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

In this post, I’ll show you,

Why listening to God is crucial

Why knowing the real God is important and more.

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.

 

 

 

 

A Little Reminder of Who You Are!

Don’t forget you’re who JESUS says you are.

How to remind customers who have unpaid order in WooCommerce

Jesus knows you better than what you know yourself!

This was posted on my facebook page this morning.

“You might have every reason to think you are just Simon, the son of Jonah until Jesus reveals you to be Peter, the Rock, the chip of the old block!
“I say you are….”

The gospel introduces you to you!

We have forgotten what manner of man we are!

The ends of the earth shall remember and return to the Lord. ❤️

Paul says it so powerfully in 1 Cor 13:12, “then we will know, even as we’ve always been known!”

Conversational Prayer (and Why We Struggle to Hear God’s Voice).

Adam McHugh tackles why we still struggle to hear God’s voice.

Do you struggle to hear God’s voice?

One thing I do know is God is a communicator but sometimes I struggle to hear His voice.

Adam McHugh’s article below tackles that question. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
___________________________________

“If God is in the business of communicating with his people, and his voice has certain distinguishable properties, why do we still struggle to hear it?

In some cases, it is simply a lack of training. Dallas Willard believes that many people regularly hear from God but don’t actually know it.

His voice enters as a thought or an impression on their consciousness, and they respond to it yet do not ascribe the inner voice to its proper source.

As incredible as that sounds, as I reflect on the voices I have listened to in times of critical decision, I think I agree with him.

There have been many occasions in which I wrestled and listed the pros and cons and sought counsel, yet attained no clarity whatsoever until a moment in which I suddenly knew what to do.

The inspiration would often flash when I was in a detached state of mind, not even thinking about the issue at hand.

It was as though the thought did not originate with my mind, as if the decision just happened to me There are other causes of our inability to hear and identify God’s voice.

One paradox that emerges in this discussion is this: we may not hear from God because our lives are too loud. Or, we may not hear from God because our lives are too quiet.

Too loud

You can only hear it in the quietest hour of the night. During the day, as you move and talk and eat, it is constant but imperceptible.

But when you put the side of your head on your pillow and let your breathing slow as you fall into unconsciousness, you may hear it: the tiny, rhythmic pulsation of your heart beating blood into your body, a pounding whisper that keeps you alive even when you’re asleep.

When God’s voice creeps upon us like a heartbeat in the dark, it is often referred to in our tradition as “the still, small voice.”

God speaks in many ways and even occasionally shouts, but the testimony of countless believers throughout the ages has emphasized the still, small voice as one the most important ways God speaks to us.

The Quakers call this voice “the inner teacher.” Others have called it the inner word or the inner voice, received by the inner ear. John Calvin called it “the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit.”

Dallas Willard describes it as a direct impression on a person’s consciousness, usually expressed as a thought, with a certain force and weight, occurring in a person’s mind.

The phrase “still, small voice” comes from the King James Version’s rendering of “the sheer silence” in the Elijah story, an interpretation that isn’t the best translation of the Hebrew but that does represent well the nature of God’s communications with us.

The sovereign King of the universe, to our surprise, does not often trumpet his message to his subjects. God’s volume knob is rarely turned all the way to the right; his voice in our ears is subtle, restrained, even easy to miss.

Why would God speak so softly in a world that so often needs a blaring wake-up call? I have to conclude that God’s speech patterns indicate how important he considers our listening.

If God shouted, listening would not be required, but a whisper forces us to pay attention and to strain to hear his voice.

A whispered message assumes that the listener is in proximity to the speaker. The closeness required by a whisper requires that we are in close relationship with the Lord, aware of his presence and walking with him, poised to do what he says. God’s hushed tones also necessitate that we are quiet and still enough to recognize him.

  1. Eliot said it well: “Where shall the word be found, where will the word resound? Not here, there is not enough silence.”
  2. One of the questions I have wrestled with is, why does it seem like the figures in biblical stories hear from God so much more than we do?

