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.

 

 

 

 

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.
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“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.

 

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

Conversational Prayer (because Faith Comes by Hearing and Hearing by the Word of God.

Find out why believing in the Biblical sense always means obeying (acting) upon the revealed will and plan of God.

What’s faith got to do with it?

Conversational Prayer that is.

First, I want to give you an example showing what biblical faith means. Then I will unpack these verses.

Noah received some information (details) from God concerning the flood. He received this information well before God’s judgment of this world with water. This information also contained Noah’s part in God’s future plan for the flood.

By faith Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…”, Hebrews 11:6.

Let’s ask some questions.

Did Noah know what was coming upon the earth before the flood came? Yes, he did.

Did Noah know what God wanted him to do before the flood came? Yes, he did.

Noah had advance information from God. This information, in the form of a warning, allowed Noah to know in advance exactly what God wanted him to do as God prepared to carry out His plan of world destruction by water.   

What, then, did Noah do?

He acted upon the information God gave him.  He prepared an ark and his acting or his preparing the ark makes it clear that he believed God’s word. And by his acting, he “became heir of the righteousness which is by faith”, Hebrews 11:6.

Take Abraham. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out…”, Hebrews 11:8.

Did Abraham receive advance information from God concerning a place he was to inherit before he went out? Yes, he did.

Did Abraham know beforehand what he was to do about it? Yes, he did.

This advance information became his faith. Faith is a noun. It is something you
have. Next Abraham acted upon that information. He obeyed. He went out. Going out showed he believed God word. The information God gave him to act upon.

Believing in the Biblical sense always means obeying (acting) upon the revealed will and plan of God. Faith is information that you receive from God. Believing is always acting upon that information. Abraham knew beforehand about the place of inheritance. His
going out was his believing the information.

Look Moses’ parents. “By faith Moses’, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a proper child, and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment”, Hebrews 11:23.

Did Moses’ parents have advance information about the future of their child? Yes, they did.

What did they see? They “saw he was a proper child”.

What did they do about the details God gave them about Moses? They acted upon it in two ways. They hid him for the space of three months. Then, they overcame their
fear of the king’s commandment to kill the boy babies in the land.

Their hiding and overcoming their fear was their believing. Faith is a noun. It is
something you have. Moses’ parents received information from God about Moses. Believing is a verb. It is something you do with the information you receive from God.
How do you receive this information? In the three examples above, they got the advance information from God in three ways.

  • Noah was warned,
  • Abraham was called
  • and Moses’ parents saw something.

But, in our age, advance information from God comes to us in two ways. First, we get
information from God in scripture.

Second, we get information from God directly into our spirit.  This information which comes directly into our spirit may take the form of a warning, calling and seeing like the above. It may come as a knowing or an awareness. 

This information can come in dreams, or pictures in your mind or by an inner impression. For instance, suppose you own your own business and you sense a calling of God on your life.

But are more concerned about being in the will of God than owning your own business? In other words, you would like to have your own business but only if you could know that it is the will of God for your life.

Since there is no verse anywhere in the Bible which states that “thou shall quit your business and go to Bible school.” How do you know for sure which one to go with?

Here’s where Conversational Prayer shines. You simply lay the matter out before the Lord and then get quiet and listen. The Lord then speaks to your spirit what His will is concerning your job situation. The answer may not come all at once. As you talk this over with God it will become clearer which road to take.

And, when he is done speaking, there will be a perfect peace in your spirit about the course of action on your part that is His will for your life. But there will be a feeling of anxiety and unrest concerning the course of action that is not his will for your life.

This is exactly what happened to my husband Dick in 1976. He had his own sign painting business and it was doing very well financially. God began speaking to him about going into full-time ministry. Was he to close down his business? Was this really God speaking to him? There was no Scripture saying, “Dick close down your business and go to Bible School.”

He began talking to God about what he sensed. His sign painting business was his baby, something he dreamed about having someday. Now here he was with a dilemma on his hands. Painting signs brought him joy. But something began to change. Where he had peace and joy in a job he loved he now experienced frustration.

He goes back to the Father and says, “I don’t understand what’s going on in my life. Why this frustration? Why this uneasiness?” To make a long story short as he entered into Conversational Prayer God gave him advance information about how to close down his business and where he was to go to Bible school. 

When he began to take steps to close his business down peace flooded his soul. Where there was frustration before now peace was reigning.  Dick demonstrated his believing by acting on what God spoke to him. 

A Strong Word of Warning

The Holy Spirit never contradicts the written word of God. The Spirit of God will never give you information for you to act upon that contradicts the scriptures.  

