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Grow in prayer

Listening to God

4 Min Read

Prayer is a two-way conversation with the creator of the universe.

Sometimes, it can feel easier to spend our prayer time talking to God, rather than listening to what God might be saying to us.

God speaks to us in many ways: sometimes we just need to learn to listen to what God might want to say.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

John 10:27

Begin to listen

Take time

Listening can take time, so choose to set aside a time and place that will help you to focus on God

Refocus your mind

Sitting in silence and inviting God to speak to you is a great way to begin: you could start by simply saying, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening” (1 Samuel Ref).

Stop distractions

It’s easy to lose focus when listening in silence – if you find you’re getting distracted or thinking of other things, write them down and put them to the side. Alternatively, you might find that your thoughts will help you to pray!

To remain focused, you might like to reflect on a simple verse such as “Be Still and Know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

Recognise God’s voice

God can speak in many different ways: our thoughts, feelings, Bible, experiences or even what’s around us.

If you find your mind wanders to a specific word, Bible passage or picture, pay attention and test whether God might be speaking (see the guide below!)

Go Deeper: extra resources

How to Pray, chapter 9, Listening

The Prayer Course, session 7, Listening

The Prayer Course Toolshed: Listening section

Arriving in 2022: How to Hear God: A Simple Guide for Normal People, Pete Greig

5 ways to check if God is speaking

  1. God will not contradict what is 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

Don’t worry if you don’t hear anything, or if the thoughts in your mind are just random – it’s all part of the learning process! Write notes and continue to read them back as you might find later that God is speaking.

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