Communication is a two way street. If only one person does the talking real communication isn’t taking place. Communication implies both sides are both sharing information and listening intensively to the other person. Therefore for prayer to be communication it must include listening as well talking. We must view prayer as dialogue. We must make sure listening to God is done frequently, intently and given enough time. This includes spending time praying and meditating.
Listening means viewing prayer as dialogue. Communication is not just talking but listening. Prayer is a dialogue between two people, not a one-way monologue. Unfortunately we are much better at talking than at listening. We need to develop better listening skills in all our relationships. Talking to God is entirely different from listening to God. Real communication is an endless loop of transmitting and receiving thoughts and ideas.
Too often our prayers are ‘prayer speeches’ to God – we do all the talking and don’t let Him communicate with us. If we are to truly have a relationship with God we must listen as well as talk, for that is the basis of all relationships.
The place of meditation in listening to God. Meditation is a time to think, contemplate, reflect, ponder and consider spiritual things in God’s presence. The Psalmist says: “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways” (Psalm 119:15). “I meditate on your decrees” (Psalm 119:48). God promises us: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).
Listening means communicating like with a friend/mate. In order for me to truly communicate with my wife Nancy I need to relax, give her my full attention, and focus on her and what she is saying. I must make sure there are no offences or hurts between us that need to be confessed and removed. I must listen between the lines and read her moods. I respond to what she reveals with affirmation, encouragement or requests for further clarification. The more we really communicate, the easier it is growing in our relationship and improve our connection. Moses spoke to God face to face, “as a man speaks with his friend” (Exodus 33:11). Perhaps that’s one reason he was so close to God.
Listening means asking questions. When we talk with a mate or friend we often ask questions or request more information about a certain subject. Jehosophat asked God what he should do about the enemies approaching Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 20:12). God wants us to ask Him questions so He can give us His answers. Sometimes one of the best ways to find God’s will is to ask Him a question that has a “yes” or “no” answer. We often do that with others; ask them a question with a yes or no answer so we can find out what they want. Do the same with God.
When we see communication with God similar to communicating with a friend or mate we can better understand it. Practice talking to God as a friend. Listen to Him as you would listen to a friend. You aren’t lecturing the God of the universe; remember that you are in a privileged, one-on-one love relationship with Him and therefore dialoguing with the One who loves you as well.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)