Sometimes I forget the definition of prayer and come to God with a list of my needs. let us begin by defining prayer.
Prayer is a two way communication between a child of God and God. When we communicate with our loved ones we talk and we listen to them. Prayer should not be any different. God is delighted when we come to Him in prayer He loves to hear our voices ( Song of Solomon 2:14) He invites us to come and communicate with Him.
It is so easy to come with a list of our needs and wants as if we are going to the grocery store. It is easy to talk to God and neglect talking with Him. He also has things He would like to say to us. I think sometimes we are afraid that if we listen to God He will tell us things that we do not want to hear ( and sometimes He does) and other times we just don't think about listening to Him. I have experienced that even when God wants to correct me and tell me things that I would rather not hear, He still has a way of building me up in anything He says to me. He is a good Father and His words to us are always life giving. If He wants to correct us , rebuke us and challenge us, He does not do it in a way that will shame us. He does it in a way that builds us up!
In the Bible we see Jesus Challenging His disciples Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. He asks them who they think He is and when Peter answers He Blesses Him.
God will do the same to us He will correct us, Challenge us, and even rebuke us and it will all be done in a way that shows His love for us.
God wants to hear from us and we should also desire to hear from Him for He is a good Father who teaches and instructs as He corrects, rebukes and challenges. "Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."
I have also experienced words of encouragement from the Lord, sometimes when I have been feeling low He has reminded me that He loves me! That is just like a loving parent who encourages his or her child and tells them that he or she loves them. When we don't take time to listen we lose because we don't get to hear what He has for us. How is your prayer life? Do you have listening time build into your prayer time?
After we listen we need to respond to God. We can respond with praise, worship, thanksgiving, repentance,and making commitments as His word requires of us. Don't just talk, take time to listen and then respond accordingly! This will be true prayer.