A Lesson in Listening

As has been made apparent over the past few weeks, I have been feeling led to step up my prayer life, to really learn what it takes to be a prayer warrior.

A few years ago, I heard about One Cry – a group started to bring an awareness of the need to pray for a spiritual awakening. I pledged to pray each night at 8 PM for the country, the world, the church (both worldwide and locally), for those closest to me. I set my alarm for 7:55 each night and prayed for these things. As time went on, I allowed other things to impede my prayer, sometimes only taking a fleeting few seconds to pray before going back to what I had been doing.

I found I have a very short attention span when it comes to prayer. I found that my mind tended to wander off to other things in the middle of my prayer, and I would start to pray about other things than what I was intending, and then it would jump the rails and go off down a path to something else entirely. I would steer it back, but eventually, it would jump off again and I would find my thoughts on daily tasks and problems and not on my prayer.

And when I was praying, I found it more of a one sided conversation. Granted, I was praying for others, for the President, the country, the church, my friends and family; but I was so focused on my petitions, I was not listening to anything the Lord was trying to tell me.

And then I found myself wondering why God was not talking to me.

I know, right?

I tried to be still, to focus my mind directly on Him, to hear what He was saying. But inevitably, words would start building up at the back of my thoughts and before I knew it, I was talking again, and not listening.

But He has been faithful, once again, and has impressed on me the need to focus my attention on this.

In a pod cast from Charles Stanley recently, he talked about prayer. He asked if we had ever prayed not just because we wanted something but because we wanted fellowship with God, to be in His presence and wanted His attention.

He asked if we had ever just sat, being quiet in the presence of God, of saying “Lord, I don’t want anything today, I just want You.”

That question struck me to the core. I wanted that more than anything. I wanted to feel like I was close to Him, not just kneeling at His feet with a list of petitions; but actually surrounded by His presence, to feel filled with His presence.

That has happened before, but only infrequently, when I have been successful in shoving every thing else away from me.

So I asked for that encounter, and I lay on the couch and closed my eyes, opening up my heart, my mind and my soul to Him. I let my love for Him flow through me, to fill me to overflowing.

And suddenly I could feel Him surrounding me, as if I was absorbed into His presence. I felt peace like never before, and so much love it brought tears flowing down my cheeks.

And then it was as if Jesus was actually sitting there beside me, showing me a film of a specific prayer. And I saw the prayer that I had been praying for years, and the outcome if He answered it the way I had been asking for. I could actually see the outcome as if it were on a screen in my mind, and I realized that the way I was praying for this would never bring around the outcome that I was seeking; would in fact, bring about the exact opposite of my petition.

I had been seeing it from my own human standpoint, asking for what I wanted to happen, in the only way that I could see it working out; not seeing the consequences of such a prayer. He showed me clearly that I was praying all wrong and then led me in the direction He wanted my prayers to go, in a way that He would work out and accomplish. He also showed me that the reason I was not seeing results in this was because of the way I was praying.

So, now, I am seeking His will before I pray, waiting for His direction on how to pray.

And I am listening.

I want more than ever to feel that closeness, that communion, again.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2017

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On Intercessory Prayer by Rev. Andrew Murray

​”It was  intense, continued prayer that prepared the disciples’ hearts, that opened the windows of heaven, that brought down the promised gift. As little as the power of the Spirit could be given without Christ sitting on the throne, could it descend without the disciples on the footstool of the throne. For all the ages the law is laid down here, at the birth of the Church, that whatever else may be found on earth, the power of the Spirit must be prayed down from heaven. The measure of believing, continued prayer will be the measure of the Spirit’s working in the Church. Direct, definite, determined prayer is what we need.”

 
From “THE MINISTRY OF INTERCESSION A PLEA FOR MORE PRAYER”

BY THE  REV. ANDREW MURRAY WELLINGTON, S. AFRICA. 1898