When you are seeking direction from God and the information you receive contradicts the plain sense of scripture, the source of that information is demonic, not holy.  

Keep in mind that faith is information that we receive from God, (and doesn’t in any way deny the plain sense of the scriptures), that we are to act upon.  

Explanation of Hebrews 11:1

When I began to see what biblical faith was Hebrews 11:1 made sense. 

Hebrews 11:1,  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”.

We can’t make faith mean what we want it to mean. We want the Holy Spirit’s meaning, don’t we?  

The word “substance” is the Greek word HUPOSTASIS,  and is a combination of two Greek words. The first word in this combination is the Greek preposition “under”. The second word in this combination is the Greek word meaning “to stand”.

The combined word means “to stand under”. Putting it all together the expanded verse reads like this:

“Now the information that we receive from God that we are to act upon stands under, as a foundation, the things we hope for and this foundation becomes our evidence for things we cannot see with our physical eyes yet.”

I leaped for joy. Now biblical faith made sense to me.

The information we receive from God becomes the foundation and this foundation becomes our evidence for things we cannot see with our physical eyes yet. 

When I’m sensitive to hear His voice, without fail I’m able to stand, because I have His sure word, even when I don’t see it yet.

In 1997 I became ill and lying flat on my back and not moving was the only thing that brought relief. I saw different doctors and they couldn’t come up with a proper diagnosis. I was getting worse by the day and desperate to find out what was wrong with me.

As time went on, I cried out to the Lord for help. I’m a simple person so God doesn’t talk to me like He would a person who has a Ph.D. The only the phrase that kept coming to me was, “They don’t have a clue.” That wasn’t very encouraging. But it was advance information.

The last doctor I saw did a procedure that was to make me all better but in the end, only made things worse. The problem was I had a cyst in my liver, with five different chambers and was as big as a basketball that kept filling up with fluid.

The last time I saw that doctor was for him to say, “Cindy, you’re beyond our ability to help. Here’s a card with the number of the University of Pittsburgh Hospital. Call and make an appointment with the head liver surgeon.”

And so I did. 

“When he said you’re beyond our ability to help.” God’s advance information to me was, “They’re clueless.” Even though I was standing under God’s advance information by that time, I still didn’t have all the information of where to go for help, until the Doctor handed me the card with the number of the University of Pittsburgh Hospital.

I didn’t find out until later, the University of Pittsburgh Hospital is the best hospital in the world for liver surgery. I always say, “Father knows best listen to Him.”

Finally, I use Isaiah 55:1-3 often when explaining conversational Prayer. Most commentaries you read say these verses deal with salvation, (becoming a Christian). They do include that but there’s much more revealed in those three verses than just salvation.

I took the writers of those commentaries at their word until the Holy Spirit began opening my understanding to what Biblical faith means.

The basic definition of faith is the information that you receive from God for you to act upon.

This information allows you to know in advance what God is going to do in the
future concerning a given issue or course of action. In Conversational Prayer, this is exactly what happens.

As you interact with God through conversation He may give information that allows you to know what you are to do in a particular issue.

Faith is a noun. It’s information – details He shares with you. It is something you have. Believe is a verb. It is something you do. You get a set of instructions or information
from God which becomes your faith and then you act upon that information.

That way it says in the bible, “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.”

Your acting is your believing. You do not believe in the Biblical sense without acting on your faith. That’s why James says, “Without works faith is dead.”

I’m sure you can give examples of when God spoke to you and you acted on that information.

Conversational Prayer is about hearing His voice and acting on the information He gives you. It’s a feast for your Soul.

 

 

Listening Prayer (because You can Hear God Through His Thoughts

In this post, we’ll see how God shares His thoughts with you.

When you talk to God, do you ever feel like He’s not getting through to you?

When I was a young Christian I heard other Christians say God talked to them. I thought, what do they mean – does He talk to them audibly

If He’s talking to you will you know it when it happens?

In this post, I’ll show how God shares His thoughts with you.

  • by tuning in with God
  • by thinking God’s thoughts
  • by Knowing how you can tell if it’s God’s thoughts

Tuning with God

Did you ever talk to a friend and notice they’ve tuned you out? Glazed over eyes are a dead give away they’ve stopped listening. It’s like they’ve lost connection or like a dropped telephone call. You’re talking but your thoughts aren’t reaching they’re brain.  Many times God is speaking but we’ve tuned Him out – we’ve lost connection.

Don’t beat yourself up and don’t feel guilty because you’re not hearing God’s thoughts. His thoughts are coming through and knowing how to tune in to God’s thoughts is key.

