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How to do listening prayer

How do you listen to God?  There are different styles of listening / learning, you know.

by George Hartwell M.Sc. © 2009

George Hartwell M.Sc. is a Christian counselor with a masters degree from the University of Calgary, 40 years experience and who integrates prayer therapy into his professional counseling practice.  To learn all About George or his professional practice see: George's Professional web site, Christian marriage counselling, Christian phone therapy, and Christian Marriage Retreats.  To e-mail George click on: , Professional-practice-home   

People learn in different ways.  People listen in different ways.  There are many ways to do listening prayer.

1.  If you learn well from pictures, photos and visuals you are a visual learner.  You may well be receiving revelation in your human spirit as visual messages: pictures, scenes, dramas, dreams and visions. (Right Brain).

2.  If you like the spoken word;  if you learn well through your ear;  then you may be an audio learner.  It is likely that you would receive revelation in the spirit by way of listening, that is a word spoken.  This means you get a message in words not that you are 'hearing voices.'  We are talking about receptivity to the still small voice of God.  It is the Spirit telling you the message in words (Left Brain).

3.  Perhaps, like me, you receive through feelings, a 'gut feel' if you will, a motivation toward or away from something, a "sense" that something is wrong.  You may learn hands on.  You may express yourself in dance or with your hands.  You might be considered a kinaesthetic learner.  The Spirit moves you by moving upon your feelings and in the motion of your body.  You may have trouble, at first, putting in to words what you are sensing.

4.  Then there are ideas.  All you need to do is to catch hold of the ideas you get.  If they arrive spontaneously they may be from God.  Be open to the fact that something that suddenly occurs to you may be of God.  Something you suddenly remember may be of God.

5.  Scripture can be 'brought to our remembrance.'  Reminding us of scripture is the role of the Holy Spirit.  When scripture verses suddenly 'come to mind' it may be of God.  There may also be some confidence (assurance) in your heart that this is of God.  This, too, is listening prayer.

So there is no one way to do listening prayer.  That is because there are many ways to receive revelation from God.  Our role is to be humble and ready to receive from God the very moment we form a question; open to the many ways that God speaks to us. 

The above three styles of listening (and learning) tell us that there is no one way to do listening prayer.

The point is to listen.  To be still and listen.  To take time to listen.  To wait before we mouth off.

Give God a chance.  Listen.  Let God surprise you!

If Jesus did nothing but what he saw the Father doing; if all that he taught came from the Father then we too must take seriously the need to listen before we open our mouth.

Purity means no adulteration.  One thing is needful and that is that we pray the word of God.  We need to pray as the spirit moves in us. Complete purity means no confidence in our own prayers.  "My prayers accomplish nothing, but "with God" all things are possible.  We pray "with God."  We pray as God leads.  We pray out of the Mind of Christ.  We have no confidence in are own minds.  We know we are poor.  We want to know God.

By George Hartwell M.Sc. (Professional Therapist - for services see

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