Is it a matter of worldview? Did the ancients attribute everything in the natural
world to the influence of the heavens because of a pre-scientific worldview? The heavens seemed to speak so fluently then.

Thunder expressed the anger of the gods. A good harvest revealed God’s pleasure. I expect that differing worldviews do play a part. I wonder, though, if God’s relative silence in our day can be traced to another source.

Perhaps our ancestors didn’t have the same luxury of distraction. Their inability to escape into television or the Internet, their relatively few choices for entertainment, the lack of electrifying stimuli, their agrarian labors that stopped at sundown, their slow pace of life, and the quiet of a preindustrial night might have helped draw their attention to the heavens. The stars are much brighter when you’re not looking at them through lights and smog.

A loud, overcrowded, hyperactive life is the antithesis of the listening life. The hyperactive life is so often trying to prove its worth, make its mark and justify its existence. The listening life waits, quietly and humbly, for God to make his mark on us.

John Coltrane, the legendary jazz saxophonist, made his mark on the jazz world by improvising at breakneck speed.

No one had ever seen a musician who could play and move his fingers so feverishly. Soon he was playing gigs with the superstars of his day and changing the way people understood the genre.

Unfortunately, much of the frenzy that marked Coltrane’s style was the result of the substances in his system.

In 1957, his system ravaged by drugs and alcohol, and his career and life on the brink of collapse, Coltrane went to his mother’s house and sought God in the quiet of his room.

According to pastor and jazz aficionado Robert Gelinas, “Four days later, he emerged a changed man, for—according to him—God had met him in a most unusual way. It was a sound, a droning resonance, a reverberation, unlike anything he had ever heard.” God’s presence had come to John Coltrane as a sound.

Not only did this divine groove change his life, it changed the way he played. The frantic improvisation was replaced by a slow, soulful style, in which Coltrane listened for the God sound to come again and tried to replicate it on his sax.

Gelinas explains that “he came to believe that if he could play that sound for others, then they, too, could experience what he had experienced during those four days in his bedroom.

For the rest of his life, Coltrane sought to find that music that had healed him, and while he was never able to rediscover it, he recorded one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, A Love Supreme, during this musical pilgrimage.”

The four parts of A Love Supreme follow a pilgrim on his journey toward God:

  1. “Acknowledgement”—The recognition of God
  2. “Resolution”—Commitment to seek God
  3. “Pursuance”—The journey toward God
  4.  “Psalm”—Celebration of the discovery of God

John Coltrane discovered that listening to God required a slow movement and a quiet search. In our pursuit of God, we may discover that a hectic pace of life, while having all the marks of success and productivity, is too loud with the sound of our own voice.

Like Coltrane, we may have to retreat into the quiet of our rooms and into slower rhythms in order to truly listen.

Too quiet

The claim that God’s voice cannot be heard among the clamor of modern life is a common one. But I have also come to realize that there is a life that is too quiet to hear God’s voice.

This is because God’s communications are not haphazard. The Holy Spirit, it turns out, is not a hapless talk show host nattering about everything under the sun, hoping that a few people will tune into the right frequency.

Instead, God’s word comes most often to a certain kind of person seeking to lead a certain kind of life.

Dallas Willard puts it this way: “Our union with God . . . consists chiefly in a conversational relationship with God while we are each consistently and deeply engaged as his friend and co-laborer in the affairs of the kingdom of the heavens.

As much as I enjoy the idea of sitting with God on a porch swing, sipping lemonade and chatting about the weather, the better image may be a soldier in the heat of battle, in constant communication with his commanding officer.

The soldier doesn’t just want to hear from his superior, he needs to. He is in over his head, seeking to complete the mission he has been given, in urgent need of guidance and support. As Eric Metaxas put it: “When God speaks to you, you know you’re going to need
it.”

God’s Language is Faith, Hope, and Love

God does not speak in an arbitrary language to whomever happens to be listening at the time. God’s language is faith, hope, and love.

If we are seeking to lead a life marked by believing, hoping and loving, moving with the Lord in his mission and work, then we can have the expectation that the Lord will speak to us and give us what we need.

