Recently I read an article by Dave Branon, a writer for the daily devotional “Our Daily Bread.” The article was entitled, “The Listening Prayer”. The title immediately caught my attention. In the article, Dave Branon dealt with the need for true conversational prayer. Conversation, as we know, involves dialogue, a combination of talking and listening. In the article, Dave Branon asks this very thought-provoking question: “Could it be that the way we talk to God is a one-sided conversation dominated by us?” When asked what prayer is, people often respond that prayer is simply talking to God. Though that is true in one aspect, the more correct statement ought to be that Biblical prayer is not only talking “to” God, but talking “with” God. We can assume that if God wants to hear from us that he would also want to talk to us. In Psalm 86, David deals with this topic of communication between God and man. Remember that the Scripture speaks of David as “a man after God’s own heart.”
In verse 1, David says “Hear me. O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.” Although we are not told what David’s specific need was at this time, we do know that he felt he needed an answer from God. In verse 7, David shares this testimony about his previous conversations with God when he says: “When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.” David is saying that when he talks to God, God not only hears, but he answers. David has come to expect that sort of two-way conversation and so should we.
Then in verse 11, David, talking to God, says this: “Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness.” This tells us that David relied on God as a guide in his life and that he expected God to speak truth and wisdom to him and that he was a willing listener.
We can learn a lot from David. We all need to know not only how to pray but also how to listen. God’s desire is to speak to us in all matters of our lives. So let’s really pray.
Pastor Joe Boeringa is pastor at Vineland Native American Chapel.