The Listening Side of Prayer

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” – Mother Teresa

When asked to define what prayer is, most of us would respond by saying that prayer is talking to God. It includes bringing our requests to Him, giving thanks for His blessings and praising Him for who He is.

All these things are part of prayer. But that is only one side of prayer. Prayer is not meant to be one-way communication. One-sided conversations create one-sided relationships. In order to have a true relationship with God, our communication must be two-way; we must hear from and listen to what God has to say to us. It is only when we reach this place of two-way communication that we really begin to understand what prayer is all about.

In the busyness of our lives, we want to quickly leave God a voice mail message and move on with our day, never expecting that He may actually want to have a true conversation with us.

In the Book of Acts, Chapter 10, we have the story of the Apostle Peter receiving a vision from God. In verse 9 of the chapter it tells us what Peter was doing when he received the vision. It tells us that Peter had gone up on the roof “to pray.” Further down in the chapter, in verses 30-32 a man name Cornelius explains to Peter why he sent for him. He tells Peter that he was “in his house praying” when a man in shiny clothes brought him a message from God in answer to his prayer.

So, does that mean that God’s answers to our prayers will always come in visions or be delivered by angels? No, but it does show that God will often respond to us during our times of prayer.


“I seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined.” – George Mueller

It is said that George Mueller, a man who built and financially sustained several orphanages solely through faithful prayer, always prayed with his Bible open before him. Rather than just asking God for what he wanted, or thought he needed, he instead went to the Bible and asked God to show him through Scripture, what he should be praying about. Bible study and prayer go hand and in hand.

Seek God’s will and his direction through thoughtful study of His word in the Bible and be open to receive that direction in your spirit as you pray. When you dial God’s number, expect Him to pick up and answer. Listen with your heart fully prepared by His Word. You’ll be amazed at what the Holy Spirit will whisper to you during those times.

Originally published in Christian Women Lifestyle Xpress 2013

{photo credit Lynnea McCrone}

1 Comment The Listening Side of Prayer

  1. Susan Smith-Grier

    Listening to God is one of my favorite things to do. With that said, too often treat Him like a radio – I listen but I don’t necessarily respond to His promptings. I’m amazed at how our Father will respond to us and guide us in every little thing when we open ourselves to Him. He is forever patient, at least that’s been my experience. When I walk in His guidance, things may not be completely smooth, but they are good. Too often the cares of life intrude on time that could be spent in prayer – listening prayer – but realizing that for what it is is half the battle. It’s only when I truly seek to hear from the Lord that I know I am growing spiritually. To me, being able to hear from Him, to just sit in His presence and “be” is an indicator that I am growing in my walk with Him. Acting on His promptings is an indicator that I am maturing in my walk with Him. Just like regular life, some people grow up, but not everyone becomes mature!


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