Of course, this is the opposite of how Samuel prayed, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” Many of us grew up with a man-centered view of prayer. That’s why scores of believers cannot relate to God on any basis other than “asking.” It is true that asking is a vital part of prayer, yet it is only one aspect.
Perhaps the most neglected part of modern prayer is “listening.” Samuel appealed to God. He wanted to hear God’s voice. He said, ‘Speak to me Lord, I’m listening.’ He longed to hear from God, and so must we.
God spoke to people in the Old Testament like Samuel, and He still speaks under the new covenant. Jesus said, “All my sheep hear my voice…” God’s voice is heard through the quickened Word, and by His Spirit. “He that has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.” Hearing the speaking voice of God is one of earth’s greatest privileges. Hearing and heeding His voice is essential for all Christians, and especially pastors.
Prayer is conversation between God and man. Two people are required for prayer: one who speaks and one who listens. The Holy Spirit is a conversationalist. He listens, and He also speaks. Have you heard His voice lately? If heaven has been silent for a prolonged season, it may be time to re-visit the “secret place.”
Listening to God is an acquired skill. It requires a quiet time, a quiet heart, and a quiet place. Bombarding heaven with requests apart from thanksgiving, praise, and “listening” is foreign to the Scriptural pattern. Ask God to open your heart as you open your Bible. It’s the speaking voice of God that will make the difference in your spiritual life.
So instead of approaching God with only requests; get still, get quiet, and pray like Samuel, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Before you tell Him what’s on your mind, listen up and see what’s on His mind. Enjoy a season of communion and fellowship with the Lord now, and every day. You just may get refreshed and restored in your soul.
*Learn more about THE LISTENING PROTOCOL (available in the book “Approaching God’s Throne: Biblical Protocols for Prayer” by Harold Vaughan).