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How Can We Hear from God in Our Regular Prayer Time?

Recently a group of Christian women were talking about how difficult it is to get guidance from the Holy Spirit. One friend said she was amazed at how I often hear from God in my prayer time. They wanted to know more about why that was so and asked, “How can we hear from God in our regular prayer times?” 

I was surprised and said I don’t have a practice that’s right for others, but that I do set aside a sacred prayer time every morning, blocking out distractions during that time, and it works for me. 

“See, right there you’re doing something I don’t do,” said one. “Do you turn off the ringer on your phone? I know you have a voicemail message that tells callers that if it’s morning, you’re in your prayer and meditation time and you don’t accept calls before a certain hour.” 

For anyone who cares to enhance daily two-way communications with God, I’d suggest as a first step making a standing date with the Lord.  I’ve been doing that for so long that I’m no longer tempted to jump into the rest of my day without my “Quiet Time.” I’d feel an emptiness that’s only filled by that sacred practice. 

A third woman shared her challenge. “You know, I set up for my prayer time by lighting a candle, having water and flowers nearby, and my Bible within reach. Then,” she says, “I start to pray. I may wait a bit to hear from the Lord, but after a few minutes of silence, if I haven’t heard or felt anything yet, I go to my Peloton.”

My routine varies, leaving room for the Holy Spirit and some tweaks. Before I sit down with God, I do 20 minutes of physical therapy movement and take my dog outside. I do a few stretches in the yard to greet and praise Jesus, and I invite the Holy Spirit to be with me. I get my tea and sit in a comfortable spot. I like to “warm up” with  Bible study. Commentary and reflections provide good questions and food for contemplation. Most days, with lectio divina (divine reading) I listen multiple times to a Gospel passage, first meditating, then contemplating, and finally praying with it to go deeper and deeper. Again, I ask the Lord questions and listen for clarification or personal encouragement, exhortation, or conviction about things I need to change about my attitude or actions.

Many great daily devotionals include a short message backed up by relevant scripture. It’s a God-thing how relevant a devotional always seems to what’s happening in my life. So after reading that, I journal how the words seem to relate to my life. I ask, “What do you want to say to me today, Lord?“ Or ““What do you mean when you say X, Holy Spirit?“ I wait in silence or, more often, with some nature sounds or gentle meditative instrumental music (preferably unrecognizable songs, so the words don’t go through my head). I try to envision Jesus at my side, or I accept whatever else comes to me such as walking or sitting with him, sensing His words to me (not an audible voice) or the lyrics of a holy song, seeing a vision, or remembering and working with a dream.

Some people swear by handwriting in journals and I did that for decades and loved it. But now I use my iPad so I can touch-type with my eyes closed when I start to receive words from the Lord. What I capture may be full of typos that I ignore or correct later. What matters is that I often receive spontaneous communication from the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. (Sometimes, I’m led to share the dialogue with someone whose counsel I trust to confirm whether she feels in her heart and spirit that God was the source, after my Quiet Time is over.) I often go back and forth journaling questions and answers— all of this still using my iPad, because I can type faster than I can handwrite. Using the iPad has the added benefit that I can save these dialogues and later search and find previous entries on a particular subject. For more about Two-Way Journaling, check out Hearing God’s Voice, Dr. Mark Virkler’s video, book, or Communion with God website.

Some days I listen to an inspirational talk, homily, sermon, or miracle story. Sometimes, I work my way through a particular spiritual book, a little each day. Sometimes I practice centering prayer or still silence in God’s Presence, and I admire those who do that more regularly and deeper than I do. Indeed, I pray, Jesus, would you please assist me to open my heart, seek your face, lovingly gaze at you, basking in your presence, and getting to know and more deeply love my Abba Father and his heart for me?

Finally, I bring those I will interact with that day and my task list to the Holy Spirit for guidance. I ask the Spirit to prepare me and give me what I need for the day, whether that might be courage, perseverance, rest, whatever.  And I ask which Top 3 things to prioritize doing that day. I also journal questions and responses about those activities, or what I will be writing or teaching.

I include prayers of gratitude, petitions, and intercession, and persistent prayers for our world and for loved ones to come to Jesus. If you’d like me to add one of your prayer intentions to my intercessions for a month, join my elist and email me your request.

About once a week or after a tough day, I do an examen, reflecting on the previous day(s) and what I need to repent or let go of, whether that be sins, a spiritual hindrance, or a time-consuming task. Then I pray through that (often using the Gospel’s Five Keys described in Neal Lozano’s book, Unbound: Repentance & Faith; Forgiveness; Renunciation; Authority in the Name of Jesus; and the Father’s Blessing.  

Yes, there are days that are drier than others, a clue usually showing me something about my attitude or the crowdedness of my calendar. Blessedly, the Lord can handle anything we throw at Him, and He really wants to guide us.

I absolutely love my time with the Lord every morning. (And it’s an extra blessing when, like shown here, my dog joins me and my husband delivers breakfast on a tray!) The fruits (spiritual ones) this practice has yielded in my life are growing in intimacy with the Holy Trinity, help in eliminating the extreme busyness that used to haunt me all the time, and awareness of God-incidences, miracles, signs, and wonders. So worth it!!!

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