Do You Practice Listening Prayer?

listen2You want me to do what? You have got to be kidding me…

“Get a haircut today.”, he thought he heard.

Ok, this is a little strange. Here I am trying my best to listen to the Lord and what pops into my mind is, “Get a haircut today.” God has got to have something more important to speak to me than that. I’m not sure if I am hearing God very clearly…

My friend was relaying to me his attempt to listen to God in prayer. He is learning that prayer is meant to be a two-way conversation. Prayer is not meant to be an occasion when we spew out our wish list like we are sitting on the lap of a Divine Santa Clause. The Lord has invited us into an intimate communion, a relationship where we engage with Him at a deep level. We offer our heart to Him, and He offers His heart to us.

It was in that mind set my friend was trying to listen to the Lord in prayer. He was sitting quietly, ridding his mind and heart of the pressures of the day, attempting to listen to God. A thought, a word, a scripture, a picture, a memory, a song, anything that may be a uniquely creative means by which the Creator of the Universe could choose to express His heart in a Rema Word.

Scripture is filled with examples of how the Lord speaks to His people. Jesus very clearly said that His sheep know His voice. My friend was trying to discern the voice of Jesus. And, what he thought he heard Jesus say was to get his hair cut today.

Now this was no simple request. My friend had waist-length hair. He had been growing it out for many years. This would be a drastic step of obedience. But, in his commitment to walk in obedience to what He believed the Lord was saying, he determined to get his hair cut that day.

When he got to work, he phoned a random salon and booked an appointment. After work he arrived very unenthusiastically to get his hair cut. All the while he was fighting the thoughts that this was ridiculous. Did God really say that? This is crazy.

The hair stylist noticed he was reluctantly getting his hair cut. She asked him why he was getting it cut because he clearly didn’t want to. So, being a person not afraid of full disclosure, he told her the whole story about his listening prayer session.

Upon hearing his story she immediately broke into tears. Emotion was pouring out of her in torrents.

“What’s happening? What did I say wrong? Are you ok?”, he inquired.

After she pulled herself together she relayed a story from years ago when, as a Catholic, she confessed to the priest she was angry with God for her mother’s early death. The priest informed her that was an inappropriate emotion towards God and kicked her out of the church. She has never been back. She has felt lost and alone for many years.

At this point in time her adult daughter was living on the street and sick, yet did not want her mother’s help. She was desperate to somehow help her daughter, to get support for herself, yet she felt she had no one to pray to – she felt alienated from God and by God.

This was a divine appointment. The Lord’s simple request of my friend and his subsequent obedience brought this woman in touch with a God who cares enough about her to send a total stranger to demonstrate His love for her. My friend prayed with her in the salon. They both tearfully connected with a Father who loves His daughter and wants her back home.

Through listening prayer the Lord can strengthen and encourage you, and as He did with my friend, lead you to strengthen and encourage others. Listening prayer is a means by which we connect with God’s heart. We share our heart with Him, and He shares His heart with us.

So, do you practice listening prayer?

Ecclesiastes 5:1

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.”

John 10:27

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

1 Samuel 3:10

“The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’”

Luke 9:35

“A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.’”

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