Lots of folks tell me they wish they could hear from God better. They want more from prayer than a one-way dialogue, but they don’t always know how to tune in to His part of the conversation. Because learning to hear from God is key to engaging God in prayer and enjoying Him in relationship, I always encourage however I can.
There’s obviously much to be said about listening to God. Developing discernment, dealing with common obstacles, and understanding the manner in which God speaks (and doesn’t speak), are all important if we are to hear from God with clarity and confidence. However, many of us make it far more complicated than it needs to be.
I led a prayer retreat this past weekend for a group of people, several of whom had not had regular experience of hearing from God. The retreat format was very simple. I would teach a bit about hearing from God, share some of my experiences in listening prayer, then send them off an hour or so to be alone with Him and listen for His voice.
Over the 24 hours of the retreat, nearly everyone reported hearing from God. To some He spoke encouragement, to others, deliverance. He gave guidance to a few, and gentle nudges to others. Several heard Him speak to deep places in their hearts.
What always amazes me is how responsive God is if we will just slow down and give Him time to speak. I used to think learning to hear from God was an involved process (and sometimes it can be)—but for many people, the main requirements are little more than time and attention. At nearly every retreat I lead, people report to me how surprised they are: If they will just sit still and actually expect God to talk to them, He does!
Clearly, God can speak to us whenever and in whatever manner He chooses. But, I’ve noticed that most often I hear Him when I stop my other activity, get quiet, and focus my attention completely on Him. In other words, when I accept the invitation of Psalm 46:10 to “be still and know that [He] is God.”
How long has it been since you’ve had a heart-to-heart with God? You don’t need to go on a retreat to hear His voice—but you may need to slow down and give him 45 minutes or an hour. Why not look at your calendar and see when you might schedule an appointment with God? Guaranteed, there are things He’d like to talk with you about. And it could very well be that He just needs a bit of your time to do that.
If you do, please let me know how it goes!
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