Tag Archives: prayer

All Talk – Part 1

Have you ever been in a relationship where everything was all about the other person? The time you spend with this person is all about their needs and wants. The focus is on their children, their career, on and on. This person likes you and likes being with you, yet seems not interested in you personally. He or she doesn’t take the time to hear what you have to say or discover who you are.

If you know and love someone like this, then you are in an unbalanced one-sided relationship. Who wants that type of relationship?

I hate to say it, but the God of all grace, who deserves all glory in heaven and on earth, has seriously unbalanced, one-sided relationships with His children. That’s us and we are the talkers.

How does this happen? Well, our prayers usually begin with praise and thanksgiving.  Right? That’s very good. Then next comes intercession and petition where we lay out our problems and those of our family and friends before Him. We tell Him we want His help and healing. We tell Him we want His joy and strength. Then we say, “Amen” and walk away. Alas, We are doing all the talking.  Sadly, we have made our relationship with God all about us.

Good relationships involve listening as well as speaking. Granted, listening isn’t easy by any means. Human beings speak with gestures, inflection, and facial expressions and we still have problems listening and hearing each other. How much more difficult is it to listen to Someone we can’t even see or hear?

Each and every one of us are prone to an unbalanced one-sided relationship with God. By human default, we do all the talking. So how can we improve our listening skills toward Him? How do we learn to hear and recognize His voice?  Read my next post It’s All Talk – Part 2. I will share 7 ways we can hear God speak if we take the time to listen.

By the way, did you know that God initiates all prayer?  We aren’t the originator of our prayers, He is.  Our prayer life is a response to His work within us.  You can never pat yourself on the back for even having a prayer life, it is His work within you.  I guess this is the subject of another blog, but in the meantime as Steve Brown often says, “You think about that.”

Any comments?

All Talk – Part 2

From the previous article Its All Talk – Part 1, I mentioned that we are all prone to an unbalanced one-sided relationship with God. By human default, we do all the talking. So, how do we learn to hear and recognize His voice?  Here are 7 proven ways to hear God talk to us when we take the time to listen.

  1. Scripture – The Bible is intentionally called God’s Word.  Because that is exactly what it is, the very words from the mouth of God. What have you heard from Him lately?
  2. People – Someone said, “God wears people as His uniform.” That means God surrounds us with His messengers. Most people are not even aware that God is using them to speak to us. Sermons fall under this category. Are you listening?
  3. Creation – Creation uniquely speaks God’s voice to us. The heavens declare His glory.  What is He saying to you in His heavens and earth?
  4. Circumstances – If we listen well, God speaks to us in everyday circumstances.  Is there a troubling event in our life?  Maybe He is saying, “Trust Me.”  Are we worn out?  Maybe He  is saying “Slow down, come to Me, I will give you rest.” Are you hearing His voice in your life?
  5. Silence – His still small voice within gives deep intuitive thoughts that are not our own. The key to hearing God’s voice in silence is releasing our own agenda and waiting for Him, often in solitude.  Are you quiet enough to hear what He is saying?
  6. Dreams – I woke after a certain dream one time and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I heard God’s voice of comfort and assurance.  How awesome it was to hear Him while I slept. Pay attention to your dreams but remember that God-given dreams and scripture will never ever conflict.
  7. Journals – Many of the autobiographies we read today are actually the journals of great Christians. Aren’t you glad they journaled? If we slow down enough to write out our spiritual questions and struggles we just may hear God answer us.

Here is a word of caution – Not all voices are God’s. Always measure what you hear against His written word and His revealed character.

Here is a word of exhortation – Get with a small group of believers regularly. Join with others who seek to hear God’s voice themselves and you will mutually help each other listen well.

Let the wise listen and add to their learning,
Let the discerning get guidance. Proverbs 1:5

What are your experiences with hearing God’s voice?

How to Start Journaling

In my ministry as a Life on Life Coach I often ask those I coach to begin journaling about the things they are processing. Somehow, the act of putting pen to paper (or fingers to computer keys for that matter) cause the things we discuss to become a cognitive learning experience. Journalers use memory, perception, judgment and reason not just emotional, volitional responses to coaching. Journalers think, write, see, read, decide, think some more, write some more and good stuff happens.

Below are some suggestions for journaling if you haven’t done it before. Or maybe you haven’t journaled in a long time and want to pick it up again.

First, here are a few tips:

  • Buy a small journal with about 30 pages.
  • Date each page.
  • Write no more than a page a day.
  • Skip a page if you can’t get to it one day, you can return to it later.
  • Have fun.
  • This one is a suggestion – Journal with a buddy or with a group.

Journal ideas to try:

  • Romance Journal – Obviously, you could write something romantic about the love of your life in your Romance Journal.  This is always fun and keeps you thinking good thoughts. But here is another idea – If you are struggling with your prayer life or quiet time, begin journaling daily love letters to Jesus.  Tell Him all the reasons why you think He is wonderful.  The fact that He is the Lover of your soul will become more and more real to you.  Watch your love for Him increase and your prayer life grow.
  • Gratitude Journal – If depression or sorrow has come into your life, don’t waste any time in beginning a daily Gratitude Journal.  Everyday list something you are grateful for and why you are grateful for it.  Try to write about something different each day.  Your difficulties sort of move to the back as you focus on what God has done for you.
  • Joy Journal – This is the funnest of all journaling. Everyday write something that brings joy to your heart and a smile to your face.  Since I have adorable grandchildren, the cute things they say do more than make me smile. They crack me up. Animals are funny, so are some blogs. Heard any funny jokes lately? Watch that joyless mood of yours lift. What a great treasure you will have one day for someone who might need some joy.
  • Will of God Journal – Wouldn’t if be fun to write a book about the will of God? People always say they wish they knew what the will of God is for their life. You can help them out. All you need is a Bible, a journal and a pen.  As you read the Bible, journal something you learned from it that is clearly God’s will for the lives of His people. It is easier than you think. Try it.

What are your experiences or ideas for  journaling?