Prayer Notes #6–Choosing to Hear

Handbells at North Church, Elmira, NY
Handbells in their Case

My Lord, how you work in faithful purposefulness!  You give me a heart that is able to listen.  You intentionally choose to place me where I can be of use.  Though, all too often I fail to pay attention.  The failure is in my attentiveness, my alertness, not in the clarity of your voice.  You speak to me, but usually I am giving my rapt attention to my own voice.

I wonder, Lord, is  spiritual “hearing”  a voluntary act rather than a passive reality?  Lord, I cannot choose whether I can hear a sound in the natural sense.  My ears are wonderfully made.  I can hear the sound of the cars and trucks whooshing past on the street outside my window.  I don’t decide to hear them or not hear them.  They make a sound by disturbing the air.  The air vibrates.  The vibrations impact against my ear drums, which vibrate in turn and transmit those vibrations very accurately through the astonishing mechanism of my ear structures.  From there the vibrations are converted into nerve impulses, which then travel along the nerve pathways to the right part of my brain.  There my normal and very ordinary brain does its extraordinary work of interpreting those nerve impulses, correctly, as sounds and then as the sounds of cars and trucks passing on the street outside my window.  Lord, I know that I can choose to pay attention to those sounds or to ignore them.  But I can’t choose not to hear them.

But, Lord, I sense that, in the realm of the spirit, I can exercise much more autonomy over what I perceive.  Is that what Paul means by our minds being “darkened”? (Romans 1:21) Is that what Jesus is referring to when he says, “Let him who has ears to hear, hear”? (Matthew 11:15, & many other places).

I want you to give me ears in the spirit to hear you with.  Not  ears in the flesh.  I am all together too attentive to the things of the flesh that draw my attention with a laser-like focus.  No, Lord, I want to hear you.  I want to be made intensely sensitive to the merest whisper of a sound from you just like those vigilant little cottontail rabbits that sometimes sit in my yard nibbling clover and searching out anything that will feed their sizzling metabolism.  Their ears twitch and turn at every little sound.  Nothing seems to pass their notice.  I want to be like that with every brush and rustle of your moving, with every murmur and sigh of your speaking.  Let them all come to my notice.  Let them all reach my listening spirit that I might move with you in everything.

© 2010 Gary A. Chorpenning


7 thoughts on “Prayer Notes #6–Choosing to Hear

  1. Nick and I have come to the realization that in order to hear from God, we must ‘LISTEN HARD.’ May all who truly seek after Him listen with their whole hearts, minds, souls, and spirits. He whispers His love, He does not shove it in our faces.


  2. My responses are always straight, open, and from the heart. I am thankful to have a place to share my thoughts and not be hindered. God has given me this free willingness to express myself. This is a wonderful prayer. I’ve always been fascinated by sounds of all sorts. I have not heard the voice of the Lord in an audible sound directly. I have asked the Lord for that “spiritual hearing” that you mention. I know that this is just the thing that He wants to do for us. I definitely think that it is a voluntary act to listen and requires attentiveness. I have referred before to His “whisper” versus His “shout”, but I think that what seemed like a shout was my so desperate need to hear, yielding an extreme attentiveness. And He was everywhere. Coming in loud and clear! Overwhelming yes, but I asked because I needed to hear. I think that I spiritually “hear” through all of my senses that He has gifted me with. I really tend to think that this kind of “hearing” can be a sense all its own. To me, it’s a God consciousness, a true feeling of being surrounded by the presence of the living God. It can be an awesome thing. Everything smells sweeter and is more beautiful and tastes so much richer. Those experiences I will never forget and if my emotions could handle them I will want more. Things need to be in small doses for me, and I have found that among other things, I am very sensitive to His presence. But then with something as powerful as that, it’s not surprising. I think we need to give Him our attention. He does speak with clarity. What He has to say is of great importance. Let us not miss out on what He so wants us to hear.

    “Isn’t He, who formed the ear, worth the time it takes to hear?” – I’m pretty sure this is a Michael Card quote.

    Hand bells in the case? Just waiting to be heard maybe.


  3. Another thought on the hand bells. Could it be that His “voice” is always ringing, never in the case? We just have to be there ready to listen. If you had never heard the sound of hand bells before and then heard them without seeing them or not knowing what they were, you would not know how to label that sound or its origination. But once you became familiar with it and informed about hand bells, you would know where to go to hear that pleasing sound again. This time, it would not take you by surprise. Instead you would be eager and prepared to listen.

    And then maybe there are times when He keeps His message for you “in the case” and says, “Okay then, when you are ready to listen I will speak to you.”


  4. These thoughts have taken me back, a couple decades maybe, to a song I like by Petra -I Need to Hear From You
    Words and music by Bob Hartman
    Based on Job 13:22

    I’ve been away for a little while
    And I don’t like where it takes me
    Out of touch I’m going out of my mind
    It’s times like these that really break me

    So here I am all alone
    I’m waiting on You
    Just a word will get me through

    I need to hear from You
    Before this night is through
    I need to hear from You
    So I’m waiting, waiting just to hear from you

    My whole world is turning upside down
    When I’m lacking in direction
    I don’t care if it takes all night
    I need to feel Your sweet affection

    So let me hear words of life
    I’m lost without You
    Speak to me the way You do

    I’ve been here in this place before
    And You’re not the one to blame
    I need to know what You have in store
    So I’m on my knees callin out Your name

    I need to hear from You
    Deep inside my heart
    I need to hear from You
    Just a still small voice is gonna get me through


  5. The Lord cannot be everything we need until He is everything that we want. Your note is such a good reminder to me, Gary!! I desire to want Him so much that I listen for Him and hear Him with each step that I take…an all consuming desire that makes me aware of His very presence and voice so that the voice of another, I will not follow!


  6. I can also relate to you Gary. I will be teaching on James in February. I am trying to grasp and understand what James says in 1:19 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak”. I think that it means that we talk more than we listen and that we should be open to God and other believers. I have found a great adult Sunday School class, in which there are many wise in the Lord that I should listen to. Further in verse 22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what is says.” I think that we often try to ignore what we know is right. Brian


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