Talking and Listening to God

August 20, 2012 under Syllabus 2012-2013

Summary

When do you talk to God? When you’re in a bind or need something? Talking to God is important, and we should resonate to Him when times are tough. However, for a closer relationship with God, we have to talk with him on a regular basis, and then listening to God is imperative. Do we only know how to talk to God and ask or tell Him what to do or are we trying equally as hard to listen to what God wants from us?

Objective

The really sad thing about not talking and listening to God, is that you miss a golden opportunity to draw closer to God, to get to know him better, and to let him know that you realize that you want and need his help. When you fail to talk and listen to God, you greatly limit God’s ability to accomplish the things that he wants to do in your life. When you don’t communicate with God you miss the Godly advice given at James 4:8, “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you”. Instead, when you don’t talk or listen to God you pretty much tell him that you don’t need him, that you can do things on your own, that his advice and his concern are not needed, that you are very capable of going through your life under your own power and doing it your own way.

Taken from reading resources below:

And talking to God should be the same as if you were talking to your best friend. You should tell him your thoughts, desires, hurts, and problems, as well as giving him your thanks and praise. Talking to God not only tells God that you have knowledge of him but that you also have faith in him. Talking to God also tells him that you have a desire for his presence in your life and that you need him and are dependent on him.

The bottom line is, we have to make an effort to put ourselves into situations where God can talk to us. The more we truly listen, the more likely we are to act in a manner that is pleasing to God and more joyful for ourselves. How do we talk to God now, and how do we improve our talking and listening skills with God?

Bible Readings

1. 1 Samuel 3:9

‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’

2. Genesis 18:16-32

With Abraham walking with them to see them on their way, the men set out from there and looked down toward Sodom. The LORD considered: Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, now that he is to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth are to find blessing in him? Indeed, I have singled him out that he may direct his children and his household in the future to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD may put into effect for Abraham the promises he made about him. So the LORD said: The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, that I must go down to see whether or not their actions are as bad as the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.

As the men turned and walked on toward Sodom, Abraham remained standing before the LORD. Then Abraham drew near and said: “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous people in the city; would you really sweep away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people within it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike! Far be it from you! Should not the judge of all the world do what is just?” The LORD replied: If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake. Abraham spoke up again: “See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am only dust and ashes! What if there are five less than fifty righteous people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?” I will not destroy it, he answered, if I find forty-five there. But Abraham persisted, saying, “What if only forty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it for the sake of the forty. Then he said, “Do not let my Lord be angry if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it if I can find thirty there. Abraham went on, “Since I have thus presumed to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?” I will not destroy it, he answered, for the sake of the twenty. But he persisted: “Please, do not let my Lord be angry if I speak up this last time. What if ten are found there?” For the sake of the ten, he replied, I will not destroy it.

3. Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

4. James 1:19-20

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Catechism Readings

1. Paragraph 1088

“To accomplish so great a work” – the dispensation or communication of his work of salvation – “Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the Mass not only in the person of his minister, ‘the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,’ but especially in the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes, it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Lastly, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he has promised ‘where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.”‘

2. Paragraph 2839

With bold confidence, we began praying to our Father. In begging him that his name be hallowed, we were in fact asking him that we ourselves might be always made more holy. But though we are clothed with the baptismal garment, we do not cease to sin, to turn away from God. Now, in this new petition, we return to him like the prodigal son and, like the tax collector, recognize that we are sinners before him. Our petition begins with a “confession” of our wretchedness and his mercy. Our hope is firm because, in his Son, “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.

Small Group Questions

  1. Think about a situation you have been in lately and note if you have stopped to listen for God or if you are simply choosing what you think is best to do?
  2. After the discussion above share your thoughts on the possibility you may not like what God wants you to do.
  3. Have you experienced God talking to you in deep prayer or even just quiet time? Share how that happens, how you get there, how it changes you.
  4. Do you talk to God on an everyday basis? Is it formal or informal?
  5. Does God speak to you through others? Through their words or actions?
  6. Do you put God on a time table and if you don’t get the answer you want you simply shut God Down?

Recommended Resources

  1. Listening and Talking to God
    http://robertwells.tripod.com/listeningtogod.html
  2. How to Listen to What God Wants from Me … – Catholic Online
    www.catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=1185
    Book
    : How to Listen When God Is Speaking: A Guide for Modern-Day Catholics [Paperb
    Mitch Pacwa

 

Accountability

  1. This week would be a good time to start thinking of various ways we can let God guide our lives. Take steps to ask God what God wants you to do – NO MATTER WHAT
  2. Commit to one action you will make to talk and/or listen to God and share your experience next week.
  3. Is God talking to others through you? Can you make yourself more aware of opportunities to open another’s life to God through yourself?

