Experiencing Listening PrayerThe Purpose of this session: Begin communing spirit to spiritwith Christ
I am astounded O Lord that youwould want to communicate with me
I Corinthians 2:9-10However, as it is written:“No eye has seen,no ear has heard,no mind has conceivedwhat God has prepared for those who lovehim”— but God has revealed it to us by hisSpirit.
1 Corinthians 2:10b-11The Spirit searches all things, even thedeep things of God. For who among menknows the thoughts of a man except theman’s spirit within him? In the same wayno one knows the thoughts of God exceptthe Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 2:12-13We have not received the spirit of the worldbut the Spirit who is from God, that wemay understand what God has freelygiven us. This is what we speak, not inwords taught us by human wisdom but inwords taught by the Spirit, expressingspiritual truths in spiritual words.
How I Corinthians 1:9-13 relates toListening Prayer:The Holy Spirit makes known to us the thoughtsof God as we listen to the Lord in prayer. TheLord is not limited to speaking to us only inthis way, but this gives us a picture rather ofone of the ways that the Lord speaks to us. Inspite of the fact that we are just ordinarypeople, God will speak to people like usbecause of us being in a saving relationshipwith Christ Jesus.
But How Could I Distinguish Your VoiceO Lord With All The Commotion ThatGoes On Within Me?
Discussion questions: Does the experience that Tim described whenEsi prayed for him resemble anything you haveever experienced? Have you ever been filled with questions abouthow does God speak and how do you know if itis really the Lord speaking?
Discussion Questions: Does the idea that the Creator of the Universewould want to communicate with us in thehere and now seem a little far fetched to you? What do you think about the assertion thatGod delights in speaking to ordinary people? Is it easier to believe that God would speak toother people rather than to you?
Heart barriers to receiving wordsfrom the Lord in prayer: I have a hard time believing that God wouldspeak to me. How would I know if it was really Godspeaking instead of just a product of myoveractive imagination?
Heart barriers to receiving wordsfrom the Lord in prayer: I talk to myself a lot. With the way that Iam wired, I have a hard time believingthat I would even recognize God’s voiceeven if He did speak to me. I am not sure that I would be able to sortout His words from the constant activitythat is going on inside of me.
Thank you Lord that you want tohave a relationship with me
Prayer time: Tell the Lord that you are glad that He speaksto ordinary people. Tell Him what you are feeling and thinkingabout as it relates to listening prayer. Pause to be quiet and to sit still and to listen
Thank you Lord that You wantto communicate with anordinary person like me
Why would anyone want to beclose to God?Jesus continued: “There was a man who had twosons. The younger one said to his father,Father, give me my share of the estate. So hedivided his property between them."Not long after that, the younger son gottogether all he had, set off for a distantcountry and there squandered his wealth inwild living. After he had spent everything,there was a severe famine in that wholecountry, and he began to be in need.
Why would anyone want to beclose to God?So he went and hired himself out to a citizen ofthat country, who sent him to his fields to feedpigs. He longed to fill his stomach with thepods that the pigs were eating, but no onegave him anything.When he came to his senses, he said, Howmany of my fathers hired men have food tospare, and here I am starving to death!
Why would anyone want to beclose to God?I will set out and go back to my father andsay to him: Father, I have sinned againstheaven and against you. I am no longerworthy to be called your son; make melike one of your hired men. So he got upand went to his father.
God welcomes home prodigal sonsand daughters.But while he was still a long way off, hisfather saw him and was filled withcompassion for him; he ran to his son, threwhis arms around him and kissed him.21The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinnedagainst heaven and against you. I am nolonger worthy to be called your son.’
God welcomes home prodigal sonsand daughters.But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bringthe best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on hisfinger and sandals on his feet. Bring thefattened calf and kill it. Lets have a feast andcelebrate. For this son of mine was dead and isalive again; he was lost and is found.’ So theybegan to celebrate.
