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How do I break out of the monologue habit?

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This morning I was struggling with a relationship. The relationship comes with complications that are bothering me. And I want to take action. Instead I took it to God in listening prayer. I asked him the question, “What do I do about this relationship?” God said, “Wait it out.” Ugh. Not …
By Seth Barnes

This morning I was struggling with a relationship. The relationship comes with complications that are bothering me. And I want to take action. Instead I took it to God in listening prayer. I asked him the question, “What do I do about this relationship?”

God said, “Wait it out.”

Ugh. Not what I wanted to hear; I wanted to make a decision. But God’s still, small voice interrupts my self-focused patterns of behavior and gives me his counsel, guiding me along a narrow path. How else can Jesus be Lord of our lives if we don’t give him this kind of veto power over our decisions? That’s what a Lord does. To call him “Lord” when you can’t hear him is specious and seems hypocritical to nonChristians.

Here’s something I wrote about the issue in
The Art of Listening Prayer: “If your experience interacting with God feels like a monologue, if you hunger for intimacy with God the Father, but feel stuck, unclear as to how to actually go deeper, then you need to see that it
is possible to converse with God. In fact, you’ll see that he invites conversation and expects to regularly interact with us.

Like Esau, many of us trade this birthright for a cheap imitation – stale religion. But there is a way out. The same God who gave us the spirit of adoption, who invites us to call him “Abba Father,” gives us the right as his children to talk to him conversationally. Don’t you hope against hope that this is true? Aren’t you just waiting for someone to show you the way?

There is a way, and it involves the give and take that we expect in any conversation. It requires that we ask God questions and wait for him to respond. Because it involves this process of listening, I call it ‘listening prayer.’ It’s far more art than science, and practice does help. We need to get in the habit of asking God more questions and then expecting his response.”

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