Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Soli Deo Gloria: How do I LISTEN when I pray?

"Prayer is a conversation between two people that love each other."
As I continue to study and look into this new word, LISTEN...I realize more and more it's connection with prayer.  So, I continue to strive to pray...more often.  "Praying without ceasing" like it says in 1 Thes. 5:17, is a concept that has always given me slight anxiety.  I've used prayer hooks and scripture hooks in the past to help me out....but the best explanation I've heard is that it's an attitude of prayer.  

The more I remember that God is my friend...and realize the Holy Spirit's always dwelling in this body of mine...the more comfortable I can be with chatting along to Him throughout my day.  He wants that constant dialogue.  That also means I need to LISTEN to the One who loves me...not just talk His ear off cuz I love Him.

So, I decided to put an idea into practice...not fully sure of my expectations or rules for the idea.  I found a cute, little turquoise dry erase board for my command center.   I had seen prayer boards on Pinterest.  They involved scraps of paper or sticky notes...which didn't appeal to my sense of clean and order.  So, I just winged it...
I wrote PRAY and LISTEN at the top...as a reminder to myself that I need to LISTEN for the Holy Spirit's direction in my life and prayers.  Before, the things that would burden my heart throughout the day, I'd just cart them about with me...Incidentally, often when I get off of phone calls or finish reading e-mail I have these prayer burdens zipping through my heart....NOW, I go to praying... right away.  Duh, right?!

So, I wrote them down...I used initials...and only wrote things that I would sit down and pray with that person right at that moment.  Sidenote: if you're going to do this...be careful of people's feelings.  If you can't pray it out loud in front of them...then don't post that prayer  for all the world or family to see.  DO pray about it though...just maybe in a private journal or your head.

But...here's where the LISTEN part came in...so neat!
I would often write down initials...chattering at God internally about what my heart desired or the burden I felt for them...and then as I walked away and tried to LISTEN...I'd KNOW...strongly...what do pray/how to feel for them.  Sorry, I don't agree with the whole audible voice thang...but I knew He was speaking to me.  That's really hard to put into words.  Phew...So, I'd scurry back to the board and write that under the initials.

Example that I can share:  I wrote good health...and then we all got sick.  That very day, Caleb threw up in my back seat.  I would pass this board and chatter at God...it says good health but this isn't...oh, what is your plan...help me...etc...And as we got better...I realized that health would be RESTORED...I almost wrote that...but then, I realized that God really wants to RENEW me...not just physically, but spiritually.  He wants that for our family...bigger than my eyes could originally see.

Psalm 119:18, "Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions."

So, each week...I erase and start again...some go right back up...but mostly...it's just an exercise in LISTENING!  Maybe it'll be something for you to try too.


Tracy said...

We just finished a five week series on listening to the voice of God. I think so many times we learn about prayer but not about how to listen.

Anonymous said...

i for one thank you for your prayers.-G

Jen Ferguson said...

This is so good -- the active listening and the refining that happens in our prayer lives when we ask God to enter in and show us how to pray and how to listen for His voice.

Ellen Stumbo said...

Pray and listen, what a great reminder!

Thanks for stopping by my blog :)