to have a real conversation with me.”

Roy W. says, “The idea that if we are in a relationship with God and we should have conversations with him makes sense to me.

We talk and listen to those we love throughout our regular schedule without flowery and “churchy” language. Conversational prayer challenges us to have those type of conversations with God, listening and talking to Him in prayer.

Conversational prayer is for new and lifelong Christians seeking to grow their prayer life.”

“I have searched for a good resource on listening to God that a) is practical and immediately applicable b) gets deep (not feel good fluff) and c) isn’t a 500-page theological treaties.

There is no such thing as a relationship that doesn’t involve conversation, yet most of my prayers are one way. Conversational prayer is helping me understand God’s specific will for my life through genuine, two-way communication, and grow in the confidence of knowing what God’s voice sounds like,” says Kelene D.

Sandy L. says, “This has COMPLETELY changed my walk with the Lord !!! I have never felt the closeness with God the way I do now. AMAZING!! I love how simple and yet so powerful conversational prayer is !!! I have learned to be more sensitive than ever to the Holy Spirit! My walk with the Lord is so much closer now as I now have what I need to hear from Him !!! 

 

Part Two – Do You Know Where You Fail In Conversational Prayer?

Find out how you can begin a two-way conversation that you only dreamed about.

ashamed

Do you feel ashamed of yourself for neglecting to pray? Is it boring?

Do you go weeks at a time without picking your bible up? 

You’re not the only one. I would go for months at a time because prayer seemed more like being back in school. I hated school. 

I couldn’t connect with the teachers because of my learning style. Prayer was the same way.

Boring.

Dry,

and lifeless.

Once I discovered conversational prayer I never turned back. Back then I couldn’t put into words the process but today it seems so clear. 

Today you can begin a two-way conversation that you only dreamed about. As you experience communion with your heavenly Father it’s like a feast for your soul.

 4 Aspects or ways that help your conversational prayer be more life-giving:

  • Focusing
  • Listening
  • Discerning and
  • Responding

I covered focusing and listening in my previous post. Now I’ll cover the discerning and responding aspects of conversational prayer.

Good relationships don’t just fall into place overnight, do they? Conversational prayer is the same way. 

3. Discerning is the Third Aspect of Conversational Prayer

Discerning the content. But what do I mean by content? What kind of content are you to discern?

  • Content about what you do not know about your own heart (compassionately confronted).
  • Content about important things you thought you knew (fresh new insight). Often comes by asking new questions.
  • Content that reminds you of things you’ve forgotten (John 14:26).
  • Content filled with healing words for your soul.
  • Content filled with His heart for you, how much He loves you.

How Do I Know It’s God

  • God’s thoughts are different and better. Life-giving words feed your soul.
  • God’s thoughts bring peace, love, awe, and seeing with better clarity.
  • God’s confrontations are gentle and caring.

Harsh condemnation and judgment come from our own upbringing or from the accuser.

Checking with your friends or church family (providing that it’s healthy) confirmation is helpful.  Remain teachable because we never outgrow listening prayer.

We all learn from experience. As you become more familiar with the Father’s heart through your own experience revealed in Scripture you will grow in your discernment.

4. Responding is the Fourth Aspect of Conversational Prayer

Why do you need to respond actively? Where do you need to focus your attention?

How do I make this “stick”? Questions like these help you to respond to God better.

Since you are engaging God directly, ask him,

God, what do you want me to take away from our time together?
How can I apply this?
What do I want to come back to again?

Conversational prayer is interactive. It’s not you doing all the talking but a heart to heart
conversation with the lover of your soul.

Responding includes:

  • Quieting and spending time together
  • Enjoying the moment
  • Praying with thanksgiving / praise / intercession (praying for others) / repenting / renouncing.
  • Acting by contacting or connecting with others
  • Acting by serving or giving as led by the Holy Spirit
  • Acting by memorizing a verse or verses of Scripture
  • Acting by posting a note to keep the thought or thoughts visible
  • Acting by sharing with others

Long-term conversational prayer deepens your relationship with God. Listening prayer helps you get to know His character and how He loves and cares for you.

