As you could fathom from my "Learning How to Listen" experience I
needed to revise my prayer life. I hadn't spent many long hours in prayer
prior to that I'm sad to say. Well, it was like talking to a piece of
furniture. How long can you keep that up before you get distracted or bored?
The furniture doesn't respond and I couldn't hear God responding. I knew
prayer was necessary because, in my head, I knew God could answer those
prayers if He so chose. So, I continued throwing requests at him (preceded
by praise and thanks and all the other "proper" things, of course) and
didn't bother to listen because I never knew He would answer!
Now that I knew there was much more to praying I wanted even more!
I tried to recreate the same prayer experience again and again. I would
light the same candles and sit on the same spot on the same couch. Not much happened. God, in
His wisdom, knew that if I did that every time and heard from Him then that
would be the only way and place I would pray. That was not what He wanted.
He wanted me to be talking to Him all the time and listening all the time.
After learning how to communicate with God He
felt real to me
and everything seemed different. I could look on other people with more love
than I had before. I felt more confidence in the witnessing I did. I felt I
could reach out and touch my Sunday School students with God's love. I was
told by other people that they could see a change in me. Hallelujah!
He began to tell me to abide in Christ. He wanted me to learn more
about Him. He wanted to use me, but I wasn't sure how.
I had known for a long time that I had a gift of discernment. I
wasn't aware how extensive it was. I'd been very critical of people for a
very long time. I noticed things they did and said that other people didn't
see. I could often tell what was going through someone's mind by the look on
their face, the tone in their voice, or by other things they did. My poor
husband would roll his eyes when I told him things about people. He figured
I had a great imagination. I didn't understand why I was the only one to
notice those things.
God told me my gift of discernment was for edification of the body,
not for my own personal use. So, in other words, I was supposed to use the
discernments to pray for specific needs in a person's life, or to show me
who might need encouragement, or in other ways that would edify. I was not
to share what I saw with others just to have a topic of conversation. Now,
ask me if it has been easy getting rid of that bad habit! Gee whiz, I'd been
doing it most of my life! It's like trying to stop a locomotive going full
The wonderful thing is that God not only tells me where He wants me
to change, but He is with me each step of the journey. Not only that, but
now I can feel His love. I want to change because He loves me. He constantly
gives me encouragement and approval in many different ways.
I was asking God what areas in my life were needing to be changed
and He was showing me. Most of the things that needed changing involved
going through a process called, "Dying to Self." I describe my journey down
that interesting road in section #4.
4. Going through the Process of Dying-to-Self