“But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with Him in spirit.” (I Corinthians 6:17)

Tuning in to God’s thoughts is one of the most common ways he communicates with you. You are joined Spirit to spirit with Him and He lets you in on what He’s thinking. God is relational and wants to talk with you. 

Conversational Prayer is hearing what’s on God’s mind. For two years I prayed for my husband Dick. I asked God to save him so he’d stop embarrassing the family. I said God change him. Nothing changed. Nano, zilch, nothing!

Dick got worse and I got more frustrated with God. I mean, I was talking to God but why didn’t He answer my prayer?

But one day this thought went through my mind, ask me to save Dick for my honor and glory. I thought, what a great idea, I never thought of that. Where do you think that thought came from?

I wanted Dick to stop embarrassing the family but God wanted a preacher. I repented (changed the way I was praying). God gave me advance information on how to pray for my husband and He answered my prayer.

I prayed two weeks after I received the advance information and Dick had a Damascus road experience with Jesus that forever changed his life. And a year later God called him into full-time ministry. Today is 2019 and Dick is still going strong.

On a side note. Intercession is praying for others and I thought I was doing that when I first started praying for my husband. I didn’t know then what I know today about praying for others.

When the Holy Spirit burdens you to pray about something on the Father’s heart, you find yourself coming into agreement with God’s intention for that person. Once I repented of my selfish way of praying for Dick  – that’s when God’s thoughts came into my mind. 

When the Holy Spirit burdens an individual to pray about something that is on God’s heart, you can be sure God will answer that prayer. For New Testament believers, intercession is a normal supernatural reality.

God’s purpose is for us to abide in Him, even as he abides in us.

“The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” (I John 2:27)

God doesn’t want you groping in dark He wants you to hear His voice. Conversational Prayer is like breathing –  you’re not always thinking about breathing, but you are always doing it, aren’t you?

You are special.  As your awareness grows of Him in you and you in Him by the Holy Spirit—always in His presence, and filled with joy, you begin to see how special you are.  It’s just a part of Conversational Prayer. You are one of those special people

(We) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people. (I Peter 2:9a)

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. (II Corinthians 5:17a)

You’re a new creation, special to God and privileged with the potential to hear God’s voice for yourself. 

Conversational Prayer is hearing what’s on God’s mind.

God shared His thoughts with me about Dick and I was obedient and smart enough to act on His information. Actually, He even told me what to ask for.  

Before that, I groped in the dark because I didn’t have God’s mind about how to pray for Dick. I prayed soulish prayers but God had something else in mind. Once I had His thoughts, I was confident and knew God would answer my prayer.  

I use to think God could only speak to me during my morning devotions but if Conversational Prayer is hearing what’s on God’s mind, He can speak any time and anywhere. 

You don’t need to be connected to a special person, a special time, or a special place! When God downloaded His thoughts to me, I was standing at the kitchen sink,  washing dirty dishes – it blew my mind.

I wasn’t sitting in my prayer closet begging God to save Dick for His honor and glory. I was at the sink washing dishes when the thought, ask me to save Dick for my honor and glory, went through my mind.

God’s thoughts didn’t come from my pastor; it didn’t come during my devotions, and I wasn’t in the church building.

Thinking God’s thoughts

Hearing God’s thoughts is one of the most common ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us. God can download His thoughts into your daily life anytime He wants to because you have the mind of Christ.

“But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.

But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him].

For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart.”
(I Corinthians 2:14-16 Amplified Bible) 

One reason some Christians don’t hear God’s thoughts is they’re not spiritual – they’re nonspiritual. The nonspiritual man doesn’t know he can receive God’s thoughts any time day or night. He knows he’s going to heaven when he dies but in the meantime, he’s hearing impaired.

Has someone ever come to your mind you hadn’t thought about in a long time? But today for some reason, you can’t stop thinking about them, and you find out that they are in the hospital. You heard what was on God’s mind for this person. They needed prayer and God tapped you on the shoulder so to speak and gave you the gift of the word of knowledge. It came in the form of thoughts.

My marriage is a good example of hearing God’s thoughts. Dick may start out talking about an issue and a thought goes through my mind. I talk to him about the thought I just had and we come to realize our thoughts are synchronized with God’s thoughts.

I believe hearing what’s on God’s mind is more common than we realize. We need to know this is one way the Holy Spirit communicates with us and it comes so naturally, we miss it.

Is it God’s thoughts?

A strong warning is in order here. Not all thoughts that come into your mind are from God. A good idea may be good but is it God’s idea? I’m learning that God’s thoughts are smarter and wiser than me.

