By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
First Baptist Church
Even though the Bible, God’s infallible Word, frequently tells Christians to pray, I am convinced that we need to pray less, and listen more to God. This does not mean that we should ignore the Bible’s emphasis on the importance of frequent prayer, but it does mean that we should talk less to God and listen more to him. In our relationship to God, we Christians might be like those persons, who, in human relationships, do all the talking and little listening. So, we need to be honest with ourselves and determine if we expect God to be a good listener while we do all the talking.
How can we listen more to God? It is not by having long periods of silence, during which we hope to hear God speak to us. That is atually a dangerous practice because we can mistakenly think God is speaking to us directly when it might only be our imagination or, much worse, it might be Satan or demons trying to communicate to us. They do this to lead us away from Biblical truth.
The answer to my question, “How can we listen more to God?” is this: READ THE BIBLE MORE! God speaks to us through his Word. We won’t hear an audible voice, see visions, or have other unusual experiences when we read the Word Of God. But God will speak to us. And in so doing he will draw us closer to himself, he will show us what sins we need to confess and forsake, he will correct our false doctrines, he will tell us what we need to pray about, he will reveal his honor, glory, and majesty to us, and he will do other things for us and in us. Therefore, we can understand why we should pray less and listen more to God through reading his Word. In your relationship with God, do you expect him to do most of the listening while you do most of the talking? If so, you need to change that at once!
I wish I could recall the name of this famous preacher from a past generation, but in a biography of this man of God, the biographer pointed out that toward the end of his life he came to the conclusion he should have prayed less and read the Bible more. We might need to learn from his own experience.
In this post, Bible -reading is emphasized. But we need some guidance about Bible translations. I prefer the King James Version and the New King James Version. The King James Version is in old English, and often hard to understand. But the New King James Version is in modern English. I also recommend these modern English translations: the English Standard Version and the updated New American Standard Version.