The Art Of Listening

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.” Psalm 27:7-8 NASB

praying-man 001God answers prayer. Every single one. Not always the way we’d like, but He answers, nonetheless. Sometimes we miss those answers. Especially the answers that are more complex than “yes,” or “no.”

Those “yes,” or “no” answers are actually pretty easy to determine. “God, please let me win the lottery.” Your number didn’t come up? Then the answer was “no.” Unfortunately when the answer is “no,” people often claim, “God didn’t answer my prayer.” What they should have said was something like, “God told me ‘no’ about winning the lottery.” Or, if they were more honest, something like, “I prayed amiss (with the wrong motives), and did not get the answer I selfishly desired.”

When our prayers include phrases like, “guide me,” “show me,” “teach me,” and “help me,” is when the answers can be a little more difficult to discern. Not that God  purposely hides those answers. The answers to those types of prayers often take a little time to develop. And, if we’re honest with ourselves, we tend to have a bit of attention deficit when it comes to waiting for God to answer.

Too often we say, “Amen,” and then we’re back on our merry may, on to the next task, continuing with our busy day and crammed schedule. We don’t often enough stick around to hear from God during our prayer time. And we’re not very adept at hearing His voice in different places, like in the Bible, or through a sermon or the kind words of a friend or even a stranger.

It’s like communicating on a walkie-talkie. You have to hold the button in to talk, but doing so means you can’t hear the person you’re talking to. If you never release the button you’re never going to hear the other person. If we never pause, it makes it awfully difficult for us to hear the voice of God, which may be why so many people believe He hasn’t answered their prayer.

God uses many ways to communicate with His children. We just need to start being more sensitive to where and when and how He chooses to speak to us.

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