Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Tips for Listening to God

Since I was talking on Sunday about Peter not discerning God's plan very easily and this morning we taught the Primary School about Samuel struggling to hear God's voice, it seems like perhaps it's a good time to dish out some advice on how to listen to God!

It's one of those things preachers often seem to be saying - 'Listen to God, anyone can hear from God'. And yet when it comes down to it, lots of Christians feel like they struggle and very rarely hear God speaking to them. So let's get practical. How to hear from God and be fairly certain you're not just making it up...

1) Set aside some time and find a quiet place with no distractions. A comfy chair and a cup of coffee may assist with this! Jesus frequently took himself off to pray in places where He could be quiet and alone.

2) Actually listen. It's okay to pray to God without listing your requests/concerns. A simple "God, please speak to me during this time I have set aside," will do. And wait patiently.

3) Give God opportunity to speak to you through something. Very often listening to God means picking up your bible and having a little read. Or you could have a flick through a book of devotions, or some other Christian literature, or watch/listen to a Christian speaker online, whatever means you like. Just pray that God will help you select the right thing and speak to you through it.

(In general choose authors/speakers etc that come recommended by mature Christians you trust).

4) Write it down. If you feel you've heard something from God, it is very easy to back away from it later and start to doubt yourself. Just because you've written it down, doesn't mean you don't have to test out what you've heard, it just means you won't be so inclined to brush it aside and forget it!

5) Test it out. The bible tells us to 'weigh up' the things we hear, because it can be very difficult to separate our own thoughts from Gods. Testing involves:

a) Praying about it repeatedly and asking to feel 'at peace' about it if you've heard correctly. If it still feels right over a long period of praying and considering, that's a good sign.

b) Checking it's consistent with the bible. If what you think God is saying seems to contradict the bible, you should have serious doubts about it.

c) Asking a mature Christian to discuss it with you and pray it over too. If you're unsure, getting a second (or third or fourth!) opinion from sensible, mature, loving Christians can be really helpful.

d) Looking out for other signs of confirmation. Did the preacher on Sunday bring up the same point? Did you hear the very same issue discussed on the radio just the other day? Were you reading a bible verse that said something similar yesterday? These may not be coincidences...

If this all seems like a bit of an effort, just remember, it does get easier. You do start to get more accustomed to hearing God's voice and separating it from your own. In fact, you'll probably start to find it extremely exciting living with more and more of God's guidance - I still find it exciting every time He speaks to me!

Give it a go, you may well be amazed at the results.


Interested in more?
Check out some of our Sunday sermons at: http://www.buresbaptistchurch.org/sermon_catchup.php 

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