How To Try Listening Prayer

I have to admit, at first I felt a bit apprehensive about trying listening prayer. But, I decided to not let my fears stop me from pursing this time with Him and pressed ahead. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it helps me to hear what others are doing when I’m trying out a new spiritual discipline. So with that in mind, this is what I do to practice listening prayer.

4 Steps to Listening Prayer

First of all, I get into a comfortable position. You can sit on the floor, in a comfy chair, kneel, whatever seems to fit the moment. I quiet my mind by following up on a suggestion from Pastor Ron Stohler at my church. He uses a breathing or centering prayer to quiet himself. Very simply, you choose a short verse like Psalm 46:10. You breathe in and as you do this you would say, “Be still and know,” then you exhale and as you do this you say “that I am God.” Do this a few times until you feel quieted and at peace.

Next, I just ask God to tell me what He wants me to hear this day, what’s important for me to know. Then I wait. Sometimes a verse of scripture will pop into my head. Other times a word, like forgiveness or courage. God may reveal a sin that I need to confess. Often a person will come to mind. I pray for insight as to what I need to do.

Journal It

Next I will write down what God has shown me, because I’ve found that I quickly forget if I don’t record it! I purchased a small spiral notebook that I use just for this time.

Finally, I thank God for that time with Him, and that’s it. Listening prayer can be as long or as short as you want it to be. Each day may be different. Sometimes I like to have instrumental music quietly playing in the background or I may light a candle. Do what helps you to connect with God.

Safety Net in Listening Prayer

One thing to keep in mind is to know that God will never reveal anything to you in this quiet time with Him that violates scripture. Use scripture as your safety net as you are practicing these times of silence and solitude. Reject any thoughts that are contrary to scripture and move on.

I pray these suggestions help you. You may have other things that work for you. Please leave a comment and share your insights with us.

Pray on!

Be Still Prayer

Jane VanOsdol

Listening to God has always been a practice that has intrigued me–and scared me. I am intrigued by the whole practice of contemplative prayer where I learn to listen to God’s voice while trying to silence my own voice and the other distractions around me. What scares me about it isthe fear that if I do manage to quiet my own thoughts and requests that I won’t hear ANYTHING. What if God doesn’t respond to me at all? Sitting in silence seems kind of uncomfortable and … risky.

Well, theĀ  secular world has embraced the whole practice of quietness through the use of meditation. Many studies show the benefit of this practice from lowered blood pressure to stress relief–and that’s because God designed it to work that way. But, there’s a big difference between secular meditation or the New Age way and the Christian practice of contemplative prayer. God didn’t ever mean for us to pursue just the practice of meditiation; He meant for us to pursue HIM while we meditate on His word. And that’s a BIG difference.

A few years ago I became familiar with the practice of Lectio Divina, which is a form of contemplative prayer. This was introduced during a sermon one Sunday. A few months after that, I took a spiritual disciplines class at church and learned more about it. Then a few weeks ago, I purchased a book I’ve been looking at for awhile called BE STILL by Amy and Judge Reinhold. It’s a beautiful, little book that teaches the whole practice of Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina, I learned, is a Latin phrase and means divine or sacred reading, and this practice has been a part of church life for centuries.

This little book takes you through 31 days of learning how to incorporate meditative prayer into your prayer life. Basically, on each day you meditate on a new portion of scripture, rereading the same passage four times, as you let the Holy Spirit quicken God’s word to your heart. Then you record what God is impressing upon you–how it applies to you.

I have to say that my early fears have been unfounded. Each day I am learning new things and becoming aware of areas in my life that need some work! As I am halfway through the book, I am learning to appreciate the still time of waiting on God and what He has to teach me, instead of always being the one doing the talking. I still pray through my requests, but I just make sure to have listening and meditating time on His word as well.

And with the Holy Spirit as a teacher, there will always be a unlimited supply of exciting things to learn!

Have you ever tried this practice? I’d love to hear your experience on this journey of prayer.

Pray on!

45903: Be Still Be Still 

By Judge Reinhold & Amy Reinhold

461601: Be Still and Know That I Am God, DVD Be Still and Know That I Am God, DVD