Author(s)

Dan Lape – Update

Graham Galloway and Steve Green – Previous work

Included Resources

By Fr. Jonas Abib
Founder Cancao Nova
©Catholic Online 2004

The important thing is always to practice listening to God. You do not listen to Him with your ear but with your heart.

Listening to God is embracing God’s inspirations in your heart. God’s answers us in your heart, in our deepest inmost core where He dwells. If you want an answer from God, look for it deep inside yourself. You should learn to plunge into the temple of your heart and look for your answers there.

It is something that cannot be done externally, amidst noise and lots of activity; it is something that cannot be done in your head. We often try to decide things in our mind, know everything in our conscious mind. Though what we really need is to plunge into our hearts and search for an answer in deep prayer.

We all know the benefits of prayer, especially prayer in tongues, followed by deep silence. In fact, what you experience is not a real silence, an empty silence: on the contrary, it is a silence of plenitude, a pleasant silence, a silence through which you plunge into your own self.

It is something like plunging into the depths of your own spiritual oceans in a sea-probe, going deep down inside yourself and entering that place inside you where God dwells. That is the place where God gives you the seeds for the answers of everything you ask Him.

It is a question of learning how to listen to God.

You listen to Him not with your ears but with the wisdom He inspires you in the recesses of your praying heart.

 

http://robertwells.tripod.com/listeningtogod.html

TALKING AND LISTENING TO GOD (Partial)

Talking to God
We talk to God in order to constantly build and strengthen our relationship with him, to get to know him better, to learn what he expects of us, what we can expect from him, and to find out how we can best accomplish the things that he wants us to do. We also talk to God in order to seek his advice and help, to show him that we recognize his existence and awesome power, and of course to show him that we have trust and confidence in him.

And talking to God should be the same as if you were talking to your best friend. You should tell him your thoughts, desires, hurts, and problems, as well as giving him your thanks and praise. Talking to God not only tells God that you have knowledge of him but that you also have faith in him. Talking to God also tells him that you have a desire for his presence in your life and that you need him and are dependent on him. It also shows God and that you want to be obedient to him. He wants to hear these things from you. He already knows what they are but he wants you to tell them to him. He wants you to make the effort to talk to him and not to take him for granted.

If you really want to communicate and talk to God, if you want to become close to him, if you want to begin to grow strong spiritually, and if you want to begin a glorious and meaningful relationship with him, then do two things.
1) Talk to God daily, in a normal everyday type of conversation. Remember that God can read your mind and that he is constantly observing your inner most thoughts at all times, so he knows what is going on in your heart and your mind far better than you do. So your conversations with God do not have to be vocal and you can mentally talk to God anytime you want. God gave us little taste of his ability to search the hearts of men and read their minds back in Jeremiah 17:10 when he said, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.”
So you can easily talk to God in your thoughts, and these conversations can be done anytime or anyplace. They can be done in school, at work, or at any other place, even if the rules of the world are against it.

2) The second thing you need to do in order to better communicate with Jesus is to read the Word of God each and every day. The Bible was the one thing that Jesus left for each one of us to read and study so that we would be able to find out about God. Only by reading the very word of God can we hope to draw near to him.

When Our Lord sees that you are taking the time to read his word every single day then what he is going to do is begin to peel away the layers of cloudiness that are covering your eyes and that hide the truth. Once he sees that you are serious about reading his word, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will begin to open your eyes and mind, and allow you to begin to understand the Word of God and the incredible meaning that it has on every aspect of your life. It won’t be long before you realize that the Bible isn’t difficult at all to read and understand, and to your amazement you will begin to also realize that you and Jesus have been drawn closer together. Suddenly you will know that indeed he is communicating with you.

It is really a joyous occasion to see a believer who has devoted the time to talk to God and to read his word daily, suddenly realize just how much God is speaking to them. The true believer takes great comfort in knowing that Jesus Christ is constantly talking to them, directing them, guiding them, and teaching them throughout each and every day.

Also keep in mind that the way you talk to God is extremely important. Do you talk to him only when you are in trouble and need help? If so then it shows God that you are simply taking him for granted. However if he sees that you are setting aside certain periods of time during each day just to talk to him, then what you are doing is opening up the channels of communication between you and God.

We are living in a world that rarely thinks about Jesus and seldom talks to him, and if Jesus sees one person out of a million who is actually taking the time each and every day just to talk to him, then you are going to put great joy in his heart. Just think of it. The creator of the entire universe will be personally listening to you each and every time you talk to him.