The loving relationship thatGod offers to usis astonishing
Our Father who art in heavenWhen Jesus prayed He referred to God as Fatherand taught us to address God the same waywhen we pray. For Jesus this was arelationship of intimacy and love. Theoverwhelming mercy and love that is beingoffered to a sinner in this parable is good newsfor you and me.
Our Father who art in heavenThis parable gives us a window into what aclose personal relationship with God lookslike because of what Jesus has done for usthrough His death and resurrection. However,today the thought of God as Father is painfulor offensive to many. The thought goes alongthese lines, if God is anything like my fatherthan I say no thanks to that kind ofrelationship.
Our Father who art in heavenMany people have a distorted view of what arelationship with God would be like becauseof what they have experienced with parentalrelationships or with those who are inauthority in their lives. When we pray to Godas Father, we will want to do so in the contextof Jesus’ relationship rather than through theprism of our broken relationships.
Questions for consideration: Have you ever given much thought to thepossibility that your relationships with peoplehave impacted the way you approach arelationship with God? Have you ever known anyone who did notwant to get close to God because of a majordisappointment that they had been through?
Questions for consideration: Many people have heard that God loves them,but at a heart level they have a hard timebelieving that this is true. Have you everknown anyone who had distorted ideas aboutGod because of broken relationships orbecause of painful experiences that they havehad in life?
Heart Barriers to receiving God’slove: Why would God love me after what I’vedone? Can I really trust God? How can I get past the painful relationshipsthat influence the way that I feel about havinga personal relationship with the Lord?
Heart Barriers to receiving God’slove: Can I ever get past the disappointments that Ihave experienced in life that get in the way ofgetting close to God? Will God really love me?
Prayer Time: Thank God for the loving relationship that wasmade possible with Him because of what Jesushas done for us. Tell the Lord you would like to experiencebeing God’s beloved child in prayer. Sit quietly before the Lord and let Him loveyou.
Thank You Lord That You sent JesusTo Die On A Cross For Us
The Lord Will Help YouDiscern His Will And PlanFor Your Life
Is there anything I can do that willhelp prepare me to hear from God?While they were worshiping the Lord andfasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for meBarnabas and Saul for the work to which Ihave called them.’ So after they had fastedand prayed, they placed their hands on themand sent them off.– Acts 13:2-3
How this Scripture passage relates tolistening prayer: Barnabas and Saul (or Paul) were worshippingand praying when the Holy Spirit spoke tothem about their mission for Christ. When weworship God, our hearts become open toGod’s leadership. As we continue to seekGod with fasting and prayer the Holy Spiritwill give us the leadership that we need.
How this Scripture passage relates tolistening prayer: We don’t know if these words that the HolySpirit spoke were spoken audibly or into thespirit or heart of those who were there.Regardless of how it happened that the HolySpirit spoke is certain, and they immediatelyacted in obedience to this directive from theHoly Spirit.
Thank You Lord For Your LeadershipAs We Seek Your Will And Plan
Questions for Discussion: Have you ever sought God’s leadership bylistening in prayer? If not, why do you thinkthat this has never happened? Have you ever been a part of a leadership groupthat has sought the Lord’s leadership in prayer?If not, why do you think that this has neverhappened?
Questions for Discussion: What do you think would have to change sothat listening to God in prayer would beconsidered a normal way of doing things? If people heard about listening prayer as a wayof making leadership decisions do you thinkthat they would be excited or resistant to thisway of doing things? Why do you think thatthey might feel one way or the other?
Heart Barriers to Receiving God’sLeadership: Are you afraid of what God might tell you todo? Is turning the control of your life over to Godexciting and exhilarating or is it frightening?
Heart Barriers to Receiving God’sLeadership: Is turning the control of your church over tothe Lord exciting or intimidating? Do you have any fears that you might not everreally know for sure what God’s will might befor your life and ministry?
Prayer Time: Tell the Lord that things would go better if Hewere in charge. Tell the Lord that you would like for Him tobe in charge. Tell the Lord to change you so that you wouldbe willing for Him to be in charge. Spend time resting in His care and listeningfor His leadership.