Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
Recently, I was praying together with a woman over an issue that the two of us shared. As we prayed, we were seeking Jesus to help us understand why we were so prone to sin in one particular area. We began with one question, asking Jesus to speak to us right there. I was able to hear what Jesus had to say to me and I wrote it down. But my friend was frustrated, unable to hear.
I asked her a few questions to try and determine what was keeping her from hearing in this case and ultimately we came to another issue where she had a question. That question was keeping her from actually listening to Jesus in the first question. I prompted her to ask this second question and to do so out loud. As she quieted her mind and asked the Lord Jesus her question, something wonderful happened. She HEARD Him speak an answer to her heart.
In both questions, I too asked the Lord, quietly what He wanted to say to me and I received an answer quietly each time.
Once that question was answered, we returned to the first question. Again, I encouraged her to ask the question aloud. This time, she clearly heard the answer again, almost before the question itself was fully formed. I could see the joy on her face in discovering that Jesus not only listens to her prayers but is willing to answer her directly in a voice she is able to recognize.
In that moment, my friend and I were able to enter a place of rest in the Lord's provision for our situation. Our hearts were soft to hear His response and the result was hope and rest that we would be able to move forward and overcome the thing that kept tripping us up. We both realized that this was part of a process, but it was a hopeful process.
When we were nearly finished, she asked me why I was able to hear while I silently asked my question and she seemed to need to ask it aloud. I admired her courage and honesty in asking. Not everyone is willing to ask a question like that. Here is how I responded: 'I've been doing this for many years, training myself to ask my heart's questions. In the beginning, I learned to do it with the aid of a mentor and it was done aloud just like you did. But now that my 'hearing' has become keener, I am able to do it on my own and in my spirit. At the same time, when I am really struggling, I still go to my mentor and she helps me ask the questions that my heart struggles to ask. It's just another part of the process.'
I'd like to invite you to join my friend and I in learning how to ask for wisdom and then listen, with a heart and ears that are ready to hear what He has to say to you. The result will be rest.