Today we look at Listen as the latest in our discovery of Prayer A to Z. You can find the other posts in this series here.
Prayer isn't a wish list, and our Heavenly Father isn't Santa Claus or a genie who grants wishes. Prayer IS a two-way communication. We can't do all the talking. Sometimes we have to LISTEN.
All through scripture God reminds us to listen:
Ps. 32:8, The LORD says, "I will make you wise and show you where to go. I will guide you and watch over you." In order to have someone guide us, we need to LISTEN and pay attention to what we are told.
Jere. 33:2-3, These are the words of the LORD, who made the earth, shaped it, and gave it order, whose name is the LORD: "Judah, pray to me, and I will answer you. I will tell you important secrets you have never heard before." God has important secrets to tell us. And do you shout secrets? No. You speak them quietly. So we have to LISTEN carefully or we will miss them.
How do we hear from God? One big way is from His word.
Your word is like a lamp for my feet and a light for my path, Ps. 119:105.
If you go the wrong way - to the right or to the left - you will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the right way. You should go this way." Is. 30:21
Notice from these two passages that God not only lights our way, as we get there (a lamp - not a street light), but He also suggests course correction - or rather "course confirmations" once you are in motion.
What does this look like IRL?
One of my go-to memories on God's leadership takes place when Hubby is offered a new football coaching job far out of town. Just days before school starts. There's no time to sell the house, and pack and move. So we prayed.
The door had opened for this new job for him, so we walked through it. And we felt a peace. An in-my-heart-whisper of peace.
Son, Daughter, and I stayed for another school year. Hubby lived with family and came home on weekends. We packed the house little by little. Friends and family nagged for me to put the house on the market. But I didn't have peace about it. Until the end of April, I think.
The house spent 4 days on the market, and we got full asking price. We moved into our rent house as the previous tenants moved out. Literally.
Was living separately easy? NOPE. But we focused on it being God's plan because we decided to LISTEN when we asked. And God heard.
God's voice is rarely loud. He may have you wait through powerful winds, and earthquakes and fire. But His voice will come to you as a whisper. (see 1 Kings 10:11-12) His sheep come to recognize His voice, BTW. And you can learn to recognize His urging, too. Then you can obey, even when it all seems random. Like donuts.
Listen for donuts.
Before Hubby and I married, I was part of a carpool to work. On days I didn't drive, it was my custom to go to the post office before I met the carpool. My branch had a nice self-service area, and I could buy stamps and such.
One morning, I was headed to the post office to get stamps and mail bills. And "my little voice" (AKA the Holy Spirit's gentle prompting) said, "No. Get donuts." So I had a "That's silly." conversation with God. Bills must go out. Stamps must be purchased. But the closer I got to the post office, the louder He got. When He started yelling, "GO GET DONUTS! NOW!!" I slammed on the brakes and turned around. The carpool ate and laughed at my story - until the news guy on the radio announced the gunman at that very post office and the many lives lost.
I was so grateful I chose to LISTEN that day. No, the insistent urging didn't make sense, but - HONESTLY - I pay a lot closer attention when I hear God's voice now.
What do you need to LISTEN for?
I don't know what God needs to tell you today. But, the best time to hear a secret from a loving Father is while sitting in His lap. Lean in close.
Father God, I lift up those who are reading this and ask that You let them hear You clearly today with an answer to their deepest, most-heartfelt request. Show them that You LISTEN and encourage them to LISTEN to You as well.