Prayer is not a monologue; it’s a dialogue. You speak to God, and He speaks back to you. When last did you listen?
There are so many voices speaking to us today, and many of us lend our ears to the voice of money, the voice of social status, and even the voice of deception in this new age.
Throughout the Bible we see God speak to people in different ways, and we also see their different responses. Sometimes God spoke to one person with a message for others; sometimes He confronted a person with his sin; sometimes he spoke to a person to give them special gifts; sometimes He spoke to a person to send him on a mission.
When God speaks, do you listen to Him? Is your attitude one of faith and obedience?
When Mary the mother of our Lord received God’s message from the angel, what was her response? It was one of faith, obedience and submission.
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”
God didn’t just speak in Bible times; He still speaks to us today through the voice of the Holy Spirit, through the Bible, through sermons, through songs, through our spouses, through our conscience, through our dreams, and even through our problems.
I remember when I received my NYSC call-up letter over a decade ago. I didn’t have much money, just my transport fare and ₦2000 pocket money. I had no idea how I was going to survive 3 weeks, but I prayed and set out.
On getting to orientation camp, the expenses started. Bucket, ₦400; I grimaced and bought it. Adjustment of khaki, ₦600 (I was tiny); I paid, my heart pounding. ₦1000 gone in one day and camp hadn’t even started! As my meagre resources dwindled, so did my faith. God had brought me through hard times; the fact that I even went through school and graduated was a miracle, a series of testimonies! But I forgot all about what God had done and Who He had been in the past. All I knew was that I didn’t have enough money and I was most likely going to suffer in this place. To make things worse, my network hadn’t reached the camp area at that time, so it was either I bought a new SIM or remained cut off from all communication for 3 weeks. Oh, my knees.
Then things started happening. Someone bought me a new SIM right there in camp, without the thought of asking ever even crossing my mind. Someone ran into my mother and gave her some money to give me, which she sent to me as airtime to be resold. My brother’s girlfriend even sent me money; so strange! Money just started coming to me little by little. I was never hungry; I could even afford to ignore the awful camp food and buy cheap, nice food at Mammy Market, with cold Tampico to wash it down!
The day I really knew God was pampering me was the day I bought a book. I actually had enough money that I could buy a book! I still have that book, a testament to God’s love for me in more ways than one.
What does this have to do with hearing from God? One day, as I pondered how camp was different for me than it appeared it would be at the beginning, I walked past a building and heard music playing inside. I stopped to listen, and realised it was Donnie McClurkin:
“…didn’t I wipe away the tears? Wasn’t I shelter from the rain?
Wasn’t I there for you? Wasn’t I always true?
Didn’t you know that I’d be with you all the way?
Didn’t you know…?”
Tears sprang to my eyes. I knew without a doubt that it was my Father speaking to me, and I said: “Father I’m sorry, I should have trusted you.”
Indeed God speaks in many ways, and it’s all based on His Word. It’s when we know His promises and His commandments through the Bible, that we can recognize His voice.
If prayer has been a one-way affair for you, it’s time to change that, and one way to do so is to read your Bible and know what it says. There’s always a word for every place you find yourself. When you become well acquainted with the Word of God, even when you don’t remember, the Holy Spirit brings it back to you as needed.
When you pray, listen for His voice. As you go through your day, keep the communication lines open. You’ll be amazed at the many ways God speaks.