God’s mentoring brings growth, healing, and victory. Communion with God is a feast for your soul.

Lucy says, “conversational prayer has been transformational in my life.   The four aspects of conversational prayer broken down beautifully.

These four parts of conversational prayer prepares one for the transformational journey of having a relationship, a conversational relationship with God.  Conversational prayer is so practical and so profound.

I love how maturity is addressed as this does not often come up in other types of prayer. And I have grown so much by the help of others where they are strong in my weak areas modeling for me so that I can become strong too.

Okay, lets put into practice everything you’ve learned so far.

Conversational Prayer Practice – adapted from Renovation of the Heart in Daily Practice.

In this exercise below, you will Reflect on a snapshot of life

Start by choosing an image from the Psalms below that best describes your soul and what it’s crying out for. If you can’t decide, choose the one your best friend or spouse would choose for you.

A panting deer who has been running in search of water for a long time (Psalm 42:1).

A small creature crouching in the protective shadow of a huge creature (God’s wings)(Psalm 57:1).

A weary desert traveler (Psalm 63:1).

An ailing patient who stretches out his hands for help yet refuses to be comforted when comfort is offered (Psalm 77:2).

Someone who has narrowly escaped death (Psalm 116:8).

A tired mountain climber who has found a solid foothold (Psalm 94:18-19).

A gourmet dinner (Psalm 63:5) or (Isaiah 55:1-3).

Think carefully about why you chose the image you’ve chosen. What is the cry of your heart based on that image? What is needed to help your soul rest?

David points out,

“Engaging with God over life issues can be one of the most life-giving experiences we can have, as God shows us what we have missed and what we need in order to move on. But we need to stay teachable because these issues often have more than one layer to them.

For example, during one conversation I had with God about my self-hate, He gave me an insight that helped my self-image in some very important ways.

He revealed how many of the terrible things I believed about myself had more to do with the ways my family saw me during my early childhood than it had to do with who I really am in God’s eyes. It was a life-giving moment as if I had been given a cool drink of water in the desert.

When I sit down to spend time with God, sometimes I begin with a passage of Scripture, and other times I bring up whatever I am dealing with at the time.

Either way, God reveals His heart to me and helps me see things from His perspective. Most encounters with Him are like meeting with the Father I  always wished I had – who always has time for me, always knows what I need and how I need to hear it so that I “get” it.”

Both seasoned believers, as well as new Christians, report that conservational prayer has been one of the most enriching experiences of their entire Christian journey.

Part One –  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part One – Find Out Why Conversational Prayer is a Feast for Your Soul

Find out for yourself how conversational prayer will enrich your life.

Ever eat bland tasteless food? Me too.

Ever feel like your praying is stale, boring and lifeless? Me too.

Now,

Imagine the best mouth-watering meal you ever ate. Your taste buds come alive. You savor every bite. You feel full and satisfied, don’t you? Yum.

It was lip-smacking good, wasn’t it?

I bet you ate what was good and enjoyed the best foods. 

woman food
Yum!

Conversational Prayer is a feast for your soul.

Like eating a delicious meal, communing with God is a feast for your soul.

Very tasty!

God even says so.

Is. 55:2 “I don’t understand why you spend your money for things that don’t nourish or work so hard for what leaves you empty. Attend to Me and eat what is good; enjoy the richest, most delectable of things.

Listen closely, and come even closer. My words will give life,”

This invitation is to you. God longs for you to come closer to listen because His words will give you life and feed your soul.

God’s intention is to speak rich and delectable things to you.

Some people have trouble believing God speaks today, let alone He speaks in ways we can hear. But God is relational.

I struggled for many years, not knowing how to hear his voice. I didn’t know where to start or how to start the conversational prayer lifestyle.

I needed to change my diet of bland tasteless praying to eating the words God gave me. To my surprise, when I attended to Him and ate what was good; I enjoyed the richest, most tasty of things.

Do you find it hard to get started with conversational prayer? Ever wished you could see life from God’s perspective? Do you desire for your life of prayer to be more life-giving?

