How Listening Strengthens Our Faith
As you close your eyes, you are keenly aware of the silence around you.
Mute particles of nothing dance close to your ears.
The only echoing noise is your busy thoughts demanding your time and attention. You take one deep inhale and slowly exhale to release your pent-up angst and frenzied thoughts.
You desperately seek God’s presence. You anxiously wait for Him, but as you wait, the noise grows louder and begins to fill the silence. You grasp for Him, but you hear nothing. You hopelessly try to regain your composure but feel the moment slipping away.
It can be challenging to devote ourselves fully to God when our thoughts are focused on a myriad of mindless things vying for our time and attention. Our minds aimlessly wander about, cluttering our thoughts. Our communication becomes jumbled, and our emotions erupt, filling our sacred space with feeble words and shallow reflections. Exhaustion depletes our efforts to spend time in the presence of God. We walk away disappointed and discouraged. The busyness of life thwarts our attempt to spend time in quiet solitude.
Our quiet time with the Father is an essential part of our walk with Christ, and if we are not careful, we will succumb to the clamor of our lives, and the voice of God will become lost in the chaos.
So how can we better prepare for these crucial times of prayer and solitude with our Father? We turn to God.
Hearing From a Faithful God
Throughout the Bible, we read of extraordinary and merciful circumstances where God speaks to His people.
He does so through prophets, nature, and miraculous signs and wonders.
Even today, we can experience hearing from God in a similar manner. However, now that Christ has ascended to heaven, those who have accepted salvation live lives filled with the Holy Spirit, hearing from Him directly.
Listening Strengthens Our Faith
Did you know that listening to God provides knowledge and wisdom and strengthens our faith?
Romans 10:17 ESV says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
As we listen, understand, and meditate on the word of God, it not only penetrates our hearts but transforms our minds.
God invites us into His story by asking us to join Him in the journey. He speaks to us through the scriptures, prophetic words, and directly to our spirits. God’s Word transforms us – mind, body, and soul.
Through listening and obedience, God proves Himself faithful, and this process builds our expectancy, strengthening our faith in Him.
Women of Faith Who Listened to God
Hebrews 11, The Great Hall of Faith, is a chapter filled with people who proved themselves faithful to God. Of the seventeen names mentioned in Hebrews 11, two are women – Sarah and Rahab.
Listening to God was not a new concept for Sarah. After all, she believed her husband, Abraham, when he told her he heard from God and they must leave all that was comfortable for an unknown land that He would show them.
She listened when God said their inheritance would outnumber all the stars in the sky, and it would begin from their bloodline. Did I mention that Abraham and Sarah were in their golden years with no children?
Sarah’s presence before God allowed her to hear Him and heightened her faith. She remembered His faithfulness to her and Abraham and believed that God would do what He said He would do.
“By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” Hebrews 11:11-12 ESV
Labeled as a prostitute, Rahab is not the likeliest person one might consider most faithful. However, she made a significant impact and is remembered as a faithful servant of God.
Rahab had heard stories about the might and power of God, so when she heard God’s people were coming to take over, her faith in what God could do was activated, resulting in her becoming one of the most obedient people in the book of Joshua.
Joshua 2:10-11 tells us that Rahab knew the Lord had given the land to the Israelites, and she heard the Lord had dried up the Red Sea as the Israelites left Egypt.
Rahab, an unlikely woman, was used by God to save His people. Just like Rahab, God speaks to us where we are – in the midst of everyday life. And while God didn’t speak directly to Rahab, she believed, and her belief led to her obedience, and God blessed her and her family.
“By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” Hebrews 11:31 ESV
Listening is a spiritual discipline that is first birthed by God. When God speaks to us, He provides insight and instructs us, and we have a choice in what we will do with those seeds of life.
What will you choose? Will you choose to sow God’s Word or discard them?
How can you strengthen your faith through listening?
- Intentionally prepare to meet God each day. Create a rhythm of spending time reading, reflecting, and praying God’s Word daily. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you and lead you. Be patient as you cultivate this practice of meeting with God.
- Journal your conversations with God. As you spend time in the presence of God, anchor your thoughts on His word. As you listen, write down any verses, phrases, and visions He offers you. Spend time praying over your reflections and seek Him.
- Engage in the Listening Prayer. As you bring your intentions to God, leave space for listening. Ask God to speak to you, allow the words to flow, and take time to meditate on His words. The Listening Prayer is an exchange – a conversation between you and God. God wants us to draw near to Him, but we can’t hear what He is saying if we are not still, quiet, and patient.
As you cultivate your listening and strengthen your faith, I pray you will respond with the same faith and obedience as Sarah and Rahab, women believers who listened well.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 ESV
May our faith, our belief, and expectancy in the Lord grow stronger as we listen deeply.