Without realizing it until today, the last year my prayer life has changed. I started out going on "prayer walks" because I found myself falling back to sleep on my knees in the mornings. I'd be so tired from not enough sleep and I really was hungry for more of God. The spirit was willing but the body was so weak. Evening prayers were always much better.
One day my cousin told me she went on prayer walks very early in the morning. I liked that idea and decided to try it. But instead of it being prayer walks for me, per se, they became praise walks. I'd just praise the Lord and then periodically break into speaking in tongues (prayer). Then I'd find a bench in a park and sit and watch the sunrise and bask in the glory of God and meditate on his goodness. Then I'd pray for a bit and read the Word. In the summer time it was great, but it was a little more challenging in the rain and in the winter when it was dark and cold. I still got up between 5:00 and 6:00 am and went out. I enjoyed our times together.
After I relocated I continued my praise walks, but a little later due to the area; the format remained the same. Something was slowly dawning in my spirit though. After my praise time and "prayer" I realized that I spent a lot of time in meditation, just listening to the Holy Spirit. When I caught a bad cold a few weeks ago and the weather here turned cold, I stopped going out on my praise walks. It just wasn't wise. However, I'm a little more conditioned now and I just ask the Lord to wake me up so we can have that time together and he's been gracious enough to do so.
One day last week I was in a rush and didn't take the time for meditation. I remember feeling as though I'd missed a step as when you're walking and you almost fall. Then today as I got up off my knees I realized something. The times of meditation are times when I'm actually listening to God for my instruction for the day. They're the times when He is speaking to me!
It reminded me of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-31. The two disciples were walking and talking with Jesus and Jesus was explaining things to them and they didn't realize that it was Jesus that was actually there walking with them and breaking down the Scriptures to them until he sat down at the table to eat bread with them. Then their eyes were opened...
In Ephesians 6:18, Paul says, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests..." I thought, prayer is listening to God just as much or even more so than speaking to God. The different types of prayers started running through my mind, petition, intercessory, prayer in tongues, but I hear little taught on the dialogue of prayer. Most of the time I hear folk talk about what they say to God, which sounds more like a monologue; whether that's praying God's Word, reminding him of his promises, binding and losing, interceding, but I don't hear to much about listening to God.
As Paul says, there are all kinds of prayers but I think we need to also remember to take the time to listen as fervently as we speak. Prayer is a dialogue. Let's practice listening too.
Help me to hear your heart Oh, God.
To listen to your heart beat.
To see your smile as you speak.
To see your tears as they fall for the lost.
Help me to hear your heart Oh, God,
as it breaks for your people who pass you by.
Help me to listen and help me obey.