Here’s how you can start today with a two-way conversation that you only dreamed about. As you experience communion with your heavenly Father it’s like a feast for your soul.

 A mouth-watering meal enriches your body, but connecting with God enriches your soul. Conversational prayer improves the time you spend with the Father. 

 4 Aspects or ways that help your conversational prayer be more life-giving:

  • Focus
  • Listen
  • Discern and
  • Respond

1.  Focusing – the first aspect of conversational prayer

I get scattered brained sometimes so the focus aspect helps me stay more focused.

It’s important because we live in an age of distraction, don’t we?  Here’s an activity I still use today to help me focus. You don’t want your thoughts running away like a runaway train.

Believe me, this exercise seems simple but is a great solution to runaway thoughts.

A FOCUS PRACTICE to help you perk up your spiritual taste buds.

Use Psalm 27:4-8 to start with. It’s David’s poetic praise to God before he was anointed king.  It’s loaded with images that come from David’s passion to be with God and to experience His presence on a daily basis.

Picture him in the desert somewhere with his sheep. Imagine what it would be like to live in the Temple 24/7.

Sit or pace

Eating a tasty dinner is done best by relaxing and enjoying every bite, isn’t it?  God isn’t a crock pot God He’s more like a slow cooker. Smell the aroma when you lift the lid from your slow cooker. Yum.

But whether sitting or pacing find a quiet relaxing place. Next, bring back to mind an appreciation moment. (A memory that brings you joy, peace, or encouragement. It could be something spiritual but it doesn’t have to be).

A memory that has meaning for me is when I experienced the Nigra Falls for the first time. I was speechless and overwhelmed seeing the Falls, the scene is still vivid in my mind today.

Invite God to reveal Himself to you. Open your heart to His presence like a flower opens up to the bright rays of the sun.

Read the two verses from Psalm 27 below. Try to connect with the Psalmist as he longs to stay in the presence of God.

Note and write about any pictures, emotions or words that come to mind.

“Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else: I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house, finding the sweet loveliness of his face, filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. I want to live my life so close to him that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.

…’my inner being responded,’ “I’m seeking your face with all my heart.” (Psalm 27:4-8).

Like craving your favorite food David longed for God presence. Conversational prayer is desiring God’s presence like when you hunger after your best-loved food. May you live your life so close to Him that He takes pleasure in your every prayer too.

As you continue to cultivate your relationship skills with your heavenly Father:

  • Scripture comes alive.
  • You get to know God in relationship.
  • You see life more from God’s perspective.

D. Takle shares a testimony about his experience with conversational prayer.

“His love for me has become more real, more tangible than I ever thought possible. As time goes on I find I am becoming more and more dependent on what He feeds me with, so when I miss a day or two I often feel as if I’m lanqishing, starving for what He alone gives.

Now I do not mean to imply that every day brings about wholesale transformation. While there truly are moments when His insights are so beautiful that it is as if someone turned on a light in the room.

Most of the time is more like a cool drink of water, a life-giving hug from God, or a breath of fresh air.

Sometimes we sit quietly together, so I can simply enjoy His presence around me, enfolding me in His love.

And yes, I do have seasons from time to time where seeing Him is difficult and hearing Him is hard. I feel homesick and separated from my life. As in any other relationship, my heart has its own reasons for holding back or running away. 

But when I stop running and seek Him out, He is always closer than I imagined.”

Conversational prayer may feel overwhelming at first but it’s not as hard as it seems. Breaking it down into these four aspects helps you see the big picture. But starting with focusing is one small way you can start today.

Get started. Get focusing. It’ll make you feel like you’re coming even closer to your heavenly Father. 

2. Listening – the Second aspect of conversational prayer.

When I started out with conversational prayer I didn’t know what people meant by listening to God’s voice. What did they mean? Did they mean listen for an audible voice? What kind of voice did they mean?

Frustration crept in and I almost gave up on this thing called conversational prayer. I saw it everywhere in Scripture where people heard God’s voice but I was taught God doesn’t speak to people anymore today because the Scripture is complete.