He may watch for a while to see if what you are doing is only temporary and whether or not you will stop it after a few days. But if you continue, then God is going to be extremely pleased and I believe he won’t be able to wait to begin to communicate with your heart, your conscience, your soul, your spirit. In fact you will not believe how much God will be talking to you.

Listening to God
Listening to God is probably the most important thing that will ever happen to a person. In fact your entire eternal future is based on you hearing God speaking to you and whether or not you listen to him. And this is because your spiritual life doesn’t begin until God speaks to you and you finally decide to listen. This is so beautifully described in John 10:27-28. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand”.

It is for this reason that you need to not only talk to God constantly about everything, but you must also listen for God to speak to you. And the best way to listen for God to speak to you is to look to your heart and your mind for his answer. Most people expect God to answer them in some divine way or somehow speak to them verbally, right out of the heavens, but that isn’t the way God operates. God speaks to a persons heart. To their mind. To their sense of moral righteousness and fairness. To their sense of what is right and Godly. When Jesus Christ is dwelling within a person he is communicating constantly with that person’s, heart, conscience, soul, and spirit. His answer may even be in that certain feeling that you have. That unexpected feeling that came out of nowhere and that shines additional light on the problem. His answer may lie in that sudden pause that you experience. That pause that gets you thinking about a different path to take.

And those methods of communication that God uses are extremely loud and clear. The true child of God can hear God speak just as clearly as if God was standing right alongside of them and verbally talking to them. However for most people, especially in the beginning, they need to be quiet and really listen for God’s answer because it is so very easy to block his answer out. You can get busy watching a TV program or cleaning the house and you never really hear his side of the conversation.

It’s amazing, but a true child of God is carrying on a constant two way conversation with God all day long. This is why talking and listening to God is so easy. It’s like listening to music. That’s why if your driving down the street going 30 miles over the speed limit, you know that’s the voice of God telling you that you are wrong and that you must get back to the proper speed limit. That speeding is against the law, that you very possibly might hurt or kill another person, that you will be stopped by the police and given an expensive ticket, that your insurance rates will go up, or any number of other reasons. (You know it’s not satan talking to you because if it was satan he would be telling you to go faster, that a little extra speed doesn’t matter, that the other drivers owe you, or that it is ok for you to speed because you are in a hurry).

Another example might be if you are at work and you see something that you would like to have at home, and you suddenly begin to think that your employer will never miss it, and that it really isn’t that expensive. Well, that’s God speaking to your entire being through your conscience. He’s pleading with your heart not to steal that item. He’s telling your mind that it will only bring dishonor and guilt upon you and upon God. He telling your moral righteousness that it is very wrong, and that nothing good can ever happen when you steal from another.

After a while God is carrying on a conversation with you even while you are talking to other people; and you are tuned in to God just as much as you are to the other person. When was the last time you and another person were talking and that person used the name of God in vain. Did your mind not hear the Lord cut into that conversation and instantly begin to tell you that the conversation was wrong. That it is wrong to be around someone dragging his Father’s name through the dirt? Or how about the time when you were talking with another person and one of you happened to mention vicious gossip about another person. Didn’t your heart hear God tell you that it wasn’t right to gossip? Did you feel that gentle warning letting you know that you were traveling out of God’s camp and into an area that is owned and ruled by satan. That was God simply talking to you. And it will be one of the most glorious days of your life when you finally realize that you can conduct a constant two way conversation with God 24 hours a day.

Also a great many people love to say that God works in mysterious ways. That they have absolutely no idea how or why God does what he does. But for the true believer, God’s ways aren’t mysterious. His ways aren’t concealed behind smoke and mirrors. It is just the opposite. Because once you begin to understand Jesus Christ, once you begin to learn what he is all about, once you begin to understand what he is trying to do in this world and in your life, once you begin to understand the tremendous importance that he holds for all of mankind, then his actions will not be mysterious. That’s when his ways will become crystal clear. In fact many times you will actually be able to predict what he is going to do.

The believer, who has surrendered his life up to Jesus Christ, will see God actively working in their daily lives. But this seeing will not be a visual image focused in our eyes. Instead, God has allowed his children to see him through his faithfulness, his blessings, his guidance, his encouragement. Our very spirits tell us that he is very near to us. Do we not see him by the feeling of peace and calm that his very presence brings? Do we not see God through the daily provisions that he brings for our many needs? We see God when he is carrying our burdens, when he is lighting our paths, and when he is nestling us in his arms. The believer that has surrendered, is able to see God all day long.

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