Week 6 – SEEK: Perspective in Prayer – Learning to Listen
Sunday, February 12th @ 4 pm or Wednesday, February 15th @ 7 pm
“His sheep follow him because they know his voice.” John 10:4
“His sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
WATCH VIDEO: click here
- What did you find most helpful in the video?
- What questions did the video raise for you?
- Share a time when God spoke to you or guided you. How did you know it was him?
- What are the things that can stop you from hearing God?
Listen to God for One another
- Split into threes and ask each group to place one person in the middle while the other two pray for them and share any encouragement, insight or impression they receive from the Holy Spirit. This might be a Bible verse, a mental image or some other word of encouragement.
- Don’t give directional words telling people what to do in the future.
- Only give words of encouragement and comfort: ‘Follow the way of love … the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort’ (1 Corinthians 14:1–3).
- Pray about the things they have shared.
Lectio Divina (literally “holy reading’) is an ancient way of reading the Bible devotionally, in order to hear God’s voice. You might take a single verse and think it through slowly, one word a time, until it’s different layers of meaning really emerge. Then pray about what you ‘see’ and ‘hear’.
How to Do it:
In the coming week, try to read a Psalm every day. If you do this thoughtfully, one of the verses or phrases in the passage will probably jump out at you.
Take that verse and pray through each word or phrase, allowing the emphasis to fall in different ways, so that multiple layers of meaning emerge to fuel your prayers. For example, if you were praying through Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd”
You might first reflect on the face that Jesus is your “Lord” and spend time in worship and confession.
You might then think about the fact that he really ‘is’ my shepherd, even though you sometimes feel like he isn’t.
Next you could think about him being ‘my’ Shepherd, even though you sometimes feel like he isn’t.
Next you could think about him being my Shepherd, not just there for others but for me… Etc.
Lectio Divina may sound difficult but it’s really simple and flexible. Some people practice it at the gym on a rowing machine where each stroke is another word. Others might journal about a particular verse each day or take a walk was thinking about the words.
Praying in tongues: the apostle Paul says that anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves (1 Corinthian’s 14:4) for praying in tongues can be a wonderful way of increasing our receptively to God spirit.
Read: John 10:1–10
In the Middle East shepherds lead their sheep from the front and can even call them by name. They don’t drive them from behind using dogs the way we do in the West. As a result, the sheep learn to recognize their Shepherds voice. Jesus is saying that this is one of the marks of the sheep as his followers, we will learn to recognize His voice in many ways.
READ: The ways God speaks Bible references listed below:
- What does each one tell us about the ways in which God speaks?
- Have you experience God speaking to you and any of these ways
Why does God communicate with us in so many different ways? We are all made differently and God wants to teach us to see and hear him everywhere not just one particular way.
We all tend to have a preferred way of hearing God as well as the revelation that comes through Bible study and preaching. Other’s will hear God’s voice well alone in silence, some are dreamers, others here got your music, creation and through other people. God sometimes stops speaking in a familiar way to draw us into new interactions with him. It’s not that he is silent, it’s just that we need to listen in new ways.
Read: Dallas Willard, Hearing God
Read: Loren Cunningham, Is That Really You Lord?
Read: Joyce Huggett, Listening to God
Read: Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer
Read: Bill Hybels, The Power of a Whisper
Watch: Bill Hybels, The Power of a Whisper Sermon – https://vimeo.com/14652516
Some of the ways God speaks through:
- Creation (Psalm 19:1)
- The ‘still, small voice’ (1 Kings 19:12)
- Intuition (Isaiah 30:21)
- Audible voices (1 Samuel 3:4)
- Angels (Luke 1:19)
- Conscience (Romans 2:15)
- Scripture (Psalm 119:105)
- Art (Exodus 30:35)
- Dreams (Acts 16:9)
- Visions (Acts 10:11)
- Prophetic words (Acts 21:10)
- Speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:4)
- Godly counsel (Ephesians 4:15)
- Spirit ‘bearing witness to our spirit’ (Romans 8:16)
- Natural events (2 Samuel 5:23–25)
- Circumstance (Acts 16:26)
- And even through a talking donkey (2 Peter 2:16)