So I went directly to the Holy Spirit my personal teacher and mentor. Now I was getting somewhere.

“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God”  (Rom. 8:16).

If I’m His child, wouldn’t He want to speak to me?

Yes.

What kind of Father would it be to have children but never speak to them?

I Cor. 2:13-14 reached out and captured my attention.

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Sprit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishess to him, and he cannot undersatnd them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Spirit to spirit is the way God speaks to us

How does God speak to us? From the Scriptures above the right answer is Spirit to spirit. But what does that mean? 

When I started asking the Holy Spirit questions about what He meant by Spirit to spirit, here is where it began to get interesting.

First, we looked at focusing now the Holy Spirit was teaching me what kind of listening He was talking about.

My next question to the Holy Spirit was, “How do I experience Spirit-to-spirit communication?

I’m dyslexic and a visual learner so I realized the Holy Spirit also uses spontaneous words that come into my mind, thoughts that are smarter than I am, impressions, and images.

Now I started getting excited. It was like the Holy Spirit was speaking my language. He speaks through these different ways but what was my part?

Our part in Listening

listening

Noticing – inner reactions and responses. You begin to notice what’s in your heart and mind. Gut level honesty is critical. God’s not blown away about your inner thoughts and reactions.

Verbalizing – You begin to verbalize your thoughts and impressions.

Verbalizing begins by writing or speaking out what comes to mind. (This is conversational prayer).

Verbalizing gives substance to your impressions.

Verbalizing helps you focus and use all your mind in the process.

Searching for words to capture your impressions is part of conversational prayer. Impressions aren’t always clear at first. Just like any conversation you have, sometimes you need more clarification by asking questions. It’s a two-way process, isn’t it?

“Conversation with God can also be described as active spiritual reflection, with the expectation that God will speak to us.”

Why Listening to the Word is critical to conversational prayer

Letting the Holy Spirit teach us about life in the Kingdom is life-giving. He reveals the Word and our Heart at the same time.

Listening to the Word starts by Depending on the Holy Spirit’s meaning of the Scriptures instead of my human understanding. We can’t make the Scripture mean what we what it to mean.

Listening to the Word starts by Allowing the Spirit to reveal and apply His truth.

Listening to the Word starts by Focusing on short passages or phrases in the Bible.

Scripture approached this way lets the Spirit reveal to you what you need to see and hear.

Practical Tips on How to Listen to the Word

  • Read – the passage slowly, several times. Don’t rush it.
  • Notice  – any impressions or reactions you have to a given word or phrase.
  • Ask – God what He means by each word or phrase and ask Him to show you what you need.
  • Receive – by reflecting, questioning, pondering, responding (flowing back and forth) like you’d do in any conversation with a friend.

Connecting and engaging with God has been used this way for centuries. You find people in the Bible connecting with God this way. Letting Him minister the Word to your heart is life-giving. 

Conversational prayer is anything but passive

Psalm 139 is King David’s poetic song about how God knows him and loves him completely at the same time. No matter where he goes or how far he wanders away he can never get lost.

Example – Listening to God and the Word

  1. Take a minute or two to quiet and focus. Bring to mind an appreciation moment with God.
  2. Ask God to show you His heart about the Scripture below, and listen as you read.
  3. Allow a phrase or word to capture your attention. Let it fill your mind and imagination. Ask God to reveal what He wants you to see in the word or phrase.
  4. Write down feelings and impressions that come to mind.

It’s not how fast you can go, but knowing that God is with you and will join you in this process. It’s not a sprint but a leisurely walk with God like Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.

Psalm 139 (excerpts)

“Lord, you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.

You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.

This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength

It’s impossible to disappear from you or to ask the darkness to hide me, for your presence is everywhere, bringing light into my night.

You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.

I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!

God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through;

find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.

See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways—the path that brings me back to you.” The Passion Translation

Listening to the word is reading for transformation, not for information. Simply be with God, rest in the one of a kind, affectionate love that God has for you.

