Personal prayer: Listening to God

I believe many people find comfort in doing spiritual rituals or sacraments done in a group, for example communion, or the Lord’s supper, which was historically celebrated in a gathering of believers.  After all, the “church” is a group of believers and prayer can often be a part of worship.  Prayer, however, was almost always intended primarily to be individually done in a quiet place per Christ’s example and His admonitions (Matthew 6:5-6).  However, Christ and Pastors have modeled prayers in front of a group for their/our education and benefit, such as the “Lord’s Prayer.”  Bottom line, God cares most about our attitude of heart and the motivation for our prayers.  An humble spirit and spirit of intimacy with God can be difficult in a group setting, although I believe there is spiritual benefit in small group believer’s prayers done with an humble heart, as we are led by the Holy Spirit.  God is not impressed by numbers or fancy words (Matthew 6:7), but by each of our individual hearts (1 Samuel 16:7), with prayers said sincerely and with reverent humility (James 4:10), in reverence before an all powerful and loving God.  It’s been widely said by great spiritual leaders, using Christ and the apostles as examples, that at least half of our time in prayer should be spent in listening to God speak to us via the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26, Hebrews 4:12).  We often ask the questions, but don’t wait around for his answer.  Just as in human relationships (with our spouse, our children, our close friends), God desires communion (communication) with us.  A dialogue. Not a monologue.  There is no communion if we aren’t listening.

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