A thought from God is not part of your thinking process. Remember how I started out praying for Dick? God save Dick so he won’t embarrass the family any longer. That was my human thought coming out of my human reasoning. But when God downloads His thoughts into your mind they have nothing to do with your thoughts.

You may see someone in a store who reminds you of a friend. That’s normal and part of the human thinking process. But when God speaks He can download His thoughts while you’re washing the dishes or mowing the grass. One minute your focus is on washing the dirty dishes the next thing you know God downloads a thought in your mind.

The devil, on the other hand, can work through our human thoughts too. His thoughts bring confusion, unrest, worry, and anxiety. He will rob you of your peace if he can so we need to draw our strength and might from God.

The devils’ thoughts come as reasonings, speculations, and imaginations. I had reasoned within myself that my life would be better if only Dick would change.  Do you see the lie in thinking this way? I imagined I didn’t have to change because it was Dick who had the problem. 

Every one of us has been tormented by the devils’ thoughts at one time or another. Yet it was God who designed our bodies with the ability to hear what’s on His mind. Awesome isn’t it?

Finally, Jesus is the pattern Son because He shows us what it means to hear what’s on God’s mind. 

“I can do nothing ·alone [by myself; on my own initiative]. I judge ·only the way I am told [as I hear], so my judgment is ·fair [just; right; righteous]. I don’t ·try to please myself [seek my own will/desire], but ·I try to please [the will of]the One who sent me.” (John 5:30 The Expanded Bible)

I love how the Expanded translation captures what listening prayer is. Jesus lived His life knowing the Father’s thoughts and so can you.

 

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

Conversational Prayer (and How Faith Figures In

Is faith a ‘leap in the dark?”

Or, is faith “blind?”

Biblical faith is none of those.

Do you find all the definitions of faith being spouted from the culture and pulpits confusing?

Who do you believe and who is trustworthy?   

Is faith a ‘leap in the dark?”

Or, is faith “blind?”

Biblical faith is none of those.

In this post, I’ll show you:

  • What it means to Live by Faith
  • What walking after the flesh means
  • The true meaning of Hebrews 11:6
  • How doing it God’s way reaps benefits

 

listen-to-the-word-of-god

What It Means To “Live By Faith”

Romans 1:17 declares,

“The just shall live by faith.”

In addition,

Hebrews 10:38 declares,

“The just shall live by faith.”

Remember from the last post I gave the definition of faith. It’s information we receive from God that we must act upon. Using the definition you can read the verse this way,

“The just shall live by faith (the information you receive from God) for you to act upon.”

Every word in the Bible is important even the little word “by.” My dictionary didn’t help much so I searched the Greek.

The just shall live by faith. Holy Spirit what does “by” faith mean. Ever since I’ve grown more in Conversational Prayer I ask the Holy Spirit more questions. I don’t want to make any word in the Bible mean what I want it to mean – I want to know the Holy Spirit’s meaning.

What does the word “by faith ” in these two verses mean? In Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary ek is a “primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence motion or action proceeds), from, out of.”

 “Ek is always used with the Ablative case which, as noted before. describes the “origin” or “source” of something.”

Not until I plugged in the expanded version of the two verses did it begin to make sense. Put together, the above two verses would read, “The just shall live ‘out of’ the advance information they receive from God that they are to act upon”.

It’s clear now that prayer is more than a monolog (me doing all the talking). It’s a dialog between me and God.

The advance information that you receive from God must be the source of your living. Your faith must be the origin of everything you do.  Isaiah 55:1-3 declares,

“If you are thirsty, come here; come, there’s water for all. Whoever is poor and penniless can still come and buy the food I sell.
    

“There’s no cost—here, have some food, hearty and delicious, and beverages, pure and good.

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, for I will make a covenant with you that cannot be broken, a promise of My enduring presence and support like I gave to David” (Isaiah 55:1-3).

Isaiah 55:1-3 has the definition of faith written all over it, doesn’t it? “Listen closely, and come even closer. My words will give life. . .” Sounds like Conversational Prayer to me.

 

the-phony-christian-walk-minds-the-flesh

What “walking after the flesh” means

But in Romans 8 Paul uses the expressions “walking after the flesh” and “walking after the Spirit,” What does he mean by “walking after the flesh” and “walking after the Spirit”?

“Walking after the flesh” means doing your own thing, your own way without depending on God.

Charting your own course is independent of God. Making your own plans and carrying them out is “walking after the flesh.”  Following your own desires and ambitions is “walking after the flesh” because God’s never consulted. He’s completely on the sidelines of our life.

