When we pray we talk to God. We praise Him, confess our sin, thank Him for our blessings, and bring our needs and wants to Him. We talk and then say amen and that is the end of our prayer. Or is it?
Are we talking to ourselves or are we talking to God? Is prayer only talking or is it talking with Someone? When we talk with someone we talk and they listen then they talk while we listen. Is it not the same with God? Does it not stand to reason that when He listens to us He thinks about what we are saying and may have a response?
There is a place in prayer for us to listen to God’s voice. This may be the harder part of prayer…listening. Let us not be like the Israelites who, when at Mount Sinai, were afraid to hear God speak and said to Moses,
“Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
Exodus 20:19 niv
If we are indeed His people we listen to His voice. Because He is God we can know that He actively listens and will respond. We can expect to hear His voice. But do we want to hear it?
What if He says something we do not expect or like? Maybe He has a reprimand to give us. He may tell us to go when we want to stay or stay when we want to go. Perhaps he will tell us to do something new that frightens us or to continue doing something that has become uncomfortable. What He has to say to us may be disappointing because it is not what we want to hear. His words are hard at times because He will not be compromised.
We can be certain that whatever we hear from Him is spoken in love, mercy, righteousness, compassion, and truth. What we hear from Him can only be good, though, we do not always understand the message or see the good in it. However, we can trust that there is only goodness in Him.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 niv
We may hear words of discipline, words of affirmation, or words of guidance. Whatever the words they are meant to be heard and heeded. Jesus said,
“My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, no one can snatch them out of my hand.”
John 10:27-28 niv
We are blessed to have a Good Shepherd who in His love for us speaks so we will know His will, follow Him, and have eternal life.
I wonder, with my endless chatter and quick amen, what awesome words of His I miss.