“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply,” says Steven R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). Every deep and meaningful relationship requires individuals who listen. In today’s world, we settle for less than optimum conversation resulting in superficial relationships because we rely on email, faxes, texts, Skype or Facetime instead of meeting in person and intently hearing with our whole being.
The fragile façade of a surface relationship is an unreliable support system if we don’t spend time being still and listen for God’s voice. Our personal quiet time or devotional hour should be the most important meeting of our day. John 10:10 says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, they follow me.” We must not settle for any substitutes such as reading a book about God or listening to a Bible teacher preach about God. We must be quiet. “Be still and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10. We must search the meat of God’s word and choose simply to let the Holy Spirit minister as he sends his presence.
Listening doesn’t come easy. It takes a little planning to make room in our schedules for one-on-one, face-to-face, heart-to-heart, his-mouth-to-our-ear time with our Creator. God longs to be near to us, and he especially wants to speak to us. He waits for us to be still and wait on him. This happens often through praise and prayer and also listening for God to speak to us through His word. Expect God to come, speak, minister to, and love you. Just yesterday, I couldn’t seem to shake a very real feeling of anxious fretfulness and unrest. It felt like a dark shadow over my time alone with God. I specifically prayed, “God, meet me. Please, turn my anxiety into peace.” His overwhelming strength and a sense of peaceful quiet came over me like a flood. For the rest of the day, I felt spiritually empowered, hopeful freedom, and renewed faith. Imagine if I prayed that way all day long, every day? I hope I can learn to implement and regularly pray the prayer, “God, meet me.”
If we seek out these prime auditory conditions, you and I let God know we choose to partake in a mutual, loving, thriving relationship with Him, our living, loving God. God interacts with those who seek after him; it’s intimate and intentional, and it might even interrupt your thoughts and plans or redirect your life path. Remember, Mary, the mother of Jesus? Mary was greeted as a woman who was “highly favored” by God. Her plans changed when the angel of the Lord told her she would be the mother of God’s son. God speaks when we sit at his feet and wait for his voice. Jesus had a conversation with two sisters, Mary and Martha in Luke 10:41. Jesus said, “’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.’”
God whispered to the prophet Samuel as a young boy, asked him if he was willing to serve him. In 1 Samuel 3:10, Samuel responded, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” God wrestled with Jacob in Genesis 32:26. Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” God blessed him. God called David a man after his own heart because at a young age David worshipped him. God gave David victory over a lion and a bear, and to prove God’s power to all he killed the giant Philistine, Goliath. Because David listened to God’s voice, God elevated David into a place of powerful leadership as king of Israel. Later on, David’s sin of adultery and murder was a bigger problem than any physical giant he’d ever faced, yet God ‘s mercy and forgiveness pulled David close to his heart again. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
Thousands of years later, God still speaks to us. He longs to for us to wait on him, to slow down, and to tune our hearts to listen for him to speak. Right now, ask him to meet you. As you turn your ear to hear his heart, settle in for a deeper experience in his presence. Isaiah 30:15 says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” Can you hear Him now?
For more inspiration go to my FromAshesToBeauty blog.