Listening Prayer and outreach (2)

Here’s a listening prayer exercise to try:

  • Picture Jesus (or God) greeting you in person at the gates of Heaven.  Give Him your full attention.  Then ask Him this question:
  • ‘When we finally meet face-to-face, how will You greet me?’  Watch and listen for His response.  What does He do?  What does He say?

The beauty of this exercise is that it subtly brings several important truths to the foreground for meditation.

First, the things Jesus said and did in your heart almost certainly identified your deepest need (and perhaps your deepest wound) in your heart.  For example, if he throws His arms around you and says ‘Welcome home!’, perhaps He’s addressing a need for acceptance and a fear of rejection.

Secondly, by addressing that need or wound, Jesus probably framed the gospel in words that apply specifically to you.  What did the good news sound like to you?  Can you rephrase it in the form of a promise?  Ask the Lord to bring someone across your path who is ready to meet with Him.  He may highlight that person for you, or, if you prefer, He will often compel them to bring up the topic of God with you.  I dare you to invite them to meet Jesus for themselves.  You could tell them, ‘I won’t speak for Him, but I’m sure He’d be willing to meet with you directly.’  When you use this question in outreach, those with whom you share will reveal exactly what the good news needs to sound like to them!

Third, Jesus’ words and actions in that picture are likely to be an invitation to be received today, not just for the day of your demise or His return.  For example, ‘I accept you today‘ or ‘I am with you today‘.

In that case, during outreach, you can ask, ‘What was Jesus asking you?  Would you like to receive it?  Are there any barriers that prevent you from accepting it?  How can they be removed?’  If the person doesn’t know, they can ask Him.

  • As they start to hear His voice, you could take them through some of the friendship questions here.
  • Tell them about the Meeting Place and ask them whether they would like Jesus to provide one.  Let them ‘taste and see that the Lord is good.’  Watch Jesus the evangelist share with them directly.

 

Can You Hear Me?  Chapter 11.

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Listening Prayer and outreach

If Jesus came to your town and made Himself available in a local tea room, would you go and meet Him?  A one-to-one meeting where you could ask any question and hear, see or sense His answers.  Of course you would.  This series we’ve been following at Explore has demonstrated that you are able and already do exactly this kind of thing.  Without intimate conversation with Jesus, claims of a ‘personal relationship’ with Him ring a bit hollow.  We have learned that we do encounter Christ through listening prayer.

But let’s take the analogy further.  If you knew that Jesus was available in that cafe, would you tell other people about Him?  What would you tell them?  You might say, ‘Jesus is real’ or ‘Jesus is alive!’  If they expressed interest or skepticism, you would certainly add, ‘You can meet Him!  Come and see for yourself!  I can take you there!  You should hear for yourself what He has to say!’

“First we believed in Jesus because of what you said, but now we believe because we heard Him ourselves. We know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.”  John 4 v 42.

Can You Hear Me?  Chapter 11.

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Listening Prayer in making decisions (c)

The friend of God who lives by faith is led mainly by the Spirit’s peace.  Stepping out in faith doesn’t always feel peaceful to our flesh,  but peace reigns in our hearts before God when we are aligned with His will, even in difficult circumstances.   If a direction I’m taking is not pleasing Him or not best for me, the Spirit would convict me with a lack of peace, and, if necessary, get a message to me.

Consulting God includes living daily in conversation with Him.  Before my head leaves the pillow each morning, I like to ask questions: Continue reading “Listening Prayer in making decisions (c)”

Is Jesus really coming back?

Paul calls Jesus’ second coming the ‘blessed hope‘ in Titus 2 v 13.  The word hope here refers to a confident expectation of something future;  you hope in something because you know for certain that one day it will be a part of your experience.  Other Bible writers encouraged Christians to live in light of the return of Jesus (such as James 5 vv 7-8;  1 Peter 1 v 13;  2 v 12; 4 v 7, 13;  5 vv 1-4).  The new Testament mentions the second coming more than three hundred times.  The crucial point here is that the second coming is a certainty that should have a profound impact on how we live daily.

From Understanding Theology.  Theology

Listening Prayer in making decisions (b)

Friends of God don’t fear taking risks or making mistakes.  Those who hesitate to act because they fear making mistakes betray a misunderstanding of God.  Faithfulness is not judged by your success, but by faith and obedience.  In this way, you honour God’s request to risk everything.  What you believe you lose, gets counted as gain.

Friends of God who live by faith and consult the Lord are led by the Spirit into God’s purposes.

Can You Hear Me?  Chapter 8.

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Listening Prayer in making decisions (a)

I believe the primary function of listening prayer is to maintain an intimate relationship with God, not to get you out of a mess.  When God is your best friend, you don’t need to make 999 calls.  In practice, I do pray for God’s help when in a crisis or at a crossroads, and I expect Him to answer.  But because my friendship with God has been nurtured through listening prayer, my requests lack the anxiety or impatience of a typical ‘999 prayer’, and lack their grovelling, begging, bargaining and demanding.  Friends of God can make their request and then rest, watching what He does from a place of peace.  They are familiar with His voice, sense His peace and can act in faith without hesitating or running ahead.

Friends of God who live by faith and consult the Lord are led by the Spirit into God’s purposes.

Can You Hear Me?  Chapter 8.

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Listening prayer in making decisions

Friends of God who live by faith (not playing it safe) and consult the Lord (pay attention to His voice) are led by the Spirit into God’s purposes (rather than merely asking Him to bless our agendas).

From Can You Hear Me? Chapter 8.

We’ll break this down into its parts over the next few days.

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How to remove blocks due to fear

Sometimes fear can block us from hearing God’s voice.  Fear of the unknown, fear of deception, fear of intimacy or fear of repercussions.

Behind each of these fears, you will always find a lie.  For each lie, Jesus wants to reveal the truth that will set you free from both the lie and from its resulting fear.  For example, behind fear of the unknown might be the lie, ‘If I open my ears to the Lord, I have no idea what He’ll say, but it will probably be bad news.’  Behind the fear of deception you may believe a lie, ‘If I open my heart to listen, I have no way to know whose voice I’ll hear.  The devil may lead me astray.’  Behind fear of intimacy is the thought, ‘If I open up, then God will see what’s there.  don’t even want to see what’s there!  He may dislike me or even reject me.’  Behind fear of repercussions we hear, ‘If I open my ears, I will hear Him, and then I’ll have to do something about it.  And I don’t want to.’  The hidden lie is that rebellion is better than obedience.

To remove fear blocks, I don’t argue with the lies or try to repress them.  Instead, I take the bull by the horns, and with the part of me that most believes the lies, speak them aloud to the Lord’s face, and watch His response.  God hates lies.  When He hears me voicing that lie, His truth comes back like a sword, shredding the lie’s power to deceive and deafen me.  Sometimes when I tell Him my lie, He laughs.  When He does, I never feel mocked or belittled.  His laugh is a revelation that frees my heart from taking the lie seriously or fearing its power.

We process fears by:

  • asking Jesus where it came from;
  • asking Jesus to reveal the lie behind the fear;
  • asking Jesus what truth we need to hear;
  • repenting of believing the lie and choosing to believe the truth.

Can You Hear Me?  Chapter 7  Brad-Jersak-Can-you-hear-me-201x300