By Stacy Padrick
When we think about prayer, listening isn’t generally the first thing that comes to mind. But prayer is communion with God—and that requires that we listen to what’s on God’s heart in addition to expressing what’s on our own. That isn’t something that comes naturally to most of us. How can we cultivate our listening skills so that we can hear His voice?
I used to think, if only God would speak more clearly, I would follow Him more closely. I have often complained that His still, small voice seemed too quiet. But at unexpected times—when I became still—I have heard Him, longing to be heard and waiting for my ears to be open and attentive.
God desires to communicate with His people, even more than we desire to communicate with Him! He is still the same God He has always been and He continues to speak to us. I have learned to hear His voice through listening prayer—what some call contemplative prayer.
Contemplative prayer is thoughtful, reflective prayer. How can we, in our world of incessant noise and activity, incorporate it into our daily lives? It requires effort, active listening, focused attention, and confident expectation that God will speak.
Throughout the Psalms, David models someone who waits on God in this way: “My soul waits in silence for God only” (Psalm 62:1 NASB); “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2).
Contemplative prayer is being with God, empty-handed, waiting attentively for whatever He wants to say. It is the discipline of being still and knowing that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
re-posted from Disciple! Monthly 3/2015