Summary: Class/Message Introduction - Hearing Gods Voice and the Goal of Prayer
Prayer is basic and fundamental in the life of the Born-Again Christian, being the very life line itself. It is simple communication and not some ethereal mental exercise of mystical contemplation and assent to a God that lives ‘way out there somewhere.’ It is an act of worship, the communion of the soul with God - spirit with Spirit - the saved with the Savior. It is both wrestling with God and resting peacefully in His arms. Prayer may include arguing and complaining to God; He understands we are human.
Our study of Touching the Heart of God - The Power of Passionate Prayer should result in a more effective and consistent prayer life. However, that goal will only be reached if you study with the desire and intent to develop such discipline. Pray for specific answers to current needs in your own life as you follow through this study. There will be many times during this course that you feel an urge to pray. Don't neglect such a prompting of the Holy Spirit.
I. HEARING GOD’S VOICE
Operating in the power and anointing of God requires a vibrant prayer life. Prayer is no more than having a simple two way conversation with God. Failure to spend time in prayer is due to lack of intimate relationship with Him. Christians may LOVE Him and want to learn all ABOUT Him, and tell people about Him, but many don’t spend any real quality time WITH Him because they really don’t KNOW Him.
It is like a marriage relationship that is struggling yet both people want to have a good marriage, so they go to counselors and read all the books about HOW to have a good marriage yet they don’t spend any time with each other HAVING a good marriage.
Intellectual knowledge about God is not the same as intimate knowledge of God. The head always gets in the way of the heart. In order to get to the place of truly both KNOWING and LOVING God a person must first be willing to pray (and live) the Gethsemane prayer, “Not my will Lord but Yours” then they must carry their Cross daily because at any moment the Lord may require that a certain area of their life be crucified so that area within can experience true overcoming resurrection power.
Prayer is nothing more than the internal exercise of love. It is a dialogue between the Christian and their Lord that doesn’t need many words because He knows their inmost feelings before they say them. They pray only for what they really desire. Prayer is climbing into the safety of His lap and the under the shadow of His wings. It is how the Christian turns away from, and releases the cares of the world so that they can focus on Him. It is the communion of two lovers lost in intimate embrace. It can be done anywhere at any time and requires both speaking and listening.
Jesus said “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:27-28 NKJV). “Hearing” God’s voice requires “listening” in quiet solitude. “But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (Hab 2:20 KJV). Jesus promised that “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20 NIV).
There are a few things that can hinder hearing God’s voice. The most significant are unconfessed sin (Ps. 66:18), unbelief (James 1:5-8), unforgiveness (Num. 12:1, 20:1012; Mark 11:25), shame (Ex 3:11, 4:13; 2 Cor. 5:17, 21), and fearfulness of God (Hos. 11:2, 7, 8; 1 Jn. 4:18-19).
A. Meditate on the Word
“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Ps 119:97 NIV)
Prayer is what nourishes the spirit. A passionate prayer life begins by meditating on His Word, the Bible. That is how Christians learn to know His voice. They must learn to read the Scriptures as they would devour the letter of a lover. Christians must place their self in the Scriptures and proclaim the truth of His eternal promises as applying to them personally, and accept them as their own. They must learn to speak the Word out loud, direct them to the Savior, and begin to contemplate what they are reading. They must learn to meditate on His Beauty and “streams of living water will flow from within” (John 7:38 NIV).
B. The Still, Small Voice
God’s voice is often heard in stillness. God commanded; “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10 NIV). The Prophet Habakkuk knew the sound of God’s voice (Hab 2:1). Elijah described it as a still, small voice that is often heard as unexpected thoughts, impressions, visions, dreams, or feelings (1 Kings 19:12). An example of this is when a person feels the need to intercede in prayer on behalf of another. The definition of the Hebrew word for intercession (Paga), is “a chance encounter or an accidental intersecting.”