One question I often encounter about how to pray is: how can I listen to what God is saying to me? In order to answer the question, we need to be aware of the different ways through which God communicates with us.
The book “God Guides” by Mary Geegh talks about her experiences about listening to God. She was a missionary in India for 38 years.
The way she listened to God was quite simple. Whenever she needed to consult God about something (and this happened everyday), she would sit down, with a notepad and pencil and would wait for God to respond, she would then write down whatever she heard and then do whatever God asked her to do.
Even if what God asked her to do were unusual, she would do them without hesitation. There was one particular story about a fellow missionary whom she had a disagreement with. Mary asked God what to do so that their disagreement would be resolved. She heard an ‘inner voice’ tell her to give her colleague an egg. She did just that; she gave her colleague an egg and apologized for the unusual act.
It turned out that the colleague needed one more egg to feed her family that night and she was wondering how she would be able to get one. There were many more experiences that Mary talked about in her book about her communications with God.
When I read her book, I hoped that God communicates with me the same way since it was very simple and natural. I then realized that God communicates with us in a lot of ways, some of which, we are not aware of.
One way that God uses to communicate with us is through an “inner voice” inside us. Some people call it the Holy Spirit. People describe it as a small voice. For me, I call it a ‘voice without a voice’ because it is a thought that just enters the mind and brings calm or peace and certain ‘rightness’.
God also makes use of our conscience to communicate to us. Through it, He tells us what is right and what is wrong.
God also communicates with us through daily events that happen in our lives. For example, we get a job offer out of the blue that changes our career direction. Somebody we haven’t heard from for quite a while calls us. We can learn much simply what God is saying by observing what transpires around us.
Another way that God speaks through us is through our pain. As C. S. Lewis said: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pain: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” It is oftentimes when we hurt that we hear what, in our pride and self-sufficiency, we would otherwise never bother with.
When we are in pain, we tend to be more open and contemplating, and that leads us to God.
God also speaks to us with the use of other people. Sometimes we find answers in people we talk to without meaning to find one. There are also instances when we find answers in the homily during Sunday’s mass.
Dreams are also ways through which God communicates with us. He also communicates with us through nature or his physical creations. There are a lot more ways but most importantly, He communicates with us through his word. Much of the listening part is simply taking to heart what God is telling us through His written Word, the Bible. Much of the listening is in soaking ourselves in the wisdom of the Scripture.
Sometimes we are not aware of it, but God communicates with us everyday. We just have to open up our heart and mind to him in order to hear Him better. Part two of this two part series will talk about ways on how we can listen to what God is telling us.
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