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I would like to share something with you which seems to be gaining traction in some of the circles I run in. It is something very simple and humble. It's an approach to listening prayer and to being better able to hear the voice of Jesus.
Here's the backstory. My wife Teri and I have been married for 30 years. For our entire married life, she has been so much better at hearing the voice of Jesus than myself. She has a very humble posture and a childlike faith. She seems to be able to much more quickly and nimbly listen to his whispers and quiet direction in her life, and even on behalf of others. This past summer, I asked her, “What does that look like? Can we “pop the hood” and explore the mechanics of this experience? How, exactly, are you able to hear Jesus' voice so clearly? What are you asking him? What is he saying to you in those moments, where you seem to hear well what he is saying?”
She's not one that seeks attention. She does not readily draw matters to herself, so it took a little bit of coaxing. But eventually, she shared it with me, and I have shared this simple approach with many others. They are utilizing it and finding themselves walking more intimately with Jesus and, in turn, passing it on to others. I call it, clear the air listening prayer.
In many circles listening prayer is a dimension of prayerfulness that is being rediscovered by the church, by leadership teams, and by individual Christ-followers. Rather than prayer being merely a monologue to God, we pause to listen to what Jesus might have to say. But there's another element to this, and that is the “clear-the-air” part. This is what Teri said she does and what I am passing on to you today.
It is a prayer that begins with a declarative statement.
“In Jesus' name, I command all other voices to fall silent. That of myself, that of others, and that of the enemy. And now Jesus, is there anything you would like to say to me or show me. Speak now, for your servant is listening.”
Then just listen and leave the agenda up to Jesus. In this, Jesus might remind you of a passage of scripture; the Holy Spirit frequently works in this way. It could be a picture, a phrase; it could be a simple prompting to call somebody.
Did you notice the first part of the prayer isn't praying to God? It is utilizing the spiritual authority that every Jesus-follower has in Christ. It's not our authority; it's his authority. We see this in the Great Commission, “All authority has been given to me, therefore go…” The clear implication is Jesus has given you this authority, now go and walk in it.
The first part is not a prayer of intercession but of declaration, “In Jesus' name may all other voices fall silent, that of myself, that of others, and that have the enemy.” It is declaring a reality that only comes into being as we declare it in Jesus' name.
Let's talk about those other voices. We all have voices in our heads, some of us perhaps more than others. We have the voice of self. Many of us, depending on the personality style, can get lost in our thoughts. I find myself in that category quite frequently. We are, in a sense, commanding those voices just to quiet down.
Then we all have the voice of others. This can be the voice of authority figures in our life to be strong and courageous. Or it might be voices that condemn and discourage. It might even be the voice of the culture that we live in, demanding us to take on its priorities and perspective.
And then there is the voice of the enemy. The enemy seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. He seeks to deceive and destroy the work of Jesus in the world. Many promptings are in the New Testament to be aware of this, including that of Paul, urging us to put on the Armor of God so that we can stand against the enemy schemes.
Fourthly, there's one more category of voice, and that's the voice of Jesus. He is the Word, the Word of God. He is a revelatory God. He is always revealing himself. Even his quiet presence is declaring his goodness, his Holiness.
In clear the air listening prayer, we seek to quiet or silence other voices so that the voice of Jesus can be heard more clearly. Hebrews 10 says that we have great confidence to enter the most holy of places that Jesus, by his blood, has given his followers. We have been given access to him in times of need. He welcomes us to draw near to him. Certainly, a keen benefit of drawing near to him is to hear his voice and know his heart.
You may have people who do not yet know Christ in their life. Imagine using this prayerful approach to ask Jesus what he might have to say about their journey to faith in him? I know some church leadership teams utilizing this simple prayer posture to listen to the voice of Jesus. You could be in the marketplace and ask Jesus to speak into your endeavors to prosper your business and extend the blessing of God to others.
The sky's the limit on this. It's nothing new. It's not rocket science. It is a way of entering the most holy of places and desiring only Jesus’ voice to speak. Sometimes I hear a voice; sometimes, I sense a whisper. Sometimes I have an impression or a picture, and sometimes it's his mere presence that is revealed.
Perhaps you want to approach Jesus in this way right now.
"In Jesus' name, I command all voices to fall silent.
That of self. That of others. That of the enemy.
Jesus, is there anything you wish to say to me or to show me.
Speak now, for your servant is listening."
Then just listen for a few moments. Be still and let the mind of Christ that resides within you be heard.
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