“The word of the Lord came to Elijah… “I will send rain upon the earth.” That was the foundation of that persistent praying and sevenfold watching on the mountaintop. First the ear heard, then the voice persistently claimed, and the eye expectantly looked. First the voice of God, then the voice of man. That is the true order. Tremendous results always follow that combination.”
Think about these questions as you evaluate your personal relationship with God:
- Are you able to endure silence?
- Are you tuned into hearing God’s still, small voice?
- Are you able to listen attentively to what He is saying above all the noise of your world?
In order to pray His will, it is crucial that we hear God’s voice clearly. We all know what it is like to talk with someone who never listens. It is terribly frustrating! Likewise, God wants us to learn to listen to Him. As we spend time before Him in quiet listening we are able to pray His will more fervently and with greater expectation, hitting the target effectively. We need to be certain of hitting our target as we pray for the situations we see around us. When you give God time in listening prayer, He will direct your prayers strategically, even when you don’t realize it. He will help you to proclaim His will in your prayers, and your level of faith will increase.
God has so much to say to us daily, but often we can’t hear the fine, quiet tones of His voice.
When I was growing up, my father used to make and sell hearing aids from our home. Individuals would come into our house with hearing aids that needed repair. We, as a family, would not even bother to go into the living room to talk with them, because we knew they were not able to hear our voices.
How many of us are in the same situation with God?
He can’t tell us things because our hearing needs repair or we are not taking the time to listen. He often can’t speak into our lives because we are not ready or able to discern the treasures of what He has to say to us. As we could not communicate with my father’s hard-of-hearing guests, God may feel the same way with us. He can’t share His secrets because we are not listening or are distracted. We are not able to hear Him whispering in our ear. As a result, we are the ones who miss out and have chosen the lesser thing. And our expectation of what God can do does not increase.
Listening prayer builds expectation. Notice the difference between Mary and Martha in Luke 10:39-41: She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made… “Martha, Martha”, the Lord answered, “you are worried about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better.” Mary listened and sat at Jesus’ feet while Martha worked.
Three Dimensions of Listening Prayer
Let’s look at three dimensions of listening prayer. As you evaluate your own listening skills, answer these three questions:
- The Ear Hears – Are you attentively listening?
It’s just too easy for us to make our plans and then ask God to bless them. But to be effective in prayer, we must learn to listen to His plans and cooperate with Him. We are then able to pray God-sized prayers and join God in partnering with His answer. His blessing then follows because God’s plans will always bring tremendous blessing and fruitfulness. It may take time, but in due season, we reap a harvest. Listening is the key to being effective and watchful in prayer. It’s a skill to develop in all relationships, but especially in our relationship with God. If we don’t listen to God and hold fast to His Word, the devil will continually attack and weaken us with His lies.
“The first stage of Moses’ prayer training was wearing the noise of Egypt out of his ears so he could hear the quiet, fine tones of God’s voice. He who would become skilled in prayer must take a silence course in the university of Arabia.”
- The Voice Persistently Claims – Are you persistently claiming
Sometimes God tells us things in the secret place of listening, but we fail to persist in claiming His promises. We may pray for a time, but then we give up. We fail to proclaim the truth in His Word. However, when we do move into that dimension of knowing what God wants and as we pray His Word with His Spirit’s anointing, the answers will surely come. Our faith will rise up to that level of proclamation, and we shall see the fulfillment of our dreams. Listening prayer builds an assurance in our inner being of God’s will in the here and now. This moves us into new dimensions of faith and victory.
“When we so absorb this Book (the Bible), and the Spirit of Him who is its life, that people cannot tell the line of division between the man and the God within the man, then shall we have the mightiest power as God’s intercessors in defeating the foe. God and man will be as one in the action of service against the enemy.”
- The Eye Expectantly Looks – Are you expectantly looking?
It’s easy to lose an expectant heart when we are bombarded by bad news on a daily basis. We don’t want to live in the place where we listen to the lies of the enemy. We want to have ears that hear the sounds of heaven and eyes that look with expectation of victory in all that is before us. We are soon stepping into eternity, a wondrous place to live. Now is the time to rise up in prayer and see what God has for each one of us as we work to pray in His Kingdom. We are made to reign with Him, and one day all our tears will be turned into joy. Learn to listen now and the heartbeat of God will empower your prayers of proclamation, and you will look expectantly for the fulfillment of those prayers.
“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always”
Moses learned to listen in the desert. He learned the value of solitude. God had him in a training program. Early this morning, I got up, got a cup of coffee, and sat outside listening: listening to God, to the many sounds of nature, to a natural wonderland of birds and animals right in my own backyard. It was a rich experience and as I did this, my expectation level in God rose.
When we begin to listen to the voice of God through a trained, attentive ear, then we shall be able to walk in a new level of Holy Spirit-inspired productivity and anointing. Let’s ask God to help us to slow down and listen in prayer, that He may empower us with godly proclamations of life and truth that bring freedom into the lives of all those we touch through intercession. Learn to touch heaven with your prayers by learning the secret of listening prayer. Learn to live on this level of expectancy in prayer. We can learn from the example of Moses as we seek to be God’s watchman in prayer.
“There were two distinct stages in the training of his (Moses’) ears. First there were the forty years of solitude in the desert sands, alone with the sheep, and the stars, and—God. His ears were being trained by silence. The bustle and confusion of Egypt’s busy life were being taken out of his ear. How silent are God’s voices. How few men are strong enough to be able to endure silence. For in silence God is speaking to the inner ear.”
Quotes by S. D. Gordon
By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International