Winston Churchill said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak: courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” I find the second harder to do, especially in my prayer time. How about you?
I am often guilty of treating God like a celestial Santa Claus, bringing my lists of wants and expecting Him to fill them because I have been a good girl this year. I believe we should bring our desires, troubles, and even confessions to God. It takes courage and honesty to openly come before Him. He knows them anyway before we speak. Like the patient, loving, Abba Father He is, He takes time to listen, knowing there are things we need to get off our chest. God always listens to us. Wouldn’t it be prudent to return the favor?
If prayer is truly a conversation, then we should listen for His response instead of doing all the talking. Perhaps we could even let Him speak first. I have begun to incorporate this practice into my prayer time. I begin by being still, I listen and come into His presence with thanksgiving, as Psalm 100 states.
I am thankful my Lord is a loving God who cares and stops to hear my needs. I’m thankful He died on the cross so I can come to Him, and that I have life eternal. I am thankful for all the times He has heard and responded. Then I end my time with listening as well.
I believe our Lord always does respond. That may not be at the time we decide we can carve out a few minutes of reflection time. It may be later in the day, or the week, or the month. But His response will come, and as always, in perfect timing. Will we be listening? Or will we try to solve the problem ourselves, or be off on another task, or too occupied by worry to catch His response?
Dearest Father in Heaven, we can never thank you enough for all the goodness you bestow in your grace and mercy for us. Forgive us for the times we do not stop, sit and listen to your will, advice, correction, or answer. Help us to have the courage to come before your throne honestly with our needs, but then give us the faith and courage to be willing to listen, and then accept your response. Through Jesus’ name, Amen.
This week, when you pray, take time to sandwich it with listening. See if it changes your attitude, your face and your understanding of who God is.
We have a whole series on learning to discern God’s voice. Check it out.