As I have stated, I was not sure that my prayers were making it to
their destination. It was like sending up helium-filled balloons. You can
only let them go and hope they get to their destination as they float up and
One evening, when I was alone in the house, I decided to anoint all
of the doorways of my house with oil and pray that everything in the house
or any of the rooms would be pleasing to God. Some bad things had been
taking place and I felt it was worth trying. After all, what could it hurt?
The next morning I woke up and felt very strange. I was highly
uncomfortable. It was like I felt I needed to get out of the house to get
relief from the confusion in my head. Hello!!! It hit me that I had prayed
that only things pleasing to God be allowed in the house. ACK!! That meant I
was not pleasing to God! Good grief! I had prayed myself right out of my own
I knew I had to spend time in prayer. There was nothing else I could
do! The problem was, I didn't know what to pray. I had to do something, so I
sat down and began with the parts of prayer I knew. I started with praise,
gave thanks for answered prayer and other things, asked forgiveness for
sins, and then I sat quietly wondering what I should pray. I began thumbing
through my Bible. I prayed like I had never prayed before. I
felt a connection this time. In the past I had felt like I was talking
to a wall most of the time. This time it felt different for some
reason. Perhaps it was because I wasn't sure of where I stood with
God. Maybe it was because I couldn't solve my problem in any "normal"
way. I don't know.
It was then I discovered how to listen. A scripture jumped out at
me. It was Psalm 27:14, "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall
strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." I've had scripture become
very meaningful in the past, but this was different. It REALLY jumped out at
me. The word, "Wait," came into my head.
I have to back track for a moment before we go further. I had been
seeking employment for a year. I had been praying about what type of job
would be best for my family. I wasn't sure if I should make sure I found a
job where I would be home when my youngest son got home from school, whether
we could survive financially on a part-time paycheck, whether to continue
seeking employment in the school district, and lots of other concerns.
One evening, at our church prayer service, I had a thought come in
my head. It was as if someone had just finished speaking and I had the
memory of a voice. It was, "If you had enough faith you would know that I
will take care of your finances. I don't want you to get a job. I want you
doing more things for me." I was a little confused because I didn't know
where that thought originated. I couldn't figure out how I had come up with
it and why. The scripture for that evening did mention faith, but we didn't
At the end of the message my pastor made the statement, "You need to
have faith that God will take care of your finances." The funny thing was
that, as I stated already, faith was not the subject of the message and jobs
and finances weren't either.
I was about halfway home from church that evening (which was a 30 minute drive)
when I realized I had the feeling there was someone else in the car with me.
It wasn't just someone else. It was someone who loved me a lot and who was
enjoying my company and enjoying listening to the radio with me as we drove
along! Being the skeptic that I was, I wasn't sure what was happening to me.
Now, back to my story.
After the word, "Wait," was impressed on my mind I began to get
other thoughts. They weren't actually thoughts but, as it had happened to me
at church, I had the feeling someone had just spoken to me and I had the
memory of what had been said. I began to examine each thing to see if it was
a thought that originated from my own head. In other words, were they coming
from somewhere else or were they just my own thoughts?
I determined that they were not my own thoughts. Each one came again
and again until I locked onto it. They were not things I would have thought
on my own. They came gently, but persistently, until I acknowledged them.
Some of the things that I heard were: Put the Kingdom of God first,
examine your motives and do things for God, if I am doing things for the
Lord there will be people who don't understand, be more bold, bad things
that happen are not from God, my mouth is for edification, share what God
has given me, wait upon the Lord, Jesus bore not only my sins but my grief
and pain and everything bad, God has wonderful things in store for me, "that
was Me in the car with you," I AM close and reachable, you've been
too skeptical, and lots more. The most wonderful thing of all was that He
told me He loved me and I FELT IT! I felt His love for me wash over me. It
was better than a cozy blanket on a cold day! It was absolutely
I knew the Bible said God loves me unconditionally. I knew a lot of
things, such as how to pray. I knew I was supposed to listen. I knew all
those things in my head, but they had never reached my heart! I never
experienced God. It wasn't that He wasn't trying to touch me. It was that I
wasn't really seeking Him. I didn't really know what I should expect. Nobody
had told me I could FEEL His love or HEAR His voice! I had always been
taught that my Bible contained the things that God had for me.
I guess the reason I had felt I prayed myself out of my own house,
was that God knew I needed to get on my knees and meet Him face to face. I
wouldn't have prayed so long and so hard had I not been as flustered as I
Looking back over my life, I saw times when God was speaking to me.
I just hadn't paid attention. I have since learned that God speaks to
different people in different ways. He knows what we can and can't handle
and we can and can't understand. Some people receive visions, or pictures.
God will come to each of us on an individual basis. He knows everything
about us and knows what we need. He will meet us where we are. Our portion
is to be seeking Him.
"And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye
shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that
asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it
shall be opened." Luke 11:9-10
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice,
and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with
me." Revelation 3:20
I realized that I had limited God. I had decided that my prayer life
was as good as it was going to get. I had put God and all His attributes in
a box. I decided what God could and would do. By putting God in a box I had
only limited my own understanding. I had placed myself in the box and
had isolated myself from God.
I then understood that my prayers were not supposed to go floating
up toward Heaven. God is with me. He is in me. He is here all the time. He
always hears me and understands me. I now speak to Him as I would to another
person that would be sitting in the room with me. When I listen for His
voice I listen inside myself because that is where the Holy Spirit resides.
Since that day (I refer to that experience as my "Big Wow") I have not heard as much all at once as that first
time. However, I do hear from God on a fairly regular basis. I would hear
more if I was a better listener. His "transmitter" is working fine. My
"receiver" is faulty. I need to practice continuous listening. It is a never
ending process. I keep praying that my thoughts become His thoughts. I want
to be an open line to His heart so that the things I say and the things I do
are directed by Him.
I am continuously praying that God show me what things in my life
hinder my walk with Him. I don't want my human thoughts and opinions
corrupting what He is saying to me. I will never be a perfect listener or a
perfect pray-er, but I am always learning more.
My "learning how to listen" experience took place on January 29,
1998. That was about 25 years after I got saved. It was about 6 years after
I did an intensive study on how to pray. All those years I could have been
experiencing God face-to-face. Sheesh!
3. God Has Been Teaching Me