Hello all. I wanted to know what it means to listen to God. I have heard, repeatedly, that in prayer and adoration to listen to what He is telling us, but I don’t know how. I feel that when I’m praying I have to be saying prayers or talking to Him the whole time. I’ve tried to stay quiet and get nothing. What am I doig wrong?
1.) Get a good spiritual director.
2.) God choses when/if a person is ready.
3.) Double check everything you “hear” with said spiritual director.
There are a lot of wonderful writings by saints which address this issue and the hazards you need to watch out for. I am still working on this myself however, I can tell you that I have seen people mislead by false intuitions. So I am giving you the advice that works for those that have relayed what appear to be genuine experiences to me. Others here I am sure can elaborate more on the issue.
God bless you for desiring to listen to Him.
Let me start off by saying that if you are talking the entire time, when is the Lord supposed to tell you anything? Silence is golden, and much can come of it. I know it is hard to be patient with silence. My spiritual director says to ask God to reveal His will to me, but then give Him the opportunity to do so. I’ve been doing that for over a year, and I am no more enlightened so I can only assume I don’t need to know more than I do at this time. God knows us better than we know ourselves. He will always give us what we need when we need it—according to His understanding of “need,” which may not necessarily be the same as ours.
Rather than remaining quiet with the intention of getting something, you could use the silence to give thanks to God and declare your love for and devotion to Him. After months of going to Adoration every week in order to ask “why, why why??” I decided to let go of it and simply sit in tearful silence occasionally punctuated with short declarations of thanks and praise. Eventually something came to me—I can’t call it God talking to me because it wasn’t as direct as that; it’s really difficult to describe—and my life has not been the same since I acted on it. (Long story.) If you have a specific request, of course it’s perfectly natural to ask. It may, however, take Him longer to respond than you would like. He may also communicate with you in ways that aren’t intuitive or immediately recognizable. Be prepared for that. For all you know, He has told you lots of things but you haven’t heard or understood. Happens to me all the time.
Finally, trust, trust, trust the Lord. I cannot emphasize this enough. On countless occasions I failed to trust Him and have paid for my lack of confidence, sometimes dearly. Every day I renew this trust and attempt to hold on to it come what may. Certain aspects of my life are complicated, but I know He is with me. As long as you never lose sight of that, you are on the right path.
One concrete suggestion: if you do not have a spiritual director, consider finding one. A good spiritual director can help guide you through difficulties like these.
I will remember you in my prayers. May you have a blessed day!
You are not doing anything “wrong”. You are just being impatient…Something I know a lot about. :blushing:
The main thing about prayer - and with the whole of our lives as Christians - is that we need to dispose ourselves to listening. Saint Paul speaks to a need to be able to recognize the good and embrace it while rejecting what is not good. (Sorry I don’t have the citation)
So when we pray, it is not so much a matter of reciting (piling up words) as it is a matter of properly disposing our hearts and minds to draw near to God.
This drawing near to God means developing an attitude of calm and peace - of letting go of daily worries and problems. This doesn’t mean that we don’t think of them during prayer, but we don’t dwell on them. After all, thoughts flit in and out of our consciousness all the time.
As we develop this, we begin to allow thoughts and feelings to simply wash over us while we remain more fixed in our place of peace in the Lord.
Prayers like the Rosary and Divine Mercy are helpful in this because the repetitive prayers can help us to remain focused on God while other thoughts and ideas wash in and out of our mind.
Gradually, over time, as we develop this method of prayer and just being in God’s presence - in His peace - we will notice that God grants us little messages. Not a great voice or even a “eureka” moment - but more likely a quiet “knowing” of what is important and what is not. Of what things to do and how to proceed and what things to let go of.
I’ve even found that these things can come when I’m not in a “formal” prayer setting. In fact, they seem to come more often when I NOT in a formal prayer setting.
But it is because one develops this sense of being in God’s peace and presence - in His Love - that one disposes them selves more and more to being able to hear his voice.
Books have been written on this…and the above may be expressed rather crudely…but I hope it is of some help and encouragement.
You ARE listening to God, just by continually turning to Him whether in times of need or times of thanksgiving or simple mundane times when we muddle along, doing our work, taking care of our families, completing household chores, or going to adoration or mass. Living our lives for God means that we obey his commandments, follow Jesus’ example of how we are to love in any situation. Continue to spend time with God as your main focus, read his Word, study the Catechism and relate it to your everyday life. That IS God’s will for everyone of us. Try to please God in your daily life in everything you do, think and say. Does God actually make His will known to us? Resoundingly, YES. If you faithfully pray, work and study your faith, God may speak to you through your own conscience. Don’t worry, by asking the question you are on the right track. Trust in Him.
I myself find it hard to hear God but then again one has to be careful of interpreting what one ‘hears’. Sometimes it could be a passage from the bible that hits you for six and you realise that maybe God is trying to tell you something relevant to you!
I pray that God will ‘talk’ to me and do with me what he wills as I love him dearly.
I too, understand what you’re going through. I’m a talker by nature and so even my silent prayers are naturally “talky”. Worst of all, when I make the conscious effort after a prayer–or in church during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament–to be STILL, my mind will wander! I don’t mean for it to happen–my intention is just to be totally silent and empty and listen for God. It just never quite works for me though. Recently though, I’m trying a new approach–so far it hasn’t worked either–but I’ve only tried it for less than a week so it may yet work. What I’m trying now is that after I pray at night and before I go to sleep, I tell God that I really want and need to hear His voice, to know His will in my life. I remind him that even Paul, He knocked off a horse to get his attention–that I know I’ll never be as great a soul as St.Paul and while I’d never be presumptuous enough to expect a big miracle like Him speaking to me out loud after knocking me off a horse, that if He’d even speak to me in a dream or give me an idea or simply a strong feeling of what He wants for me–that I’ll do my part and listen and follow His will. Again, so far no success–but I intend to keep trying!
Can’t speak for others, but* lectio divina* gives me migraines. I must be doing something wrong. :o
I doubt it - - - More like, “Different strokes for different folks”. :choocho::takeoff:
Being as how there are number of different ways to approach prayer - and spiritual growth in general - I’d say that lectio divina just doesn’t fit you…Yet perhaps there are aspects that do and these can be beneficial.
I don’t know that you need a spiritual director as suggested, although some might enjoy it.
I’ve had conversations with God…yes, a back and forth. It was a gift and totally unexpected, in that way.
More recently, God gives me answers or guidance at different times in different ways, but it always involves prayer. For example, I had been searching for an answer to a question for some time, but couldn’t figure it out, nor did I get an answer during those prayers. One day, I was relaxed and praying “Jesus, I love you” or something along those lines, almost like a meditation. BOOOOOM! In the middle of that, I was given my answer, clear as a bell. I hadn’t been thinking about my question; I had already turned it over to Him.
Hearing God’s Call, and feeling His Presence, is for me the most compelling proof of His Existence and His Love, and it is very hard for me to imagine anyone who has not heard Him or sensed His Presence. But certainly there are many times when we are blocked by our own preoccupations, regardless of the strength of our faith. I think He wants us to follow Him freely, and seldom intrudes unless we ask Him.
I suggest that you find a free copy on the web of the little book (122 pages in my large print version) The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. You can also find many comments on the book here in the Ccom forum.
We will keep you in our prayers.