Are you listening to God and allowing His voice to change your life? Or are you only hearing Him and letting what He says run past your life?
A friend and I were talking about conversations with God. She asked me if I thought prayer was hearing God or listening to God. Great question. When I am having conversations with God, what is the difference? I know in my parenting days, I could tell when my kids were in the range of hearing my voice but not necessarily listening. No changes occurred! Listening seems to be in the responding, right?
Listen to God to hear Him – what is He saying?
To make change in your life and listen to God, time to hear Him speak is necessary. Taking the time to hear and listen takes practice. You want to be able to respond. Yet He promises
If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. (Jeremiah 29:13, NLT)
In addition to looking for and spending time with Him, you’ll want to get quiet so you can listen. Like in a noisy room, it is hard to hear a quiet voice. Find somewhere that you be quiet, like sitting down for a cup of coffee with Jesus. You can even ask,
What do you want me to know today, Jesus?
Having that desire to listen opens up your mind, heart and body to be able to hear what He has to say.
The big difference between hearing and listening is the response. You may hear Him but not respond, just like with kids. Or you may be speaking to Him and not listening for a response from Him. Listening means you will respond, like in a two-way conversation.
Listen to God to respond to Him – what is He saying that I am to respond to?
Once you have yourself in a good place to listen, how can you facilitate moving forward?
You can be sure it is His voice you are hearing by listening to Him through His word. Psalm 23 is a favorite of mine. You may have read it 20 times. However, you may be surprised at how something fresh can come from reading it every time. He always has something to say from His word. Even reading a Psalm a day can be a way of listening to God to respond to Him. You can be asking,
- What stands out to me in this passage as I read it?
- What is my role in this passage?
- What does God say He will do in this passage?
- What am I to respond to in this passage?
If reading Scriptures are a challenge, ask God to speak to you through creation. The intricacies of His hand can be seen everywhere in nature. The order of His world cries out His creativity, power and majesty. The monarch is a good example. It eats only the milkweed plant. It’s markings lets birds know it is poison. It flies hundreds of thousands of miles to migrate. And that is only one type of butterfly. Think of the varieties of butterflies or the variety of birds or of flowers.
Jesus reminds us of God’s care through creation in this passage:
Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. (Matthew 6:27-29, NLT)
Let God speak to you through His creation and how you can respond to His care of you.
Listen to God to react to Him – how am I to change my path or who I serve or how I interact with Him?
Listening to God can become second nature as you lean into Him each day. Ask Him what your next step is for the day. Have business meetings with Him about your business or parenting or how to survive in quarantine. He wants to get personally involved.
Thank Him for the blessings of each day, big or small. You can thank Him ever for the hard blessings, like having to stay home. What is He teaching you?
When you begin to see the world through His eyes and listen with His ears, you are fully present to His nudging, His perspective, His voice. You gain new insight as to what the next right thing is. You can go about what you are “doing” with clarity and peace, instead of reaction and chaos. Wonder opens up a whole new world.
When you listen to Him, you can know He will lead the way to good changes in your life. I can’t wait to hear about the pathways He opens up for you, especially the peace.
Nancy Booth wants to create safe spaces for you, helping you find ways to have two-way conversations with God. She loves encouraging you to look for ways He is at work. Nancy is a spiritual director and writer. She would love to accompany you on your journey of discovery to hear and see more of the God who delights in you. Peace, hope and freedom could be yours Contact her today..