“He who belongs to God hears what God says” - Jn 8:47 Most of my prayer life I don’t think I actually believed this. I thought God spoke to ultra holy people. He obviously spoke to different people in the bible and saints, but I wasn’t like those people. I was too ordinary. My prayer life consisted of more formal prayers like the Our Father or Hail Mary. I spoke to God when I had petitions on my heart, or needed something. I had my own agenda and prayer was definitely driven by me, not God. I was selfish in prayer, it was very one sided. I did all the talking. The idea that God desires to talk to me was foreign. Gradually my idea of prayer changed, and so did my style. I would slowly add quiet time into my prayer, and it was so strange at first. I spent more time worried about if I was praying right, then actually having my heart in prayer and speaking to God. With time and practice prayer became more of a conversation and it started to feel like I had a friendship with God. My prayer life was progressing, but I still didn’t fully understand what it meant to hear God in prayer.
I attended the Encounter Conference in January they spoke about how God reveals who he is to us in prayer. God speaks to us all uniquely and in different ways. We see God’s heart through signs, pictures, art, and images. We feel God’s heart through other people, our senses, and nature. We hear God’s heart. This can be internally, like when something or someone is placed on our hearts or externally, like in a whisper.
So how do we know what we receive in prayer is from God and not ourselves? We need to again remind ourselves of the truth that God wants to speak to us, and is constantly trying to encounter us. So we should pay attention to what comes up in prayer. There are 3 voices that we may be hearing. God’s voice, Satan’s voice, and our voice.
- God’ voice: speaks TRUTH, brings peace
- Satan’s voice: lies, scares, tricks you, confuses you
- Our voice: focuses on me, my needs, desires, comforts
Discernment on what voice we are hearing is done in prayer and it takes lots of practice! Pay attention to how your feeling when in prayer. Often times when I’m in prayer and asking the Lord for guidance. I say a prayer like “Lord help quiet my mind and heart so I can better hear your voice” or “Lord help me to be aware of how your working in my life.” Then I sit quietly and listen. Pay attention to what thoughts are coming to mind and how am feeling. It’s okay to ask God for clarification, or to better explain something to you. “Lord I’m feeling really torn about what I desire and what you desire, please give me understanding.” It can be confusing, so if you are unsure about who’s voice you are listening to, seek guidance. The staff is always available to meet up and talk things through. It can be really helpful to get another persons perspective on a situation. I really want to encourage you to be patient with God and yourself as you learn how to better communicate and speak with God.