Learn to Listen

It’s easy to spend the whole of our prayer time talking at God. Try giving God more room to respond and to speak as you pray:

Four tips for listening to God

1. Make Space

Listening takes time, and it helps if you start by removing distractions.  Choose a peaceful place and set aside time to help you focus on God. 

2. Clear Your Head

Many people find it difficult to still their minds when they sit in silence. If you find you're thinking of things you need to do, make a list for later then put it to one side.

If you struggle with this regularly, try reflecting on a Bible verse such as “Be still and know that I am God”  - Psalm 46:10to focus your mind.

3. Don’t Worry  

If the thoughts filling your mind are about situations or worries you want to pray about, don’t try to push them down. Take each one in turn and give it to God before letting go of it. Don’t let anxiety absorb your energy.

4. Learn to recognise His voice

God can speak in many ways. He can use our thoughts, feelings, the Bible, our experiences, or even our surroundings to capture our attention. 

If you find your mind filling with pictures or thoughts that seem a bit strange or random, pay attention to them and test whether you think they’re God’s voice. 

FIVE ways to check whether it’s God speaking:

  1. He will not contradict what He’s said in the Bible
  2. Ask for the Holy Spirit to give you the gift of discernment
  3. Ask the advice of a friend or leader who loves Jesus - What do they think? 
  4. Observe your own conscience – do you have a sense of peace or disquiet?
  5. Ask the Lord for confirmation – to say the same thing in another way

As you finish be sure to write everything down, even the things that seem strange or unrelated. If God is speaking He will continue the conversation. If they are just random thoughts, that’s okay; it’s all part of the process of learning. 

Go Deeper: Check out a selection of PDFs on Listening on our Prayer Course Toolshed.