Step number one
In this listening prayer model is simply to getaway. Now that can be super difficult nowadays with all our responsibilities and commitments. But to actually find a place where you can connect with the Holy Spirit is going to be so crucial and you being able to hear his voice record what he's saying to you, and really have confidence that you're connecting with the heart of God.
I love the story from the gospels here in Luke 5:15-16 is talking about Jesus, but the news about him was spreading even further and large crowds were gathering to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
So, he was getting this massive following. But what did he decide to do? He said you know what? I know that if I'm going to be able to serve the Lord the best that I possibly can, I got to get along with them. And so, he would often slip away to the wilderness just to pray and that is such a prime example of what we're called to do.
And yes, we can hear God at any time throughout the day, but there is something special about getting away and getting to a place where you feel completely in tune with the Holy Spirit. A couple of tips on this point your environment really is important.
So if you go into a place that's super cluttered and you just kind of feel stressful and weird noises are being made, all that stuff, that's not going to be a conducive place to connect with the heart of God and be able to listen to what he is saying to you. But if you're coming into a place that is serene and quiet and peaceful, and you just feel good in that place, that's going to make a difference in your prayer time.
Now, another thing that I always like to bring up is consistency. Going to the same place repeatedly establishes a habit in your heart where you say, okay when I'm in this place, I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to be praying, I'm going to be reading my Bible, I'm going to be journaling, I'm going to be hearing from the Holy Spirit.
And so, making sure that you return to that same place, time and time again is going to develop an awesome routine where hearing the voice of God becomes simpler.
And finally, the last piece of advice I have for you in this step is to turn off your cell phone or leave it out in the room or throw it outside. Do it ever get that thing away from you when you're trying to have your quiet time when you're trying to come before the Lord.
Because it is so tempting and I'm right here with you guys. I'm not bashing you; I'm talking from experience. It is so easy to just open that phone app and next thing you know, you're five minutes into cat videos on YouTube, it happens without us even thinking about it sometimes. So, stop that temptation from even being an option and leave your phone out of the equation.
step number two
In this process, you need to power down. Life is so full of stimulation and stress and activity, especially nowadays. And so, you must learn how to quiet your heart and to quiet your mind and begin to enter a place where hearing from the Holy Spirit will be much simpler.
In this place you want to quiet yourself mentally, you want to quiet yourself physically, you want to quiet yourself emotionally. And sometimes that can happen through just taking a few deep breaths for meditating on the presence of the Lord. I find it often helps to worship the Lord before my quiet times. It kind of provides that clean break from just the craziness of the rest of my day.
That really helps me to enter his presence. For some it may be reading your Bible, whatever it is, make sure that you're doing something that is helping you to power down. And like I said, this is a two-step process. You're not only quieting your mind, but you also want to quiet your heart.
You know, we have so many thoughts of what we need to do, our task list, what we need to get for you know, groceries, everything like that. Kind of going through our minds constantly. But guess what, there's also a ton of things going on the inside of you, emotionally, different feelings you had from that conversation you had with your friend earlier from the way that you felt your boss treated you.
All these different things are going on inside your heart too. So, learning how to power down in both of those areas is crucial to be able to quiet yourself, to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. All right, now I want you to think: Where is your favorite place to get alone with God? I love being out in nature so I can get out in the woods, especially the mountains. I love to connect with God in that atmosphere.
step number three
Now it's simple. You just start asking questions. So, in this listening prayer model, you're going to be taking your questions before the Holy Spirit. Now, for those of you who are not used to this, this may seem a little strange at first.
And as much as I would love to constantly hear the audible voice of God, that's not quite how it's worked in my life. Now that does happen for some people. They do have those experiences that are still alive and well today.
But for the most part, the way that I can listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit is when I quiet down and I hear what he's saying on the inside of me where his spirit is interacting with my spirit. And there's a cool verse that backs up this claim.
Jeremiah 33:3 says: “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know”.
God wants us to call and ask him questions. He wants to answer those questions for us. This is a real relationship and we have a real person on the inside of us wanting to share the hearts and intentions and thoughts and emotions of Jesus to us.
So literally asking him questions about things that you're trying to figure out in life is so valuable. This was such a crucial thing for me because specifically with leading a ministry, being the head of my family, I'm just trying to be an overall great follower of Christ.
I have so many questions about what to do, how to do this, where to go, all these different things. And once I began to finally learn like, Hey! I can ask the Holy spirit these questions, I don't have to figure it all out on my own. Like the Holy spirit likes me. He wants to talk to me, and he will give me a lot of these answers that I'm asking for.
And so, once that began to happen, I was able to put specific requests in front of him and feel confident that I was hearing from him, giving me direction and what I should do in those scenarios.
step number four
Now is the time for you to evaluate what you fear, what you felt like you were hearing the Holy Spirit speak to you in step number three.
