Too many times we come to God so full of what we want to say that we don’t give Him time to speak. We pour out our hearts because we’ve been told we can. We rehearse our fears. We ask for what we think will make something better. But we leave empty because we didn’t give God the same amount of time to speak to us.
Or we just don’t know how to hear Him.
I think that’s what is behind everyone’s desire to deepen their devotional life. We want to hear from God. We just aren’t sure how.
I am as guilty as you. What I know and what I do are often too far from each other. But as I start this New Year, I’m looking for ways to close the gap, especially in giving God time to speak.
Here are some things I’m learning:
What God wants to say to me is more important than what I can say to God.
That doesn’t mean I don’t do any talking; it means I do less of it. I show up to listen. When I listen first, my response is more praise than panic. My very words change because I’ve heard from God.
God already knows what I am thinking, feeling, hoping, dreaming, or fearing.
I don’t have to explain where it came from or why it fills my consciousness or what I think God should do about it. He knows. That knowledge has comfort and encouragement for me if I will acknowledge it. It also protects me from assuming my analysis is the only one that matters.
Ask questions that allows God to answer with what He knows I need.
I’m learning to ask how and what questions rather than why and when questions. How can I handle this? What do you want me to do about this? These questions acknowledge that God has something to say that I will miss if I do all the talking and explaining.
Use scripture to help listen to God.
This is where I have learned how important it is to have a regular Bible reading plan in place. My chances to hear from God increase dramatically when I am reading the Bible regularly. I can always set my plan aside when God sends me elsewhere; but His Word, not someone else’s, should always be my starting place.
God is a speaking God. He is the originator of all communication. His words create, heal, direct, warn, and discipline. He has saved some of His best words for you today. Just listen!
Quiet Circle Time
Deuteronomy 5:27 says “Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says.” Before you start a Bible study or Bible reading time, ask one of these questions: What do you want to say to me today? How can I listen more attentively? Ask them because you already know what you think, but you want to know what God thinks. Then, read or study as a way of listening. Live your day listening.