Many of us are quite good at talking, but not so good at listening! This can be especially true in our prayer life. It’s easy to come to God with our list of needs – enabling for the day’s tasks, provision, concerns over our loved ones, our physical health, the needs of those around us and the wider world. All of these are valid issues to bring to God in prayer, and He loves to hear us and to answer our prayers. However, communication in any relationship is a two-way thing, and that should be especially so in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
When the boy Samuel heard God calling him while he was sleeping in the temple, Eli told him to respond by saying, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ That’s good advice for us all! So much of our prayer meetings and personal times with God can be filled with us talking to God – almost as if we were saying to Him, ‘Listen, LORD, for your servant is speaking!!’ In Psalm 46:10 the Lord tells us to ‘Be still, and know that I am God’. If we can learn to be still in His presence first of all, and to listen to what He wants to say to us, our prayer times will be much more focussed on His agenda instead of ours.
Many times in the Bible God exhorts His people to listen to Him. Sometimes He seems almost exasperated with them as He says, ‘If my people would but listen to me … how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!’ (Psalm 81:13-14). If we are facing struggles and difficulties we need to listen to God for His strategy in each particular battle. His strategy may vary for each situation, which is why we need to listen to Him.
There are also benefits promised to those who will listen. For instance in Isaiah 55:2, God says: ‘Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.’ If we are feeling empty, dried up or lacking in joy, perhaps this is a key – to listen to God and allow Him to feed us on the inside with what He knows we need. It may be that we need a fresh reassurance of His love, or a reminder of His promises to protect us or heal us. God knows exactly what we need and He will feed us as we wait on Him.
Why not try to spend at least as much time being still in the presence of God as you do in bringing your requests to Him. You may find that as you listen to Him more your relationship with Him is transformed, and your soul will delight as in the richest of fare!
Prayer: Lord, please forgive me for the times when I have rushed into Your presence with my requests, rather than being still before You and waiting on You. I want to learn to listen to You. Please speak to me, Lord. Your servant is listening! Amen.