Are You Listening? posted by Evangelism Explosion on Feb 06, 2017
Are You Listening?
by Dr. Darrell L. Farney, EE Prayer Ministry
Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”
And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.
– 1 Samuel 3:10 (NASB)
As a boy, I heard my father ask this question a thousand times: Are you listening? Listening was a real challenge for me—and still is!
Growing up in a Christian home, I was very familiar with the story of Samuel. He thought he heard Eli calling him in the middle of the night, but it was really God. When Samuel spoke the words, “Speak Lord for Your servant is listening,” his whole life began to change.
I am convinced that the habit of listening for God’s whispers is the key to a transformed prayer life. In his book The Power of the Whisper, my pastor Bill Hybels admits that his “entire journey boils down to a series of unplanned promptings from Heaven that have charted the course of his life” (p. 16).
We are prone to rush into God’s presence with our requests long before we have taken the time to listen for Him to speak. But King David saw listening as a necessity. “My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation…My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him” (Psalm 62:1,5 NASB). In the forward to Hybels’ book, Wayne Cordeiro writes that the whispers of God guided the souls of the prophets. “In our modern day cacophony of cell phones, email, and instant messaging, God’s people need to listen carefully in order to hear the whispers from above.”
The key to listening to God is to focus our attention on Him. Deepening our prayer life begins by placing ourselves in a listening posture. Solomon said it well in Ecclesiastes 5:2: “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God” (NIV). If I turn my attention to adoring God for whom He is, I am less likely to rush in to ask Him for things that He already knows I need.
Even in intercession for others, we must learn to listen for God’s whispers. Silence and waiting did not come easily to me at first, but the more I practiced them, the more my spirit began to grow. And, as I become more comfortable with waiting on God, I have discovered that more of my prayers, even my prayers for others, are coming right from the heart of God.
My earthly father has been in Heaven for more than half of my life, but my Heavenly Father continues to ask me the question, “Are you listening?”
So instead of blurting out my list of requests to God, I am learning to be silent, only whispering the age-old words of Samuel, “speak Lord for Your servant is listening.”