Allie wrote me from Kenya. She sent me feedback from students who are trying to listen for God’s voice. I am a proponent of “listening prayer.” I have found that while most of us engage in a monologue when we pray, God is looking for a dialogue.
The trouble is, this dialogue doesn’t come easily, particularly to an ADD generation that has little experience with silence and may prefer watching a movie together to engaging in dialogue. Hey, it doesn’t come easily to me either and I like silence. Here is what I wrote her:
“I wish I had it figured out. I struggle in the same ways. If it helps, you can tell the students that. There’s no magic formula. It’s just better than the alternative, which is to walk blindly thru the world. Perhaps more times of guided listening prayer on specific subjects may help.”
The students said things like, “I can’t find the motivation to do it. It’s just not there. I want and believe that God talks to me but I just can’t motivate myself to do listening prayer.”
Or, here’s another one, “How can I get better at it? Its something that frustrates me. My mind wanders so many different directions and than I feel like I never hear anything. Another thing is, I feel like I should know more on how to do it.”
Then, occasionally, there is a student who has had a breakthrough with God like the one who said, “God is speaking to me so much that I sometimes I wonder if it is Him. God has taught me so much about listening prayer. So much of my life and aspect have changed from allowing God that freedom to speak into my life. It has built up my confidence in hearing His voice and having that confidence to speak into other’s lives.“
So, what do we do with this issue? I wish it were black and white, but it’s not. Here’s where I come out. If you believe that God created you and if you believe that he wants relationship with you (as many Christians say they believe), then you owe it to yourself and him to work at developing that relationship. It’s as simple as that.
And I don’t know of any relationships you develop by reading about the person, which is the trite and unhelpful counsel given by most Christians (just read your Bible and the relationship will grow). Is it heresy to admit that reading my Bible only seems to take me part of the way down that road that I want to travel with God? There is a pastor in Indiana who thinks so. He says, “Pay no attention to your experience.” But no amount of theological reasoning can change the fact that relationships grow through talking and listening.
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I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.