“Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” 1
For many Christians, prayer begins as a monologue, in which the believer talks to (or worse, at) God, and not much else. O what great a tragedy this is! While this first step is great (and certainly better than not praying at all), there is more to be gained from a rich life of prayer. Ultimately, the goal of prayer is dialogue — a conversation with the living God. For this to take place, we must slow down and learn to listen to His gentle whisper.2
God is a Person, and therefore the way we relate to Him is often similar to the way we relate to other people. This means that the Scriptural principles for conversation apply to God just as they apply to the other people we interact with on a daily basis: “…be quick to listen, slow to speak.”3 Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and His sheep hear His voice.4 Yet how many of us rush so often into speaking to God without even taking a moment to listen? We must fix this. We must take Jesus’ exhortation to the churches in Asia Minor seriously: “Listen to what the Spirit says.”5
One way we can learn to listen to God is Lectio Divina, an ancient prayer practice in which Christians use Scripture to listen to the voice of the Spirit. One helpful form of Lectio Divina is the WRAP method,6 which consists of four stages:
As you read a passage of Scripture, write down the words, phrases, or sentences that the Spirit seems to be emphasizing to you at this time.
Ponder the meaning of the words, phrases, or sentences of Scripture that the Spirit has led you to write down.
Through the Spirit’s discernment, think of ways to apply the Scriptural truths to your present life circumstances.
Talk to God about what you have learned through your time in the Scriptures, and take time to listen to what the Spirit says.
~May we all learn to hear the voice of the Lord as He speaks to us, and may we be empowered by His Spirit to do the things He has called us to do, and become the people He has called us to be. Amen.
1. 1 Samuel 3:9 NIV
2. cf. 1 Kings 19:11-13
3. James 1:19 NIV
4. John 10:27
5. (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22)
6. Karen L. Dwyer and Lawrence A. Dwyer – Wrap Yourself in Scripture: A Guide for Lectio Divina
7. A.W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God – Chapter 6: The Speaking Voice