Listening Prayer: Learn to Hear His Voice
by James Goll
Having a Listening Prayer Experience:
Laying the Foundation
The primary verse and emphasis I want to use is Proverbs 8:32-36: “Now therefore, O sons, listen to Me, for blessed are they who keep My ways. Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the man who listens to Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting at My doorposts. For he who finds Me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD. But he who sins against Me injures himself; all those who hate Me love death.”
There are three key words which are in the passive, continuous tense:
The promise is in verse 35:
1. “When you find Me you find life!”
2. “You will obtain favor from the Lord.”
But how do you find Him?
Two Listening Prayer Experiences From the Life of Joshua
First, in Exodus 17:8-13, Aaron and Hur held up the hands of Moses, and as they did, Joshua would win the battle in the field. (This shows the life of the warrior is tied to the power of intercession and praise, i.e. uplifted hands and arms).
Second, in Exodus 33:7-11, while all the other people would return to their own tents and carry out their own “business as usual,” young Joshua would wait at the entrance of the tent of meeting. He would be the first to see the reflection of God’s glory and Moses’ face. This positioning of ourselves at the feet of Jesus—this listening, waiting and watching—will do this for us as well. We will see the face of Jesus and the radiance of God’s light shall shine upon us.
A Listening Prayer Experience From the Life of David
Psalm 84:1-12, especially Psalm 84:10, shows an example of a listening prayer experience from the life of David:
“For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of My God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness. (I would rather be a doorkeeper.)”
David knew the art of waiting at the threshold of the door of the house of God. This is the art of listening, waiting and watching.
The Lost Art of Listening
The primary verse I want to focus on now is Isaiah 50:4,5: “The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens me morning by morning. He awakens my ear to listen as a disciple. The Lord God has opened by ear; and I was not disobedient, nor did I turn back.”
Pray these verses over your own life. Ask that you be given a listening ear. But please note that we do not each “hear” in the same manner. (See my book The Beginner’s Guide to Hearing God for details on that subject.)
Mark 9:1-8—The Transfiguration
“Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!’ And all at once they looked around and saw no one with them any more, except Jesus alone.”—Mark 9:7, 8
1. These Scriptures depict the jealousy of the Father for His Son. It demonstrates His great longing to speak to us.
2. They saw no one any more, except Jesus. In order to hear God, we must learn to deal with distraction. The key is to be so focused on Him that everything else fades in the background.
3. They could have gotten caught up in lengthy discussions of the past or present moves of God (Moses—the Law; and Elijah—the prophets). But the Father directed their eyes to see Jesus only.
4. We need a revelation of His loveliness. This is a higher path than just resisting evil. When we will see and know His love, then we will stop and listen.
Luke 19:45-48—Listening In The Temple
“And they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said.”—Luke 19:48
May a corporate people in our day emerge who will press in daily and listen to His every word. A promise of protection awaits such a people.
Obstacles to Hearing God’s Voice
There are at least seven reasons why Christians today do not hear from God on a regular (even daily) basis. They are:
1. Lack of faith to believe that hearing from God is for today.
2. Lack of a commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord of their life.
3. The presence of unconfessed sin and a “double-standard” lifestyle.
4. Ignorance of the Scriptural evidence of the Believer’s privilege to hear from God personally.
5. Lack of teaching on how to pursue such a listening prayer experience.
6. Fear of being called a “religious fanatic” or “off balanced.”
7. Fear of being open to the “wrong spirits” or being led astray by the enemy.
Assurance That God is Speaking
If you can respond to the following statements affirmatively, then rest assured that God is speaking to you:
1. What I heard helps me to respect (fear) the Lord and to depart from evil (Job 28:28).
2. The message increases my faith in or my knowledge and understanding of Scripture (Proverbs 4:7).
3. The actions that will result from following this will be full of spiritual fruits: purity, peace, gentleness, mercy, courtesy, good deeds, sincerity, and without hypocrisy (James 3:17).
4. What I heard strengthens me “with all might” so that I can keep going no matter what happens (Colossians 1:11).
5. It causes me to experience joyfulness and thanksgiving to the Father (Colossians 1:12).
Let Us Practice!
Let us learn the lessons of the ongoing activity of listening, waiting and watching. This week in our Global PrayerStorm efforts, let’s commit ourselves to these skills so that we will truly find Him and obtain favor from the Lord. Let us be alert and learn the lost arts of communion with our Master through our Listening Prayer Experience.
Father, in Jesus’ name, I bring these lovely Believers to you this week. I am asking that you open their ears to hear like disciples. I am asking that, “You speak Lord, Your servants are listening.” May sweet communion with You be their joy this week, and may Your voice be heard and acted upon for Your holy name’s sake! Amen and Amen!
James W. Goll
Encounters Network and PrayerStorm
This article reprinted by permission from