How to Get Practical Solutions from a Simple Prayer


Prayer. I used to think I sucked at it. Yeah, sometimes I would get an obvious answer, but so often my prayers felt like they were bouncing off the ceiling—going nowhere. Was the silence a “No”, a “not yet” or was God just plain not listening? Sometimes I would resort to old legalistic thinking to explain the lack of answers. Maybe I wasn’t praying in a way that pleased God. Maybe I had sin in my heart. Whatever the reason it left me frustrated and confused.

I so wished that God would communicate with me with handwriting on the wall like he did for King Belshazzar in Daniel 5 (with a different outcome, of course). I wanted something obvious, tangible and undeniable.


For the next few weeks we’ll be looking at a number of tools that will help save your sanity. Whether you’ve been going through a particularly difficult time dealing with your husband’s addiction, or more mundane things like unexpected expenses, challenges with the kids, or increasing self doubt, we all get worn down from time to time. Our joy leaks out and life seems overwhelming.

It’s those times that we have to rely on the tools we’ve acquired to help us move forward. Last week we talked about a simple breathing exercise that can help reduce our stress. I hope you’ve been practicing that one so it will be sharp and ready the next time life seems a bit too much like pressure cooker.

Today, I’m going to share about a special kind of prayer that has literally changed my life.


At its essence, prayer is simply communicating with God, but it takes on many forms. Some of them that are referenced in the Bible are:

SUPPLICATION (requests) – this is probably the one we are most familiar with. You know. . .  those times we bring our “shopping list” to Jesus. In Philippians 4:6-7 God instructs us to bring our requests to Him.

INTERCESSION (pleading on the behalf of someone else) – (1 Timothy 2:1)

FAITH (believing and praying the promises of God) – (Mark 11:20-25)

AGREEMENT – 2 or more people praying in agreement with one another and the Word of God. (Matthew 18:19-20)

PRAISE & WORSHIP (thanksgiving) – (Psalm 100)


BINDING & LOOSENING – (Matthew 18:18-19)

CONTEMPLATION (quiet meditative prayer) – Psalm 27:8

They are all valuable, but, today, we’re going to focus on a form of contemplation prayer that some people call “Listening Prayer”


Listening Prayer is pretty much a cross between supplication and contemplation. We are certainly making a request, but instead of wanting some thing or change in our life, we are seeking to know the heart and mind of God relating to that situation. It is based on the belief that we can still have two-way communication with God.

We are all familiar with scriptures about God talking one on one with Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and countless others. They appeared to be natural human dialogues like we have with the people around us every day. My favorite reference to this is in Exodus 33:11, where it says “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face as a man would talk with his friend.” What a warm and lovely picture.

Another favorite is Isaiah 58:9-11“Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help and He will say, “Here am I,”  . . .and the Lord will guide you always.”


Some people believe that this was just an Old Testament phenomena, and yet, the New Testament eludes to similar conversations:

My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

Here I am, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

There is a popular belief that ever since Jesus came to earth, God speaks through the scriptures—which certainly He does. But nowhere in the Bible does it say that God ever quit trying to talk to us “face to face,” as well.

The problem is that we live in a noisy world. There are a LOT of voices competing for our attention. Voices, like 24/7 television, ipods, Facebook, our kids, the enemy’s condemning voice and that infernal critical voice in our very own head. Those are the voices that are loud. We’re used to hearing them. We recognize them.

The Bible says God’s voice is a still, small voice. No wonder it gets drowned out by all the other clatter around us.

We have to train ourselves to tune into God’s voice.


Many years ago—at least twelve, if not fifteen—my husband and I attended a recovery conference at a Vineyard church in California. On one of the conference days, they had a number of elective classes we could select from. We chose a 3-hour class on Listening Prayer. We were hoping that maybe it would help us not to be such “sucky” prayers, but we never dreamed it would be a life changer.

The stories the speaker told about the experiences he, his wife, and the people that they ministered to had had with Listening Prayer were fascinating—and exciting. It was one of those times when you could just sense that you were hearing truth. After the class we bought the speaker’s book, some tapes and other resources, anxious to incorporate this into our own lives once we returned home.

But, I’m ashamed to say, we put the information on the shelf and quickly went back to life as normal. It was almost a year later that we finally blew the dust off the materials and made plans to spend a weekend reviewing what we had learned so many months earlier. We rented a tiny cabin in the woods with very few distractions and settled in with God.

It was scary at first. We couldn’t seem to hear anything. Little by little, though, words and thoughts began to form in our minds. We wrote them down, as we had been taught to do.


At first we had huge doubts about whether these thoughts were from God or mere figments of our own minds. But, we kept going. Eventually we settled into a rhythm. We would pray and ask God to show us his truth about a number of struggles, questions, etc. and we would each write what we thought we were hearing. Time and time again, when we read them aloud, our answers would be extremely similar or one person’s answer would complete the other’s. It happened too often to be coincidence, and our trust began to grow.

Looking back over the years, I don’t know how we would have navigated some of the things we have experienced if it had not been for the wisdom and understanding we received through Listening Prayer. And, through it all, we have gained a much fuller picture of the character of God.


God wants to talk with you, too. He wants to spend time with you. Not only will he provide insight into your problems and struggles, but your relationship and understanding of God will increase in ways you never imagined.

The process is simple. We usually start out with a prayer of invitation. God doesn’t need this. He is always there anxious to speak to us. WE need it to help calm down our racing brains and quiet the loud voices we’re so used to hearing.

-1. Invite Jesus to come and affirm God’s promise that He will be there with a suitable scripture.

For example: “You promised that you would never leave us or forsake us so we know you are here” (Hebrews 13:5), or, if there several of us praying: “You’ve told us that where two or more are gathered in your name, you will be in our midst so we believe that you’re here” (Matthew 18:20)

-2. Confirm the promises of John 10:3-4

“…the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.”

-3. Bind your own way of thinking in the name of Jesus so your habitual thought patterns don’t get in the way of what the Lord would like to do for you.

-4. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the ability to recognize God’s voice.

-5. Sit quietly. If a thought comes into your mind, write it down. It’s nice to have a journal you keep just for this purpose. It doesn’t have to be fancy (although it can be). A spiral notebook or composition book will work just as well.


As I mentioned before, the things we have learned through Listening Prayer have been life-changing. This tool has helped us experience God in a new way.

I’m happy to say that the more we get to know Him and His thoughts, the more our trust in Him continues to grow.

I can’t count the number of times we have asked God about things that seemed totally impossible, only to have Him show us a simple answer for what had seemed so complex.

It’s given us a place to explore and begin to understand our own fears and feelings and a new venue for “casting our cares on Him.”

It may be hard to hear at first, but if you press through the doubts and fears, I KNOW you’ll be SO glad you did. It will change YOUR life, as well!

To help you get started, I’ve gathered some tips that we’ve discovered over the years. You can get a free copy by clicking on the big yellow button, below!

Yes! I want the Listening Prayer Tips

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. — Psalm 25:5

TODAY'S CHAT: Do you already do Listening Prayer? If so, how has it changed your life? If you've never tried to communicate with God in this two-way fashion, what are your concerns?

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