Rethinking How We Pray

Prayer is a two-way conversation with God. It is a dialogue, not a monologue.

I have known that prayer was a continual conversation with God for a couple of years, but in recent times I have started to take a deeper look at my prayer life. I noticed that I would never stop talking to God. I would go on and on until my brain was exhausted. I thought that the way to get closer to God was by always having something to say.

Now I realize that part of prayer is talking to God, but it is not the whole of it.

In a natural relationship, there is a continual cycle of speaking and listening. This is the same in our relationship with God. If we speak, He listens. If He speaks, we listen. Yet, how can we hear what He has to say if we are always doing the talking? Similarly, I would never be able to get a word in if one of my friends never stopped talking. I now realize that I was doing the same thing with God. I was getting frustrated with God for not talking to me even though I was the one who never took the time to listen.

Draw Near to Listen

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few”.
Ecclesiastes 5:1-2

Of course, it is still alright to talk to God, for it is essential that we willingly share our innermost thoughts and feelings with Him to deepen our relationship. It is very important that we intentionally take time to quiet ourselves before Him and listen. This is an act of faith and surrender because we trust that as we listen He will speak to us.

'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'
Jeremiah 33:3

God desires to speak to us more than we desire to hear from Him. He wants to share the secrets of His heart with us and reveal Himself to us, but He cannot do so unless we quiet ourselves before Him and listen.

Listen Continually

“Pray without ceasing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17

I used to understand this verse to mean that we are to “talk to God without ceasing.” This is why I would always feel obligated to speak and get frustrated when there was hardly ever a response. Now I see that this verse means that we are to cultivate an awareness of His presence which results in us having a prayerful life. We do not always need to be talking to God, but we still need to be ready to listen and take to heart what He speaks. If we are aware of Him, we will default to speaking and listening to Him in every situation. We will develop an attitude of humility as we continue to depend on Him.

As with any conversation, prayer is a balance of speaking and listening. This newfound discovery is totally revolutionary to me and I am on the journey of learning how to intentionally listen. Remember, God has so much that He wants to reveal to you and all you have to do is be receptive to it.

*This article was inspired by John Bevere’s book, “Drawing Near: A Life of Intimacy with God.” I have just finished reading it for the second time and I absolutely love it. It is such a great read full of the heart of God.

Here is a link if you would like to check it out: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007V8WVZG/