Why I Quit Talking and Started Listening to God
When I became a Christian less than a decade ago, I viewed prayer time as a long list of needs to ask God for on a daily basis. It was basically the same type of thought process as what I created for Santa in my childhood. My God list had more wishes for other people’s needs to be met than the one I scribbled out for Santa, but the overall concept remained quite similar.
As I’ve grown in my faith and stopped seeing God as some type of heavenly ATM, my life has changed in phenomenal ways. I still spend time in prayer for friends, family, and even myself, but today I know to ask for His will to be done and the strength for each of us to deal with whatever comes our way. Not only does this show Him how much I truly trust Him, it also allows for gifts I would never have the audacity to even dream of before.
My prayer life now consists of far more listening than talking. We are given very simple instructions in this area:
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
A few years ago, in one of my many quiet times alone with God, He told me to write. Certain I wasn’t hearing this correctly, I continued to put it off. Finally during a Bible study about saying Yes to God with Proverbs 31 Ministries, I started a blog.
Writing was a dream of mine in childhood, but it had long been forgotten by the time God brought it to life. I never imagined as an adult with a degree in Computer Science and no formal writing training, He would lead me on this path. That’s how our God works, in big, beautifully surprising ways.
So, more recently when He told me to change my writing focus from DIY/crafts to health, I didn’t hesitate quite as long. As a recovering food addict still struggling in my own health journey one might find this as an odd calling, but I followed it anyway. My obedience is already being rewarded as He slowly releases the grip sugar has on me.
I begged for years for Him to take this extra weight and my food struggles from me and then I would help others. That was not His plan for me. When I closed my mouth and opened my ears, I learned it’s time for me to help others during my own journey, walking alongside rather than leading.
If we are spending too much of our intimate moments with God telling Him about our needs and desires, we miss out on all He wants for us. By opening myself up to His plans for my life rather than begging for my limiting goals, I’ve been blessed in ways I never thought possible. He knows His plans for us and they are full of hope and prosperity.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
From the verse above, we know He wants us to talk to Him as well. We don’t need to sit in silence in all of our prayer time, but when we seek Him with all of our hearts, we are open to His will above all else. This is why I choose to listen more and talk less as my faith and trust grows exponentially.
What is God calling you to do? Are you listening more then talking these days? I would love to hear how you spend your intimate moments with our amazing Creator.
Candace Playforth is a wife, mom, Jesus follower, serenity seeker, and writer on a quest for health in body, mind, and soul. Join her in creating a healthier body, emotional well-being, and unprecedented faith at CandaceCreates.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
“When I closed my mouth and opened my ears, I learned it’s time for me to help others during my own journey, walking alongside rather than leading.” Wow that is powerful. I think that God uses us during our struggles to bless the lives of others. It is so much easier to find a friend, ally and leader in someone who we can connect with in a very imperfect and human way.
What a powerful post my friend!
Thank you, Jen. I so agree that it’s in our struggles we learn to truly bless others. By trying to heal another, we find incredible healing for ourselves as well :).
Candace, oh yes. I’ve been pretty wordy along the way. I’m quieting down the older I get. And when our hearts are heavy, we have no energy for words.
Gratefully, the Spirit intercedes for us in groans that we’ll never imagine. I’m guessing that He goes deeper in discerning my deepest needs than I’ll ever be able to.
I’m settling back to enjoy His company …
I love this, Linda: “when our hearts are heavy, we have no energy for words.” Amen, sister. I think this is where we learn to listen and trust in ways that would never be possible without those heavy hearts.
Wonderful post, Candace! Being the “chatty” sort, I tend to talk more than listen at times. I am grateful to have read this post today as this summer I want to talk less and listen more. Thank you for sharing and confirming for me that which He is calling me to do – lean in & listen to Him. Blessings!
This is one of my big goals this summer too, Joanne. I’m still a work in progress on this subject. Blessings to you as well!
Amen. Listen more and talk less. Always a good reminder. The mind doesn’t like to empty itself so it can actively listen, does it? I think there’s a learning curve to shutting off the mental chatter, and just listening. Lovely post, thank you for sharing. :) ((grace upon grace))
There is definitely a learning curve, Brenda. I completely agree that the mind naturally gravitates to chatter. We just need to keep practicing and allow for lots of grace :).
Thank you for sharing, I too am on a health journey and God has revealed what it is. Leaky gut…ew…right? After 16 years of every alternative medicine you can think of…it’s His design of eating He has me doing. So…am addicted now to bone broth. And am lined up with a nutritionist that specializes in the GAPS diet. So…it’s a journey for sure. Excited and can feel the difference already. Health is on my horizon as I do it Gods way! “Take the choicest of the flock and also pile up the fuel under it. Bring it to a boil and cook the bones in it.””
Ezekiel 24:5 HCSB
I believe I struggle with leaky gut as well, Emily. Everything I’ve read about it hits home with me. I’m so excited for the journey you seem to be on towards health. Bone broth is a great thing to be addicted to :).
Funny. I started to comment on one of your posts about it but thought..eh…why tell everyone…and here you are! Yes, I am very excited. Wrote a blog about it. It’s been a long sixteen years..if not my whole life…but I feel that God is opening up His healing waters…or broth…for me! I see someone Monday who specializes in gaps. And the post was on your issues with sugar…oh I know that oh too well. Maybe I’ll write a post on it…since I can’t seem to find what I need to focus on. Let’s just keep it eclectic! Hugs!
