As I was reading “Instructions on Prayer,” an article written by John Bradford, a 1500’s English chaplain, I was struck by the thought that there was no mention of an aspect of prayer that I consider pivotal. Yes, he mentioned the commonly known four types of prayer…supplication, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise…all of which are significant to a thriving prayer life. It’s essential that we seek God for life’s issues and direction. It’s important that we thank God frequently for the many blessings He imparts to us, and it’s imperative that we praise Him for who He is, noting and esteeming His greatness. But, in considering all of these things, as vital as they all are, they are all one sided…me talking to God.
Should it occur to us that when we talk to God, He also may have something to say? Think about the personal relationships you have in life. Are any of them completely one sided with only you doing all the talking? My guess is that kind of relationship doesn’t last long. Why? Because we eventually get tired. It’s not fulfilling to never hear a word from the other person. I wonder if the reason we sometimes neglect prayer is because, as essential as our part is, we’re weary from just hearing our voice.
What if…God would also like to say something during our prayer time? Think about it…how would He do it? A number of verses exhort us to “wait for the Lord.”
Ps. 62:5 “My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.” Ps. 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope.”
So, you ask, what do we do while we wait? Good question. We listen.
Eccle. 5:1 “Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen…” Isa. 28:23 “Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my words….”
Listen for that still, small voice. Open your Bible and as you read, be aware of verses that seem to pop off the page. That’s God speaking to you. Bring a renewal of refreshment to your prayer life by incorporating the listening aspect. Then go a step further and write down what He says. You will find new delight in meeting with the Lord. What He will reveal to you will encourage, comfort, strengthen, and edify you. Nancy Leigh DeMoss says, “Developing intimacy with the Lord Jesus requires a conscious, deliberate choice. It is a choice to spend time sitting at His feet and listening to His word.” Give it a try and let me know how it works.