David’s testimony about conversational prayer.

David says, “I’m remembering today how I used to have a kind of love-hate experience in reading the Bible. I know it was supposed to be important – I even taught a class once on how much we needed to read the Bible.

But the truth was I would often go weeks at a time without picking one up. Sometimes I would have to dust it off before I opened it. Of course, I would feel ashamed of myself for having neglected the whole project and tell myself over and over I needed to read it more.

And for a time I would keep at it, only to drift away after a while, and then the whole cycle would repeat itself.

I never did understand why something so inherently valuable could be so dry and tasteless so much of the time. Honestly, reading the Bible usually felt more like doing homework than feeding my soul.

Then I heard about how to listen to the Word and how to be taught by the Spirit of God instead of trying to analyze the text on my own. The difference was amazing.

What life. What food for my soul. Words came alive and jumped off the page and penetrated my heart! Passages I had read a hundred times before rang true in my soul as if I had never heard them before.”

Today you can begin a two-way conversation that you only dreamed about.

Directly connecting with God can feed your soul, renew your mind, and transform your life.

In summary:

4 Aspects or ways that help your conversational prayer be more life-giving is by:

  • Focusing
  • Listening
  • Discerning and
  • Responding

I’ve covered the focusing and listening aspects of conversational prayer here. Go to part two for Discerning and Responding.

 

 

4 Tips on How You Can Develop a Conversational Prayer Life

How you can begin your Conversational Prayer Life today.

What if…

God could mentor you about the concerns of your life?

The Holy Spirit could teach you the Scriptures and make them come alive?

What if you could have a strong conversational prayer life with God as you read in the Bible?

You can.

Because God still speaks!

Once I developed a conversational prayer life, I found there’re four parts.  The four different aspects are:

  1. Focusing
  2. Listening
  3. Discerning and
  4. Responding

I still remember the day I said, people in the Bible heard God speak. I read story after story about Jesus speaking to people, the Holy Spirit leading people. But God, I want to hear you speak to me not read about how you spoke to people years ago.

Conversational prayer includes four parts and the first aspect is what I call focus. Praying this way is a lot like any conversation. You’ve got to quiet your thoughts and focus on what the other person is saying, don’t you?

“Conversational prayer is an excellent approach to Christian transformation.  Engaging with God as the process for lasting change–not just performing Christian disciplines,” says Jeff.

Focusing and quieting was new for me. Once I got the hang of it I wouldn’t go back to my old way (rushing through my prayer time).”

Quieting and focusing is critical to conversational prayer

Come to God. Trust Him and expect to hear Him speak. Focus on Him and cut down the inner noise.

  • Quiet your mind and let go of stress. 
  • Open up to Him like a flower opens up to the sun. 
  • Ask God to unveil Himself to you. (Not a dramatic event but increasing awareness of His presence. 
  • Look for Him with your heart (inquiring, seeking, longing.) 
  • Don’t be passive, you’re engaging the God of the universe.

What helps me quiet may help you as well. These methods include:

—-> Remove distractions (turn your cell phone off, go to a quiet room and shut the door). 

—-> Have paper for notes. 

—-> Relax (take a couple of deep breaths, or stretch to reduce stress). 

—-> Listen to music (instrumental music works best).

 —-> Pacing helps some instead of sitting.

God’s intention is to speak to His children

It all started in the Garden of Eden with Adman and Eve.

(Ps. 29:3-4) “The voice of the Lord echoes through the skies and seas …  So powerful is his voice, so brilliant and bright, how majestic as he thunders over the great waters!”

(Is. 55) “Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good … Incline your ear … listen, so that you may live … so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose …”

(Mat. 4:4) He answered, “The Scriptures say: Bread alone will not satisfy, but true life is found in every word which constantly goes forth from God’s mouth.”

(John 5:25) “I speak to you eternal truth: Soon the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who listen will arise with life!”

(6:45) Jesus continued, “It has been written by the prophets, ‘They will all be taught by God himself.’  If you are really listening to the Father and learning directly from him, you will come to me.