I have been away listening. I had been talking so much that I wasn’t listening anymore. I wasn’t even listening to myself. And frankly, without the ability to listen, I had lost the ability to hear and to offer anything meaningful to share.
I am currently reading a book called Whisper: How to Hear the Word of God, written by Mark Batterson.
Batterson writes that in addition to Scripture, God also speaks to us today via body language: His body, the church. He continues that God speaks through different tones of voice, including the language of desires and the languages of pain. But when it comes to interpreting body language and tone, we need the gift of discernment… to spot closed and open doors… to recognize God-given dreams… to know which desires are from God… to obey the promptings of God… to put pain in perspective…. and to “read” people.
If we have not accepted God into our lives or if we don’t remain close to God through our thoughts and prayers, we are probably not living with the Holy Spirit that allows us to discern the ways and meanings of God’s voice. God is a living God and God’s voice is not fixed in the pages of Scripture. Scripture is paramount in guiding and instructing us, but God did not stop communicating with us when the Bible was written. God continues to try to reach us today.
People who don’t believe that God speaks to us in any way other than through Scripture are selling God short, and perhaps limiting their relationship with God.
I believe our ability to communicate effectively with God – to hear God’s responses to our prayers — increases or decreases with our level of prayer and our commitment to listen for God’s response. The more we pray meaningfully, the more likely we are to “hear,” provided we are willing to listen to all that God has to say.
But listening requires a certain amount of stillness or silence on our part. It requires focus. “God sometimes speaks in whispers to encourage us to lean into Him and come nearer — as a parent might encourage closeness with their child by reading softly from their favorite book.”
Perhaps we need to declutter not only our lives of surplus material things, but also rid ourselves of surplus noise. We need to minimize our distractions when praying to God, and declutter worldly noise to hear what God is saying.
By God’s grace, when we have increased our ability to listen effectively when we pray, we will hear God’s answer more clearly — and we will have opened wider the door to a more meaningful and personal relationship with God.
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