Have you ever tried to pray, but couldn’t find the words? Have you ever wanted so badly to talk to God but found that you were just too tired to speak? I have, especially lately. God revealed something to me recently. He has reminded me that prayer is a two-way street, a two way form of communication. Prayer isn’t always about speaking; it’s not always about what we want to say. Sometimes, prayer is about listening. In fact, that should be 50% of it!
How could a good and healthy relationship consist of only one person doing the communicating? It simply can’t! Relationships are a two way street. Prayer is a two way street.
I’ve come to the revelation that not every time we sit down to pray, unable to focus, are we experiencing spiritual warfare. Sometimes, it’s actually God telling us to listen; it’s His turn to speak.
God has been teaching me lately the value of being a good listener. This passed weekend after getting my hair done, I walked up to the counter to pay for my services, and I didn’t hesitate to leave my stylist a very generous tip. The reason for that being she has one of the most important qualities I look for in a hair stylist: good listening skills. Have you ever been to a stylist who just simply didn’t take the time to listen? It doesn’t matter how good someone is at styling hair, if they don’t listen to what it is that you want, then you will never be truly satisfied. Listening takes time. It takes humbling yourself enough to ask questions if you don’t have a clear understanding of what the client is asking for. Likewise, when God is trying to tell us something, we may tend to tune Him out and hear what we want because it’s easier for us that way. In the end, just like that stylist who doesn’t care enough to listen, we are only hurting ourselves and missing out on a healthy relationship with God.
So how do we do this? How do we listen to God when He doesn’t audibly speak to us? We listen by tuning out the noise of the world and tuning into God. We empty out, so He can pour in. We have to learn to quiet our minds. For some of us (especially for me) this can prove to be really difficult.
Quiet time, studying and meditating on Scripture, listening to worship music—these are all wonderful ways we are able to listen to God. Personally, one of my favorite ways to listen to God is through my writing. He pours into me, and I pour it out into the world. When I write, it isn’t merely myself that’s speaking; God speaks through me. I know this to be true because so often, I learn while I write. Sometimes I will write something and not even truly be able to explain where it came from other than God Himself. In fact, that’s why I’m unable to articulate even half as good verbally speaking as I can through writing. It’s just the way I’m wired. I hope this encourages you to tap into your own unique gifting. You’ll come to realize that it’s one of the easiest ways to hear God speak to you.
“The Gift of a Dozen Reasons” was the fruit of God’s pour. It was summer, and I had just poured out a series of blog posts. Once I pour out a project, a blog post, or a series of blog posts, I must wait in faith for God to pour back in. I must listen for His voice. Listening too requires faith, faith that God will in fact speak to you.
It was during this time, I took a photo of myself holding a bouquet of flowers, and I asked God what He wanted me to write about because I couldn’t come up with anything. That’s when the poem came to me, truly a gift from God.
Once my book was published, by the end of December, I felt a brief emptiness followed by a flood of inspiration. Idea after idea— they were all coming to me so fast, I hardly had the time to record them. You see, when we have been emptied, God is then able to pour back in.
I noticed it was difficult for me to pray during this time of inspiration; it was difficult for me to talk to God. My mind was so active, I found it hard to focus. That’s when I realized it was because God was speaking to me!
When we make the choice to pour out what God pours in us, you can rest assured there will be fruit, even if you can’t see it right away and even if you don’t ever see it. Our Lord is a Lord of intention and purpose. I have faith that the things I create are reaching someone somewhere that needs it. It may not even directly impact them in the moment they see it, but merely plant a seed, a seed that will be watered and one day grow into a blessing.
I hope this encourages you to make space for God to pour into you. Finish the project. Publish the book. See that you’re bringing the thing(s) God has inspired you to do to completion. Make quiet time a priority. Make prayer a priority, but don’t forget to listen. It’s then and only then we are able to hear His voice and receive the pour of living water.
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