Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Daily Prayer: Learning to Hear

We first said of daily prayer simply that it is a daily thing. We talked of reading, and praying, the Psalms. We talked of how we can never exhaust what we need to learn of prayer than from the Lord’s Prayer and praying the Lord’s Prayer.

From this is the next thing we need to learn in daily prayer: hearing. Learn to be a hearer. Learn to listen. Learn not just to go at the Word and understand it but first of all to hear it and let it speak to you. When you read the Psalms learn also to hear them and to pray them. God is giving you what to hear and take to heart. Pray back to Him what He has spoken to you. In the Lord’s Prayer we have the same thing. For people like me who have been praying the Lord’s Prayer our whole life, it’s easy to speak it and not pray it in a way in which it is taken to heart. Before praying it, hear it. Listen to what your Lord is giving you to pray for.

There are many things getting in the way of us being hearers of God’s Word. In the worship service there are distractions. Even having the Readings printed out in the bulletin can get in the way of hearing the Word being read. Hearing takes concentration. Especially for those of us whose minds easily wander, it takes effort to listen.

But the main thing about being a hearer of the Word of God is not simply to listen intently. The main thing is to hear. That is, to be a recipient of the Word. As Romans 10 says, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. One can listen intently, and even comprehend perfectly, and nevertheless not be a hearer of the Word. Daily prayer flows out of hearing. Learn to be a hearer. Pray your Lord to give you ears to hear. That is, to hear with the ears of faith. He gives, you receive. He is the active agent, you are the passive recipient. Now you are in the position to pray.

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