Usually when we think about talking with God we think about prayer, and rightly so. Prayer, as we all know, includes listening as well as talking. Communication implies listening as well as talking – giving out information and taking in information.
When you pray, first pray to listen, pray you will be open to and able to listen. Then listen to pray. Ask God how you should pray about certain things and listen for His guidance. It’s while we are listening that we suddenly become aware of a flash of revelation, an insight in the form of a picture, an inner inaudible prompting, a thought that comes to mind, a word or phrase of Scripture that is continuously repeated, a growing conviction or awareness of what needs to be done, or an increasing consciousness of what God desires that just does not go away.
Jesus is a prime example of this. Since He set aside those attributes that would have made His earthly life easier, such as His omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence, He needed wisdom and revelation, guidance and direction from God through the Holy Spirit, the same as we receive it. He prayed for long periods of time because that was when He connected with God. He didn’t spend all that time talking but also must have been listening. A good example of this is when He chose the twelve to follow Him. He spent the previous night in prayer, obviously asking for and receiving guidance about whom to choose.
So God speaks through nature, other people, circumstances and prayer. We can add to that list the written Word.
God’s will, His purposes and plans, His very nature, all are clearly revealed to us through the pages of the Holy Scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Hebrews 4:12 for the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
God uses His Word to speak to us when a familiar scripture just jumps off the page, when a promise that speaks to a situation we are in comes to mind and sticks, when a certain passage, story or verse pop into mind, when something comes alive in a new way or when something we hear goes deep into our soul and ministers to a need.
How much of your prayer time is spent talking? How much is spent listening? Try spending more time listening as you pray. We’ll talk about this more in future messages.
Do you pray before reading the Bible, asking God to speak to you through it? Do you read it carefully, slow enough to listen, so you can notice when He points something out to your spirit?
(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.)