“Walking after the flesh” is living your life as though God had no claim on it at all.  Some Christians live as though God wound them up like a clock at the moment of their salvation and left them to unwind by themselves.

“Walking after the flesh,” in a nutshell, means to live your life independent of God, even though you are saved. No wonder Paul calls Christians carnal who live this way.

When we “walk after the flesh” that makes us fleshly Christians.

The conclusion is there’s a difference between the way an unsaved person lives his life and the way a carnal Christian lives his life.

The carnal Christian doesn’t base his life upon advance information from God.

Conversational Prayer is a waste of time to him. Don’t get me wrong, the carnal Christian tries to keep the Ten Commandments.  In addition, he thinks he’s able to get God to come into agreement with him and bless what he does as long as God’s not mad with him by breaking any of the Ten Commandments.

But Paul is clear when he said, “The just shall live out of the advance information.” Paul is also clear about “Whatever is not of faith is sin,” (Romans 14:23).

“The word “of” is in Romans 14:23 too. It’s the same Greek preposition in Romans 1:17 and Hebrews 10:38 that I mentioned earlier.  The Greek preposition ek still means “out of” and still points to implies “source” and “origin”.

Paul’s clear, whatever does not start with advance information from God is sin. To expect God to bless sin is foolish. Yet, this is exactly what the carnal Christian does because he doesn’t depend on God’s advance information. 

The carnal Christian thinks he’s the master of his fate, the captain of his soul and Conversational Prayer (living out of the advance information God gives you to act upon) doesn’t make any sense to him.

I lived that way for years thinking I was the master of my fate, the captain of my soul. Stinking pride captures this way of thinking. It was a lie I believed – a stronghold of my mind.

Sure, I depended self-effort because some of the things I did looked good on the outside. I could go only so far because the arm of flesh let me down. Sooner or later, your natural abilities will fail you. Somewhere down the road of life, you will come up against something that the arm of the flesh cannot provide.

When the Doctor tells you, you have cancer what will you do then? How will you solve the problem then?  The answer, of course, is that you will not solve or get rid of it. My doctor told me in 2011, “You have fast-growing breast cancer.” That’s a story for another post.

hebrews 11_6

The True Meaning of Hebrews 11:6

Now we can fully understand Hebrews 11:6 which states,

“But without faith it is impossible to please him for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him!”

 Look at the word “without” in the verse above.  The Greek word KORIS means “apart from” or “detached from.”

Next, look at the word “impossible.” This translates ADUNATON which combines the Greek negative with DUNAMIS, the Greek word for power.

(Our English word “dynamite” comes from this word.) The combination means
“no power”. In other words, anything, any course of action that is apart from or detached from faith (advance information received from God) has no power to please God. Wow.

The carnal Christian tries to throw God a few good works here and there to satisfy God as the carnal Christian does his own thing. There’s “no power” in good works or anything else when they are disconnected from advance information received from God. No power. No enabling grace.

It’s silly to try to buy God off with a few good works along the way because the only thing that has the power to please God is walking out his advance information that He gives you.

Next, look at the word “must.” The Greek impersonal verb dei means “necessity”. Next, look at the word “believe”. Remember “believe” means acting (obeying) on the advance information that God gives you. Put the words together,  and you see it is positively necessary that you “act” on two things.

First, you must act on the fact that God is. If God is, why wouldn’t you want to listen to his voice? Good question.

Second, you must act on the fact that he not only is, but also that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. Notice the word “rewarder.” “Rewarder” translates three Greek words combined into one. The first is a word meaning “to give.”

The second Greek word means “back.” The third Greek word means “wages.”
“Rewarder” now, means “to give back wages.”

Finally, we act on the fact that God is by our coming to him. Remember Isaiah 55.

“Listen closely, and come even closer. My words will give life, for I will make a covenant with you that cannot be broken, a promise of My enduring presence and support like I gave to David”

We wouldn’t come to a non-existent God or any thing else for that matter. Next, we act on the fact that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. Acting on these two things pleases God.  

Disconnected from the information God gives us, there is no power in anything we do that pleases him. Acting on these two things causes the blessings to come your way in the form of wages that God gives us back. Conversational Prayer is coming close to Him, to hear His words that give life instead of doing our own thing.

 

Gods-way-is-the-best

Do it God’s way and reap the benefits. 

 Finally, living your life detached from this information God gives you absolutely has no power to please God. Neither does it guarantee a successful outcome to anything you do.  

But when you listen closely and come even closer to your heavenly Father His words will give life. You have the promise of God’s enduring presence and support like He gave to David.