I definitely need to do a better job of listening to God. Sometimes even when we listen we let fear get in the way. So I’m working on not only listening but putting fear aside to actually follow through :)
Those are excellent areas to work on, Sonya. I need some help with fear. I can so relate to not always following through with what I hear because of it. He will help us overcome, my friend!
Oh yes, I love this Candace. I have been there many times, babbling on and on about what I WANT and I NEED to God in prayer. It’s when we stop our own voices to listen to His, that His plan is revealed.
Thank you for this needed reminder, as I often still blab on and on to God, forgetting to listen first. <3
I still blab at times too, Chris :). I’m with you on this. I think as we continue to practice listening, it becomes easier and more natural. His plan is so much better than anything we could ask for or imagine.
I do need to listen more. Yep. This was much needed today. Thank you, Candace for sharing this with us!
You’re so welcome, Meghan. I think we all need to listen more. I’m still working on this is well!
Yes , to listen with our hearts not just our ears to have the Cotten out of our ears so we hear fully this is what purposefull quiet, silent, be still and know time with God is Thanks
I love your thought on listening with our heart not just our ears, Debbie. That’s an important key to the whole listening in prayer journey. Thanks for pointing that out!
I accepted Christ as a child and, despite the various ways I’ve diligently served in ministry since, it took me a very long time to understand what it meant to “be still and know” He is God. I’m a do-er and a talker, and while I have always listened for His voice, I rarely found myself being quiet when I was on knees. It’s been within the past few years that I’ve learned to ask Him what I can do for Him each day – and sit in silence waiting for Him to commune with me – instead of praying down my list. Like you, I still pray for others and myself, but even those prayers have changed for the better. He’s laid writing on my heart, as well, and I’ve been wrestling with Him a bit because, despite my desires to be a writer, I’m not trained in it. The area of my life He’s asking me to share is painful and embarrassing, and I don’t know that I’m ready for what anyone may have to say about it when I put it out there. All I know, is that He keeps prompting me and I need to be obedient and trust that whatever happens, He’ll see me through just as He’s always done. He is my everything and I’m ready to say, “Yes, Lord. I will go.” Please pray for me as I embark on a new journey with Him.
I’m praying for you and cheering you on, Michelle! I can so relate to everything you’ve said here. I’m not trained in writing either and was quite shocked when I started hearing God tell me to just do it anyway. He will guide you through this journey. I also understand having to share painful and embarrassing things. I’m a recovering addict which is the biggest reason I felt led to share my testimony. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the incredible love and support the online community has given me. Negative comments are few and far between which makes them easier to ignore :). You can do this!
So great Candace! I definitely need to listen more and talk less, thank you for the reminder!!
I think we all have struggled in this area, Sam. I’m still working on it too ;).
We serve a God who reveals himself to us as we learn to draw close to him, follow hard after him, and listen to his voice instead of using ours all the time. So I say, “Amen!” to listening more and talking less, as you beautiful shared in your blog. As we KNOW and LISTEN to him, he calls out things in us that we may not have realized or given thought too on our own. I love how God works!! I’ve also found that it’s through our struggles that he’s asked us to share and encourage others as we draw strength from him. That is not what I planned for either. Thank you again for your transparency!!
Amen, Joelle! Beautifully stated. I absolutely love how He works too :).
I can relate to all of this. Listening to God is a journey. Recently I’ve been asking Him to tell me what passage to read at times. I’m awed by what He has been showing me.
I love asking Him what passage to read, Ginger. I do that as well and am always fasciated by where He leads me :).
Thanks so much for sharing some of your journey with us, Candace. I especially liked this: ” By opening myself up to His plans for my life rather than begging for my limiting goals, I’ve been blessed in ways I never thought possible.” I tend to be a talker, so this post blesses me.
It was a lightbulb moment for me when I realized just how limited my goals actually are compared to His gifts. I’m so glad you were blessed here, Betsy :).
Hello! I like the idea of listening instead of talking, however I’m unsure what this looks like.. Is it just silence during prayer? I would guess you pray for an open hear and opened ears to hear him. Iv tried silence during prayers a few times, but find that the lord doesn’t always speak to me in the times I set aside but through out my day. For example.. I went to a used curriculum sale last weekend, and I heard very clearly, ” why are you here? Searching for treasures of this world? You should be at home in My Word.” .. It was hardly silent in the place I was.. Lots of women talking and shuffling through things. Recently my husband and I have agreed to keep Saturday’s a day of intentionally being in the word together as a family.. So he was leading me back to my commitment I had made to him. But I have tried to just be silent before the Lord in prayer.. And seem to get silence. It would seem to me that he speaks when I am out and about or when I least expect to hear him. Does anyone else experience that? Or do you hear him during the specific time you are praying and being silent before him? Maybe I am not silent long enough.. My mind does wonder rather easily.
Hi Brenda, I absolutely love your Saturday family plan of intentionality. What a wonderful habit! To answer your question, I spend quiet time listening during my prayer times. This has allowed me to hear Him in those times as well as opening myself up to hear Him throughout the day. My mind wanders easily so I completely get that issue as well. I personally think if you’re hearing Him at times, regardless of when, that is fantastic. I wouldn’t worry about trying to make it happen during certain moments. Many blessings to you! I apologize for my delayed response. I’m on a limited summer schedule these days :).
Amen I’m joining in and starting to be quiet. Amen