Hearing and Praying [Part 2]
By Alan Wright — June 23, 2016
Are you ready for some good news?
Prayer isn’t just about talking – it’s about listening.
Scripture for the day: “To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”” (John 10:3–5, ESV)
As we continue our radio series on the power of prayer, today we highlight a form of praying in the Spirit that you might not usually think of – listening prayer.
One of the ways that you can “pray in the Spirit” is to listen to the Spirit and pray from the riches of that intimate communion with God. Prayer is not a monologue – it’s a dialogue.
When my kids were little they loved for me to read bedtime stories. Every night, after reading a few pages in our book of choice, I’d stop and say, “Well, that’s all for tonight!” but the kids knew better and so did I.
They knew that I had at least a few more pages of reading in me. Actually, even though I was usually tired, I really wanted to read more of the story. It was a game. I’d ask the kids if they really, really wanted me to read more. Not only did I require their exuberant “yes” but I also required a bunch of “please, please, please” cries. In fact, the silly game developed into a requirement of singing “please, please” to the tune of “Happy Birthday” or “The Star Spangled Banner” or such.
They knew I was willing to read more – it was “in my will” – but I really liked to hear how much they wanted me to read.
It’s best to get into a conversation with God. Hear His heart. Listen to the Spirit. Deep communion and meditation with God is part of how we pray in His will. Your “please, please, please” cries don’t move Him nearly as much as He is already moved on your behalf, but He loves hearing your petitions.
I think when we listen to the Spirit in meditation, and prayer becomes communion, it takes on rich, fertile qualities. You can hear from God. You can develop a prayer life that is more than “here’s what I want you to do God.” You can develop a listening prayer life that enjoys asking, “what would you like me to do God.” And that’s the Gospel!