On the other hand, if we sit still and refuse to act until we are explicitly told to act, we may be waiting for a very long time.

Sometimes our cell phones have no signal in the shelter of our homes and we need to get out and move in order to get reception.

I’m also convinced that listening to God is not unlike writing: if I were to wait to write until inspiration struck, I would write practically nothing.

But if I chain myself to my desk every morning at 8:00 a.m. and start typing something—anything—inspiration has a way of unexpectedly pulling up a chair.

If we act on what we know, maintaining a posture of listening, the One who is with us until the end of the age will come. And when he does speak with us, we must be prepared to act on it.

Karl Barth said that the best way to test the authenticity of a communication from God is to act on it and see what happens.”

I would love to hear your comments.

 

I’m Praying for You

parying for you today2

You’ve got so much potential. I’m asking God to help you be aware of that. I’m sure He will show you. and give you enabling grace to carry out whatever it is He’s called you to.

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NKJV)

“A possibility is a hint from God.” -Soren Kierkegaard

Pass it on!

Be Encouraged Today!

May you hear His voice for yourself more clearly than ever before.

Be Encouraged

Image may contain: text that says 'Heavenly Father, Please speak to me in a way that understand. Teach me to recognize Your voice and when You are speaking. Teach me to hear Your Holy Spirit myself and protect me from deception. Please guide me into all that You have in store. In Jesus' name I pray, rejoice and say, Amen.'
Be Encouraged

Do You Find it Hard to Pray Effectively?

Find out the secrets to praying effectively.

Find out Stephen Crosby’s secrets to effective prayer.

I love Stephen Crosby’s secrets to effective prayer. Also Check out his blog at www.stevecrosby.org. 

Stephen Crosby posted this on Facebook this morning so I’m passing it on to you.

“So, 44 years and counting of being a follower of Jesus and I think I finally have prayer figured out. Here are my secrets. I start with this:

1. I don’t understand. 
2. I don’t know how to pray. 
3. Holy Spirit, spirit of prayer, pray through me and teach me to pray.

After I am finished with that then I go to:

1. I don’t understand. 
2. I don’t know how to pray. 
3. Holy Spirit, spirit of prayer, pray through me and teach me to pray.

After hitting that “level” I go to:

1. I don’t understand. 
2. I don’t know how to pray. 
3. Holy Spirit, spirit of prayer, pray through me and teach me to pray.

And then when I am finishing I go to:

1. I don’t understand. 
2. I don’t know how to pray. 
3. Holy Spirit, spirit of prayer, pray through me and teach me to pray.

There. Ain’t that ‘revelatory” – -(sarcasm alert!!)

For those who cannot tell, that is really how I pray these days, but I am having some fun at the expense of purveyors of “secret spiritual techniques” and some of the similar kinds of nonsense and spiritual gymnastics we often go through.”

I respect Stephen Crosby – he’s a man of wisdom. Not only wisdom but honesty to boot.

Comments followed after he posted on Facebook:

” I often add “save me from myself!”
Stephen Crosby – “Oh yeah, pray that all the time . . .should have had that #4!”

” My problem seems to be that I’ve just recently learned to pray without ORDERING God to do things my way. David E Fredrickson provided a clue last year when he wrote the post about being honest (painfully, I mean) with God. But a lot if it is also what you just said!”

“Wow! I thought something was wrong with me. My prayer life has Shifted…I literally do not know how to pray anymore!
It’s like I have forgotten”

“I keep it simple.. just praying in tongues (and so now and then with my mind)…”

“So… you don’t ask God to find you a parking place or help you find your phone? NO… seriously… I love this post. I don’t know how to pray either, so I just talk to Father while I’m driving or cooking or watching the birds at the bird feeders. I love the Thomas Merton prayer… the idea that I don’t know how to “please God”, but that God is pleased that I simply desire to please Him. He is pleased with you, Stephen. I’m certain of that.”

“My favorite and sometimes only prayer for a situation is…”Jesus, live your life through me!”

I loved his secrets, I could identify, can you?