Recently I have been exercising an entirely new concept into my prayer-life that was foreign to me until maybe a year ago, the idea of listening in prayer. People immediately freak-out, including myself, when it is first mentioned, though…
- “Does that mean I’ll audibly hear His voice?”
- “How can you discern if it’s really God?”
- “Why would you suggest such a radical notion?”
All of these are great questions…but I’m not going to attempt to answer them at this time. I believe the Holy Spirit can defend Himself on this one. Allow me to explain…
There are many spirit-filled people in my life currently that I am eternally grateful for. For some, their greatest gifts lie in their ability to be prayerfully perceptive and to seek out the will of God in every situation. One of these wonderful people is the man that is currently discipling me (Christian lingo for mentoring). During our weekly meetings together, we are going through a book entitled “God Guides”, written by a former missionary from India, Mary Geegh. In the book, Geegh shares story-after-story, time-after-time, where men and women have waited upon the LORD for direction in their lives and sought Him out in prayer…and God has come through for them! I’m not even halfway through the book yet and I would highly suggest it to absolutely anyone, as it is sure to boost your faith in the power of prayer.
I understand your hesitancy. Even while reading all of these excellent, praiseworthy stories, I was taken aback and not entirely sure that I fully believed in the ability of the Spirit to speak in prayer, and for me to listen. As any man who struggles with pride at times would have done, I took a “prove me wrong” mentality with the Holy Spirit…and had no idea what I was getting myself into.
A few nights ago, I could not sleep. Trust me, I tried, but it was useless. I laid there thinking, “why can I not sleep?…Coffee? No. Soda? No…Anxiety?…No, I’m actually at peace…”, I was just not able to fall asleep and felt called to spend some time in prayer for my friends, so with absolutely nothing else to do at 2am, I began to pray. But something changed. I listened.
“LORD, who do you want me to pray for?”
A random person would come across my mind, often someone I had not thought of, or talked to, in quite a while, and then I would ask…
“Okay, so… [insert name here], what do you want me to pray over them?”
And strangely enough, various words, passages of Scripture, etc. began to come across my mind, so I jotted them down quickly in my journal and began to pray as guided.
Pretty cool, right?
Stay with me, it gets better!
After spending a solid-hour, unable to sleep, and drawn into a sweet time of prayer with the LORD for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I sent them each a message that looked something like this:
“Hey [insert name here], this may catch you off-guard, but I felt led to pray for [insert topic here] tonight, does that resonate with you? Is there anything specific I can lift up in prayer?”
The responses were ridiculous. I wish I could share them with you, but I would not breach the confidentiality of my dear friends. Here is what you need to know. Not a single one wrote me back saying, “How dare you pray for me?!?!…You were totally off…” Quite the opposite occurred. “Dude, that was spot on…praise God! I’ll have to tell you more later, but please keep praying for….” was the unanimous response.
I was so humbled.
Thinking back to my years of prayer-life, I’d say that it has always been fairly strong. I do not say that out of arrogance, I just sincerely depend upon casting my anxieties at the feet of Jesus far more often than the ordinary person, as anxiety is probably one of my larger struggles. However, I have never been one to silence myself for just a minute, to listen for an answer…and I’m finding that can make all the difference. Trust me. Better yet, trust God. Give it a shot!
Friends, do not simply ignore the light nudges of the Holy Spirit. Listening intently in prayer and walking obediently to those simple heart-tugs can be ridiculously fruitful and will surely increase faith. It may sound “charismatic” at first, but trust me when I say that “God Guides.”