This article by Glory Johnson will be featured in the May 2020 Pulse newsletter.
Back in November, I held a half-day offering on prayer. I’m no expert on prayer and there are many ways to pray. I want to begin to share with you something called, “Listening Prayer,” and how this way of praying has changed my life.
The present sermon series at St. James has been on, “What makes a vital congregation”. For me, my prayer life is vital… it gives me vitality. I grew up in a Christian home and participating in church, but my prayer life wasn’t much. It included talking at God, asking God for things and confession. It wasn’t until my college years that I learned about “Listening Prayer.” Listening Prayer taught me that I can have a two-way conversation with God, that God wants to speak back, that God wants to share God’s heart with me, and that I can experience God. It was and is all about being in relationship with God, where giving and receiving is happening.
Listening prayer is learning to trust that we can hear the still small voice of 1 Kings 19:11-13 and the voice that the sheep hear in John 10:27. Like any form of prayer or meditation, it takes practice and time to be still and to start tuning in to ways that God might be speaking to you. Examples of various ways you might consider hearing from God include:
- a song touching you inside
- a “perfect timing” sermon or call from a friend
- reading the bible and a verse jumping right out at you.
Many people feel God in nature. Another way of listening to God is through listening to our bodies, which I hope to share about more another time. A Listening Prayer question to try is asking God, “If You would want to play a game with me, what game would it be and why?” It may sound like a silly question, but this is how we start to listen, and this how down to earth God is.
When I was first introduced to Listening Prayer and I asked this question, I heard the game, “Hide and Seek.” I then asked God, “Why that game?” and I heard, “Because I want to be found.” When you start to listen, you might get a picture or get a sense of something. Trust what usually arises first in your mind. If you want to learn more about Listening Prayer, a great book is, “Can You Hear Me?” by Brad Jersak.
I also hope to have another offering down the road, but, in the meantime, if anyone might be interested in conversation about Listening Prayer, I would love to continue the conversation with you.