• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Listening to God

Thanks to John W. for this week’s post on A Praying Life:

I have appreciated Paul Miller’s “A Praying Life”.  Some of the old classics honestly left me cold or overwhelmed.  This is a wonderful book steeped in the experience of a man who learned to walk prayerfully with God as (with his wife Jill) as he raised his autistic daughter. This is one of the most refreshing books on prayer I have read, which shows that at the heart of prayer is a unique attitude of sincere trust in God without skepticism and with a conscious connection with God in a “distracting world”.

It is not expressly a how-to book, or a doctrinal lesson on prayer.  It is a biography of a praying life!  And yet, the doctrine is there, and the how to of prayer is there too; but not in dogma; rather by example.

I found chapter 10 is one of the gems of this book. A certain kind of “listening to God” has recently become a bit of a fad in some circles. Of course, we must listen to God; but Paul Miller shows us two fundamental extremes or errors to avoid:

On the one hand, listening to God becomes a legalistic exercise in obedience to the letter, without allowing the Spirit of God to direct or change the heart.

On the other hand, listening to God becomes a subjective experience and feeling which too easily runs amok (unguarded by Scripture), and baptizes our selfish desires with religious language.

Paul Miller strikes the balance.

4 Responses

  1. I especially like one of John’s phrases. It might even be considered a partial/practical defiinition of prayer.
    Prayer is….”a conscious connection with God in a ‘distracting world’ ”.

    And, Ken Boa’s book, Conformed to His Image, provides a simple admonishment that aligns with John’s last point; (p.316 “It is healthy not only to keep the windows open but also to keep the screens on.”

  2. Listening to God requires waiting on God. God is eternal and infinite while we His creation are time-bound and finite and often impatient.

    I stumbled with this truth for many years as a Christian since my false view of listening and waiting was passive and consequently overly subjective rather than being active in my listening to God and waiting on God searching the Scriptures. Faith does come from hearing the Word of God. Also If we actively abide in Him and His word abides in us we can ask what we will and it will be done in God’s time.

    • Timeless principles. Thanks for sharing them. Could you share an example from your own personal journey about “‘active listening to God” and how it played out in your life?

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