Prayer is so much more than just talking to God. It is having a conversation with Him. Conversation is a casual talk between two or more individuals for the purpose of sharing information. It is a give and take. So when we pray we should be leaving room for God to respond to us. We should be listening, not just talking.
Dallas Williard writes in The Spirit of the Disciplines that our conversations with God make “an indelible impression on our minds and our consciousness of him remains vivid as we go on our way.” When we finish with a set apart quiet time of prayer, we are more aware of God’s presence throughout the rest of the day.
The priority of prayer isn’t that we just give God a list of needs, but that we grow in our relationship with Him, that we would know Him better and sense His presence with us. No one ever got to know someone else better by doing all of the talking themselves. We have to hear what God is revealing to us. But this often times feels mysterious or complicated. It doesn’t have to be.
A.W. Tozier shared “it is the nature of God to speak.” The Lord desires to reveal truth to us and does so in so many ways. He speaks to us through His Word, through creation and through others. There are a few things we can do to help us hear from God.
First, be open and willing to hear from God carving out time to be still and quiet in His presence. Be mentally present in those moments with the Lord by setting aside distractions. You might even take a few minutes before you begin and just jot down all of the tings that are floating around in your brain.
Next, read your Bible. If you don’t know where to start you can start with any sermon notes you might have. Another great place to begin is with a devotional that incorporates God’s word. Two of my favorite devotionals are Jesus Calling and My Utmost For His Highest. They are one page easy daily reads. I often use these when I don’t have much time in the mornings to get out the door. Mostly I use a One Year Bible that has reading selections from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms & Proverbs broken into daily segments. Find what works for you and be consistent. (You will find links below to my favorites.)
Finally, pay attention to your surroundings, situations and circumstances. God can use any of these to speak to you. It might even be through a song, a friend, a book you are reading, art, the words of a child, or any number of things. You just have to be listening. So often we tune out what is going on around us, and while it is healthy to do so at times, there are other moments when we need to lean in and listen closely. Those who don’t listen, never hear anything.
As an added bonus, you might try journaling your prayers and what you sense God is speaking or revealing to you. Even if you just jot these things down in list form it can help you to remember all that God has done for you which helps to build your faith and trust in Him.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 NASB
My hope and prayer for you is that you will sense God’s grace calling you to deeper, more meaningful times of prayer and conversation and that those times of prayer will grow your faith.
Please let me know how I can be praying for you!
Some of my favorite resources: