Tag Archives: listening

Active listening – How to Control the Mental Racket when I Pray

Active listening – How to Control the Mental Racket when I Pray

A lesson on active listening

active listening

The other day I read a post about being an active listener and how important it can be. I have a head that never stops thinking except when I am asleep. And I’m not sure about that either as I do have dreams.

How can I stop this mental racket and use active listening? (tweet this)

When I’m listening to someone I do try to keep eye contact and be fully engaged. The problem is that I can get so engaged with what been said that it brings to mind other ideas. And then I feel like I’m going to burst because I want to interact. I know I need to wait for the person to stop talking or at least a break in the conversation. But as you see this leads to not actively listening. If I wait until they are finished I will lose those thoughts. That shouldn’t bother me – but it does.

I want to work on this part of me. I want to find a way of actively listening without interrupting. In church I take sermon notes. This helps me to relax, assured that if I have a question I can jot it down to ask the minister later.

This whole thing made me think about my relationship with God and how I talk to Him. My prayers consist mostly of my talking. Period. That’s it.

But what if my prayers consisted of active listening too? (tweet this)

Could I sit still and really clear my mind of my thoughts and questions and wait for God to speak?

The first time I tried this, years ago, I couldn’t sit still for longer than 5 minutes. After that time I became restless and uncomfortable.

I have, over the years, become better at this. But lately I know I have once again reverted back to talk, talk and talk some more.

That is until yesterday when I read this verse in the Bible from Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you and watch over you.

Oh my – yes that’s what’s been missing I thought.

I need to STOP what I’m doing and go to God to hear Him. (tweet this)

He says He will instruct, teach and counsel me.

So for the first time in a long time I sat quietly before God. It took me a few uncomfortable, head-filled restless minutes, but eventually I relaxed and opened my heart and head to His Presence.

I felt Him. I felt the peace of Jesus. I even had a few pictures in my mind too. But mostly I heard – You’ve come back.

In my SIMPLE Method of Bible study the outline using these letters gives a time to pray and listen to God. If you want to know more about this method, Join my newsletter and get a free PDF.

May I pray for you and me?

Father, we know we have very active minds that sometimes don’t want to shut down. Help us to learn how to clear our hearts and minds of the mental clatter to be able to hear from You. Give us time to be present with You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Until next time, while you study a verse or passage take time to pray and listen to God’s voice. You will be inspired.

You can listen to this devotional on my podcast for Hope Stream Radio.

active listening

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#UTCOP – A prayer and an answer

A prayer and an Answer

by Rose Harmer


Photo from free digital photos.net

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for accepting and loving me! I also thank You for Your family of believers who consistently obey Your heavenly calling and teach us so much.

I confess I long for those wonderful days of camp meetings when we, as young people, would seek Your face until almost midnight. We witnessed the outpouring of Your Holy Spirit through many decades.

We long for revival now in our lives and in our churches.

Rose hears this answer:

My child, I long to fill you each day with My Holy Spirit. You will find peace if you follow My ways and My direction. I am the Potter and you are the clay. As you pray, I will make and mold you after My will. Stay yielded to Me. Seek to really know Me, the giver of life, peace and joy.

Thank You, Lord, for Your direction both in Your Word and by Your Spirit speaking inaudibly to me.
Thank You for my husband and the fact we both desire Your will in our lives.
Thank You for Christian writers, such as Catherine Marshall and David Wilkerson, who inspire us.

Help those people who have asked for prayer. Teach me to know what You want me to do.

I love and praise You, Amen.


Rose prays a prayer and hears an answer. (tweet this)


Rose Spillenaar Harmer

Rose was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, and speaks on subjects related to marriage, family and mental health.  Her travels take her throughout North America and she winters in Cape Coral, Florida.

Her published words include a short biography in Clayton’s Kids (2009) and a column entitled “Listening” which will be part of a forth-coming book.  Contact Rose.

#UTCOP – How Can I Have a Conversation with God?

#UTCOP – How Can I Have a Conversation with God?

by Joy Lenton


Have you ever thought that you wouldn’t bother God with your concerns?

Maybe they feel too small or huge to hand over to Him and you wonder if it might be wasting His time; and isn’t He just too busy taking care of really important things/people to be free to take care of me? Thankfully, no and no.

Nothing matters more to our loving heavenly Father
than being available to us ~ all of the time.

There are no constraints. No limits to His love, patience, kindness and compassion. We can take every concern to Him in prayer and be reassured that He hears, will take it seriously and respond appropriately.

There are promises in His word reminding us of God’s faithfulness, steadfastness and fatherly care, yet we so often feel we cannot share This _ fill in the blank.. with Him. Maybe shame or fear hold us back, or anxiety about how to pray and what to say. Because we are apt to forget how much He loves us, how we are no surprise to our Creator, how He has paid the price to set us free from the worst of ourselves to become our best true selves in Christ.

Sometimes we get lost in the silence and fail to listen for the gentle whispered reply. Sometimes we draw back because prayers seem to go unanswered and we are just too hurt to pray again. Sometimes God speaks clearly but we don’t like what He is saying.

No matter the cause, God wants us to see prayer as vital and intrinsic,
simple and natural to our lives as breathing.

Long words and pious speech are not necessary. We can say nothing or chat just as we would to our best friend, because that’s just what He is. In everyday conversation with those we love and are comfortable around there will be times of sitting in a companionable silence, times of non-stop exuberant chatter, times of leaning on the other where tears alone speak volumes. So it is with God.

He invites us to come just as we are.

To share our moments and our days, be caught up in His will and ways, and to let our hearts break with what breaks His. We have all of heaven’s resources at our disposal, Holy Spirit interceding for us when words fail, an alertly attentive Father above whose heart spills with tremendous grace and love, so what’s stopping us?

Come to Him today.

He won’t rebuke you for any delay but He will welcome you and me with arms wide open.


Father, forgive us for making prayer a thing to fear, a chore, ritual or dutiful habit rather than a conversation with The One who loves us beyond measure and rejoices over us with singing. Help us to make time to talk to you and time for you to speak to us, knowing our lives will be greatly enriched, our journey of life and faith enhanced and our hearts rewarded by peace and joy for every minute we offer to you. Amen.


 God invites us to come just as we are. (tweet this)

God wants us to see prayer as vital and intrinsic, simple and natural. (tweet this)

Joy Lenton


Joy is a grace-dweller and storyteller who weaves words out of the fabric of her days. Her desire is to seek the poetic in the prosaic and look for the eternal in the temporal.

As an M.E and chronic illness sufferer, who is also recovering from a painful past, she writes with a heart for the hurting and to support and encourage others who are struggling with life and faith issues.

She is  a member of the Association of Christian Writers and Fellowship of Christian bloggers.

You can connect with her at her blogs, ‘Words of Joy’ or ‘Poetry Joy’, and on TwitterFacebookGoogle + or Pinterest.


What is God’s Healing Counsel?

What is God’s Healing Counsel?

by Rose Harmer


From Free Digital Photos.net

This morning as I was having my devotional time I came across a wonderful scripture which has stayed in my mind. (I generally follow a format I learned from the book “The Hour that Changes the World” by Dick Eastman. He breaks up the hour into sections and my devotional blog utilizes the “listening” portion. This one covers the reading of the Word and my thanksgiving.)

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us (2 Corinthians 1:3 -4,The Message).


Then I prayed:


Dear Father, I thank you very much for loving and accepting me as your child. I have experienced your healing counsel from the first day I asked you to be Lord and Saviour of my life.
Thank you so much for the healing which sometimes seemed a long time in coming but included lessons imprinted upon my heart with your great love.
Thank you for the opportunities you bring my way to share your love with others. It is an awesome privilege! Help me to speak your words of love and grace to them. I love you. Amen

I remembered a time when God brought opportunities for me to share His love.


Here is what I remembered.

I thought of someone who had come across my path as I was walking. We had conversed a couple times when she shared that she was having a biopsy done of her breast and was thoroughly frightened as her sister had just been diagnosed with cancer.

I told her I would pray for her. Then she said she wished she would know how to pray. We stopped at a pavilion in the park and as I held her hand, she prayed for God to come into her life and also to let the biopsy be negative.

God did answer her prayer in the affirmative and she is cancer free.

Although we parted that next week I pray God will bring someone else into her life with His healing counsel.


How to use God’s Word to help others. (tweet this)

Rose Spillenaar Harmer

Rose was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, and speaks on subjects related to marriage, family and mental health.  Her travels take her throughout North America and she winters in Cape Coral, Florida.

Her published words include a short biography in Clayton’s Kids (2009) and a column entitled “Listening” which will be part of a forth-coming book.  Contact Rose.


What’s It like in Poland?

What’s It Like in Poland?

new-Warsaw.Marriott Hotel

Marriott Hotel – in Warsaw Poland 2013


Bombed completely during WWII – Old Warsaw restored to show what it was like before 1945

Every other Tuesday I write at Family and Faith Matters. This Tuesday I talked about my trip to Poland with my husband. I have been on 4 mission trips to Poland but never had a chance to see the country. We visited Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, Gorzow, Malbork and Gdansk. We also went for a few hours by the sea in Stegna.

You can see my post at Am I Listening to God?


What’s Up, God?

What’s Up, God?

by Janis Cox

What's Up God?

Sometimes this is my question to God.

“What’s Up, God?”

I try live in the moment, be aware what God is doing around me and follow Him. That’s my Mary heart.

Then there is, “I need to do” personality. My list gets longer. Time gets shorter. My head is full.

STOP – ask the question:

“What’s Up, God? Where are You in this?”

My conversation continues as I listen to His answers.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:4, NIV).

Then I remember –

I am a work in progress with God’s Hand on me. (tweet this)

Hurrah! I don’t have to fret about whether I am Mary or Martha as long as I am connected to Jesus.

So I continue on my Mary/Martha journey, excited with each insight God gives me.

I grow. I learn. I question. I get answers. I continue. I repeat.

That is prayer – talking to God.


Thanks, Lord, for the way you have made us able to connect to You, at any time, or place. Thanks for listening. Thanks for Your advice in the Bible. Thanks for speaking thoughts into my mind. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Janis Cox

Janis Cox - Author and Illustrator

Janis, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. A writer since 2003, Janis co-ordinates a group blog called Under the Cover of Prayer. She is also a contributor to a group blog called Family and Faith Matters.

Janis is the author of the award winning children’s book, Tadeo Turtle, published by Word Alive Press. She is the author and watercolour illustrator. For more information visit Janis on her website He Cares for You. She is a member of The Word Guild andInscribe Writers Fellowship.


How Does God Say, “I Will Help You”?

by Rose Spillenaar Harmer


Why Do We Pray?

Reading Psalms 139:13-14 (NLT) is amazing:

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it.”

Of course I will help you.
Do not be afraid for I am your true strength.
You draw wisdom, understanding and knowledge from this hour with Me.

It is a quiet understanding that I will help you with all things,
Because I love and care for you
I will give you courage and boldness.

Remember the old adage ‘there are no stupid questions’.
It is only when you neglect to ask Me or others that
you stop growing and learning.

I know you feel comfortable with Me because we have had
a meaningful relationship for many, many years.

The times we walk and talk together are precious to Me.
I know you wonder how that can be since I am King of all kings.

However, I am the God who fashioned you in your mother’s womb,
and knows your inner thoughts and needs.

I love you, My precious child.

Sometimes, it is hard for me to comprehend that God truly is interested in everything we do!! Yet, He does care and wants to help us accomplish those tasks he planned for us to do.

Each day as I talk to God about even trivial concerns,
He helps me choose a better perspective. (tweet this)

Since we live in small places, it sometimes is difficult to entertain guests easily and I often feel stressed.

Yet one time, in the midst of a situation, God directed me to a scripture 1 Peter 4:8, 9 (NLT):

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay”. 

Reminders , such as this scripture from the Lord, are very wonderful as they encourage rather than discourage us and assist us in learning His way of living lovingly and peacefully.

Rose Spillenaar Harmer

Rose was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, and speaks on subjects related to marriage, family and mental health.  Her travels take her throughout North America and she winters in Cape Coral, Florida.  Her published words include a short biography in Clayton’s Kids (2009) and a column entitled “Listening” which will be part of a forth-coming book.  Contact Rose.


We have the privilege and pleasure to have Johanne Roberston, who is editor and co-publisher at Maranatha News, allow us to reprint her post.

An invitation to Journey with Johanne

Praying Hands

For the past several months, God has been calling me to something new. And I want to share it with you.

He’s been calling me to pray.

Of course—he’s been calling me to pray my entire life—but more recently, I’ve been aware of God calling me to pray for specific people, people He has laid on my heart who were struggling.

I’ve found it easiest to write out my prayers.

As an encouragement, I’ve sent those written prayers to the people I was praying for, along with hymns and songs of praise. Some of those people have told me that God has been using those prayers to bring about change in their hearts and in their circumstances. That’s been humbling to learn.

It is impossible that I could pray for people
and not be affected myself.

I’m feeling an incredible sense of gratitude to the Lord for this place called intercession, in which God has called me to serve others. It’s a different place, a place of quietness, surrender and humility, but also of gut-wrenching fear at times. It’s a place of truth, faith and healing, and of a refreshing boldness in God that calls me, beckoning me to come deeper.

I feel different. I feel as though
God is calling me differently.

I don’t know what that means, but I know it’s not about friendships, family, fame, crafty words or songs with nice lyrics. It’s about a loving God who is calling us, all of us, to total surrender as he rearranges our lives.

I feel an incredible presence of the Holy Spirit
as I wake up in the mornings.

I know my prayer life in the past—outside of praying for people he’s directed me to—has been minimal. I know it, and I’m sensing that perhaps it’s just time for me to get serious with God’s calling on my life; not just to believe God for others, but to believe Him for myself, to believe that God truly loves me.

Yeah, perhaps it’s time to give it all to Jesus.

So I prayed a new prayer:

“Here I am Lord, surrendering to your will: surrendering my life, my friends, my thoughts, my heart, my business, my family, my finances, the deep places I don’t talk about, the things I don’t understand, the things I barely do, surrendering my victories and my defeats, everything that’s wonderful about me and everything that’s not.

I surrender all the people and things that have devastated and shattered me in the past, and offer forgiveness in every situation of hurt as I seek your face this day. Cleanse me lord, purify my thoughts.

Take hold of me and change me from within. Let your will become mine. Help me today be who you’ve called me to be. Even today. In Jesus name. Amen.”

I share these intimate thoughts with you, friends and readers, because I believe that surrender is ultimately what God calls us all to. I’m excited to see what He has in store. Throughout 2013, I’ll post up-dates, as I feel led. I invite you to join me in the journey.

Thank you so much Johanne for showing us how prayer can change a life.

 Johanne Robertson


Johanne  is a writer, speaker. She is co-founder and co-publisher of Maranatha News, (www.maranathanews.com) a Canadian Christian Online News Source celebrating 16 years of serving the Christian community, and co-founder of Read for Life, a ministry encouraging Canadians to read life-changing books.


 Leave Your Calling Card – A Guest Post

by Brenda Leyland  (reprinted with permission)

A SHORT TIME ago a fellow blogging friend emailed to tell me that I was the answer to a prayer she’d prayed that very morning!

Interesting thing about it all, I thought I was just ‘minding my own business’. I had no idea that I’d stumbled into the stream of someone’s earnest desire and request to God. All I was aware was that, in the culture and manner of Blogland, I’d come across her link in someone else’s comment box, and thought, Mmmm, I haven’t been to see Sulo in such a long time, a visit is long overdue.  

So I popped over there… to see what she’s been sharing and find out what she’s been up to. Knowing from my own experience just how important it is to find a ‘calling card’ in one’s comment box, I took the time to read more closely so I could share a comment or two on the ones that particularly spoke to me.

Lo and behold, within a short time, I found an e-mail reply back from my friend saying that I couldn’t have any idea what my comments meant to her that day. For that very morning, as she got up from bed, she asked the Lord to have someone leave a comment so that she could know for sure somebody out there was reading her postings.

And, when she clicked on her computer there in her inbox was an email indicating that someone had, indeed, been to visit and left comments. As Sulo put it:

 “What did I see… your e-mail with the comments — an answer to my prayer as a confirmation. What more proof do we need to believe God hears our prayers? Aren’t we so blessed to have such an awesome God who cares about even minute things like page-viewing!”

I’m humbled… and so honoured to have been a part of the Lord’s answer to Sulo’s heart cry. To have heeded the little nudge that I could so easily have postponed or ignored, in my view that is a glimpse of heaven in a most unexpected place…for me and for her…maybe for you too!





The 4 Nows

by Jan Cox

Early Morning Time with God

“God You are my God … and I will ever praise You… I will seek You in the morning and I will learn to walk in Your ways… step by step you’ll lead me and I’ll follow You all of my days.” Step by Step by Michael W. Smith

I sing that. And then I forget what it means.

This is NOT what I have been doing. Other things get crammed into my early mornings – my IPOD, ideas, my new book, surfing the Net. All these things seep into my time – this early morning time – with You.

It has happened before and I know it will happen again. But I am sorry. I have forgotten that You must be first.

So, I have come up with:


NOW (this morning time) is a time for PRAYER.

I have not been vigilant. I do pray whenever the Spirit leads me but I have been lax lifting those people, whom I have promised to pray for, to You on a regular basis. So this morning time will be for that.

NOW (this morning time) is a time for PRAISE.

Whether it is through music or words – I want to sing Your praises. I have not done this enough. The Psalms would be a good place to start. Music too. My drive to Peterborough and back reminded me how much I love to sing praise to You.

NOW (this morning time) is a time for STUDY.

That means studying Your Word. I have been doing my Bible Study on returning from Poland – but not regularly. I have been back almost a month and I am not finished yet. I want to delve into the Word and hear what You want to tell me.

NOW (this morning time) is a time for YOU.

Yes, I want to remember to still my mind before You. I want to take this time to stop thinking and talking and start listening. I need this – it focuses me; it refreshes me; it gives me peace.

So here it a new start (once again). May my mornings be for You. May this time not be wasted with other “things”.

How about you? Do you live with God in the NOW? Can you take time, whether it is morning, afternoons, evening or the middle of the night – to meet with our God? It doesn’t matter how long but it does matter if you do it.

What do you think?

Here is Michael Smith singing Step by Step.

Counting My Blessings – to 2000 – I am at 1666

        • God’s peace
        • Great prayers
        • Good thoughts
        • Working on Tadeo Revision
        • Being asked to speak about my trip to Poland to the UCW
        • Playing in pool with grandchildren and watching to see what great swimmers they are
        • Bath time with grandchildren
        • Storytime with grandchildren
        • Thanks for keeping me awake, Lord, on the way home
        • Singing Your praises while I drive
        • Conversation with You while I drive
        • A stressful situation finished
        • Great swim in the lake from our boat
        • Knowing it was NOT the right digital piano
        • The love of my hubby
        • Excitement felt in my daughter as she gets ready for her Kindergarten class
        • Life growing inside my daughter
        • Questions are good
        • Debates are good
        • Scripture is powerful
        • “Wages of sin is death: the Gift of God is eternal life in Jesus” (Romans 6:23)
        • The morning sunshine

Janis Cox - Author and Illustrator

Janis Cox

Jan, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published two devotionals and a number of articles for magazines and a Bible study. She is owner of Under the Cover of Prayer and moderates the site. She also writes at A Better Way. Jan has completed a children’s book called Tadeo Turtle. She is the watercolour illustrator. Word Alive will be publishing this story and it will be available later this summer. See more about Tadeo at Jan’s Website.