Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Listening to Ourselves Talk

The biggest problem with your prayer life is almost undoubtedly how much you talk when you pray.

I listen to myself talk all day. Even when my mouth is quiet, my voice prattles on in the never ending stream of thoughts in my head. I don't need to spend another minute listening to myself recount my worries and troubles. So if that is how you pray, then it is no wonder that you don't like it very much!

God commands, "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). Yet for many of us our prayers are just as filled with activity and anxiety as the rest of our days. The prophet Zephaniah promises that God will quiet His children like a mother quiets her baby, yet so often we come before the Lord disquieted, anxious and worried (Zephaniah 3:17). This shows our lack of trust in His plan. Jesus told His disciples not to heap up empty phrases or use many words when they prayed (Matthew 6:7). Yet, many of our prayers are just that: a vain repetition of empty religious phrases.

Prayer was designed to be much more than this. It is more than talking to yourself and hoping that someone "up there" hears you. Prayer is a conversation! Prayer is an experience! It is catching a glimpse of God's majesty in His Word and then sitting at His feet in silent awe. It is trying to find words to praise this great God and thank Him for all He has done for you. And yes it is also bringing your troubles to Him. But once you have cried out to Him for help, you need to fall silent and give God a chance to respond.

When you ask God for something (especially guidance), pause for a moment to listen with your spirit. Do you sense His presence or His comfort? Do you feel His affirmation in your heart or in your gut? Do you feel the lightening of your load as He removes your burdens and puts His yoke in their place? You won't always feel one of these things, but it's good to at least pause for a moment to afford God the chance to speak to you. So the next time you pray, lift your concerns and your heart up to Him simply, and then be silent and give Him a chance to get a word in edgewise!

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