Listen. Such an important word but so many of us never really HEAR it. What does it mean to listen? I don’t want to insult anyone who reads this but have we truly learned to listen? I love digging down and doing research before writing any post so when I looked up the word listen, the definitions were penetrating. Here are just a few of them that stood out to me. Listen: to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing. To pay attention, heed; obey. To wait attentively for a sound. So with those definitions in mind, do we apply this to our lives consistently when it comes to listening for the beautiful voice of God?
It’s been stated over the years that the best communicators are those who are the best listeners! As someone who enjoys a thought provoking and enlightening conversation, I have always felt I was a good listener. I have learned over the years what it takes to become a GREAT listener. I am humbled by the opportunity to talk with God every day, at any time, day or night. My conversations with God have gone to the next level once I learned to listen to HIM!
In most engaging conversations, we get so excited to share our perspective or point of view that we miss the “meat” of what someone is trying to share with us. We are preparing our answer or ideas and do not grasp the message that is being shared. I will admit, listening is hard! It takes practice but the results are well worth the effort; especially when it relates to talking with God.
Let me tell you a story. I had been reluctant to purchase a smartphone for many years. I would say, “As long as I can talk and text, that’s all I need from my phone.” Then as fate would have it, my trusted cell phone began to fall apart. Buttons fell off, I’d tape them back on. Finally, my phone became useless and I was forced to purchase a new phone. I went to the AT&T store and I my eyes were drawn to a shiny new smartphone…oh Heaven forbid! The salesperson showed me the basics and I was totally impressed so I relented and purchased my very first smartphone.
I got home and excitedly plugged in my smartphone to charge as I went to sleep. Then my phone began to to beep and click and make all sorts of unfamiliar noises. What was going on? The salesperson did not cover this. I would jump up every time I heard a beep! Did I miss a call? Did somebody just text me? What is happening? It has been two and a half years since I made that purchase and I am happy to tell you I absolutely love my smartphone! How did I ever manage before?
I have learned to sync my phone with my computer so I don’t forget to pay a bill or miss an appointment. (unless I forget to put it in my phone:) I now understand a click is just a Facebook post. A ding is an email to pleasingtothepotter.com, and a ding with vibration is a text message. So there is no panic now. I’ve learned the meaning of the sounds because of time spent with this phone so I no longer overreact to the noise.
When it comes to listening to God, I am learning to listen to him in such an amazing way! There is something so comforting, empowering, and reassuring when you hear from God in His still small voice. I have learned to put aside negative thoughts. Throw away thoughts of worry and fear and just talk to Him. I share what is on my heart and stay quiet resting in God’s unfailing love. Let God reveal His purposes for you through the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within you.
I mentioned earlier that becoming a GREAT listener takes both effort and practice. I have applied these to my relationship with Christ and have been blessed to hear from Him on several occasions. Not audibly but spiritually I have heard from God as He provides me with wisdom. When you quiet yourself and let God speak you will hear from Him. He will bless you with wisdom, direction, comfort, encouragement, and most importantly love! So today I want to share with you 5 things you can practice to help in the process of listening to hear from God.
Prioritize your time with God.
I know we all have busy lives but it’s a necessity to prioritize our time with God. He is the one who allows us to wake each morning and blessed us with family and opportunities. It is ALL because of Him. By priority I mean make a point to spend quality time with God. Don’t rush through your Bible reading so you can check that off for the day. Pick a time and place where you can read God’s word and meditate. Ask God what do you want me to see today from His living Word?
Prepare your Heart to Listen.
When getting ready for an important conversation, we usually prepare ourselves to make a good impression. For a job interview or when making a sales pitch, you do research on the company to learn about them and see what they are about. Before going to God in prayer, I like to listen to worship songs or watch a quick Bible study I have saved on my DVR. My favorite though is to put my phone on silent and spend time soaking up God’s word! There is something special when it’s just you and God as you prepare your heart to hear from Him.
Pray with Perseverance and Purpose.
This is near and dear to my heart. As someone who had no feeling in his left side and could not even sit up on his own for months, I understand the necessity to persevere in prayer! It is easy to get discouraged and frustrated when you feel your prayers are not heard. As I share in my upcoming NEW BOOK, Jesus prayed constantly and continuously every chance He got and He encourages us to pray without ceasing.(1 Thessalonians.5:17)
Now He was telling them a parable to show them they ought to pray at all times and not lose heart.” Luke 18:1.
Jesus instructs us to not get discouraged and to keep on praying. He wants to communicate with us but we must be willing to listen!
Promise to Obey with Joy.
When we seek to hear from God, we must be ready for His answer whether we like it or not! God knows everything and He wants the best for us so when He speaks we must obey his leading. Sometimes His answers seem odd or don’t make sense to us but it is imperative to be obedient. The reason I added “with joy” is because we show respect to our Savior and we should feel blessed to hear from God!
What Christ did for us on the cross, he did willingly because He loves us. We honor Him when He speaks to us and we should obey him humbly with joy! One of my favorite life verses is found in Proverbs. I read it repeatedly as a young child but now I realize the importance of applying these verses to my life daily.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to thine own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.
It’s so easy to focus on the first part of this passage but it’s the middle portion I repeat over in my head. God tells us don’t focus on the “little” that we know or can see but to TRUST Him completely. Acknowledge God in everything especially in your conversations with Him. When you are willing to do that, God will reveal what’s best for you!
Praise God for His Blessings.
Before I rush into sharing my prayer requests, I thank God for working in my life and lives of those I love. He continues to bless me in so many ways. I love sharing with my readers how God continues to transform and mold me into the man He created me to be. I am humbled God chose me to be a part of His family and I am thankful for the daily conversations we have.
Listening to God is a privilege. Remember to whom you are speaking with when you go to God in prayer. When you prepare your heart, pray with perseverance, and make God a priority, you WILL hear from Him. He will share with you things beyond your comprehension. God asks us to trust in Him, rely on HIS wisdom, and rest in the PEACE that only He offers. Will you make it a point to listen for God today?
Are you Listening?