This process is crucial. You don't want to just take everything that you felt immediately in the moment and just take that for 100% truth and run with it. I think it's really valuable, especially with an open Bible to reread through what you felt the spirit was saying to you and make sure that it is being backed up by biblical principles.
Discerning God's will and in there you're going to get a lot more details on this whole process of making sure that you're evaluating what you feel the Spirit's saying to you and that you're making a decision that you can be confident is within God's will for your life.
Another thing to think about when you're looking over and evaluating what you feel the spirit saying to you is: Hey, where was my motivation in this? Was there a selfish motivation? Am I trying to glorify God in this? What is the whole process taking place on the inside of me when I was writing this and there's going to be some questions where you're just going to want to table them?
You don't want to say, you know what? Holy Spirit, I don't know about this currently. And so, you take a few days, you continue to ask him, you continue to press in, you seek some outside counsel for some trustworthy people that you feel will give you some good advice and then you can try to decide.
And with all of that, there's something I like to talk about when we're trying to make decisions and evaluate whether what we're hearing is from the spirit or not.
I say be bold, but don't be crazy. I've heard some crazy stuff in my day of, Oh, the Holy Spirit told me to climb Mount Everest on the 7th of January at 3:42 AM I'm going to summit the peak. I mean, yes, I do believe the Holy Spirit speaks clearly, but there are sometimes where that's been abused, and it's just been taken out for really weird ways.
So, make sure that you're not doing that, but at the same time, be bold. Don't be constantly questioning yourself. Like, Oh, is that the spirit? Oh man, I don't know. And being super wishy-washy. I'm continuing to practice this process and as you continue to practice, you'll develop confidence and you can be bold and feeling that, Hey, this is the direction that I know that the Lord is leading me at this time.
step number five
It is time for you to respond. When you feel confident that you have heard from the spirit and that he's given you direction for a certain area. Now it's time to take what you've heard the Lord say to you and respond to him in prayer. You're going to want to ask him sometimes for further direction on it.
Oftentimes, almost always, I'm asking for the strength and the ability, the wisdom, the partnerships, everything that's going to need to be able to take place for me to fulfill his will in this certain scenario so you're not going to want to just leave it as, oh, I heard this is what the Lord says, and then just stop right there. The responding process is crucial to being able to carry out what you heard.
Now, God is not your magic mirror on the wall where you just go to him and just are going to receive a ton of answers and you kind of go onto your way.
This whole thing. It's about a relationship. He talks to us because he wants to have a relationship with us. And making sure to thank him for those times that he was speaking to you and to enter an intimate conversation with him about those topics.
That is so important in this process. And then before you leave that listening prayer time, ask for some tangible next action steps. A lot of times we can feel that we have this direction of what we're supposed to do, but we don't know the very next step in the process.
And what that ends up doing is it ends up keeping us from even moving forward in the will of God. Especially if it's a big thing that you feel like he's asked you to do. If it's this major project to be able to just look at that straight away and think, Oh, I can accomplish it.
It is not going to be the case. You need to take baby steps. You need to do the next step. And then the next step and then the next step. So, ask him, ask the Holy Spirit, Hey, Holy Spirit, what is my next step in this process? All right, before I go as I promised at the beginning, I'm going to lead you here quickly through my simple journaling process.
Now, there's a couple of ways that you can do this. You can do it on a computer, a laptop, a tablet, whatever. You can do it digitally or a lot of people find it effective to just sit down with a pen and a journal or a pad of paper and be able to do it that way.
The one caution I have for those that want to do it digitally is remembered all the temptations that come from having digital products around while we're in our prayer time text messages, new email notifications, all those things, that is one thing that you're going to want to try to minimize if you are going to be journaling on a computer, tablets, something like that.
One thing that I always do is I like to include the date my wife's gotten into this cool habit where she is looking back a year from the date that it is currently and just seeing where she was at, seeing what was on her mind, where she was with the lord, where she was with our family, with career, all that stuff. And dating these things is a great thing to do just to be able to look back and know when you were thinking and feeling a certain way. Another thing that I encourage is to write out the question that you ask.
A lot of times if you're just journaling what you feel the spirit saying without writing out the question, you're going to be confused that, Hey, what was I trying to figure out in this scenario? So, write out your question and then make it obvious where you feel. Hey, this is what the spirit was saying in this way.
I like to kind of move it over a little bit and an indent those lines so that I know, okay, the Holy Spirit was, was trying to speak in this way. Now, right here in your journals, you're going to want to also write out your responses, those prayers that you, that you pray back to God.
It's often helpful to write those out. Write down the next actions that you feel like he's leading you in. And then like I mentioned before, if my wife looks back at these journals you know, actually take time, make it a routine to every so often.
Look back and see where you were in a particular season, all that the Lord's done and bring you to the current season you're in. I've given you three answers to choose from here:
All right. Before you go, make sure to take a look at our keys to the kingdom free mini-course.
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