Intentional Prayer: Part 4 {Listening and Responding} | And Closing Thoughts

praying series blog

We have reached the final stretch! If you have been following this entire series, thanks for sticking with me to the end—and if your just joining in, I’m glad you are here. If you have missed any part of this series and are interested in catching up, you can find the previous posts here:

Intentional Prayer: Part 1{Praying For Your Children}

Intentional Prayer: Part 2 {Praying For Your Children}

Intentional Prayer: Part 3 {Praying For Your Family, Friends And Beyond}

Be sure to read through to the end of this post, to learn about the story behind this series.

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We are wrapping up this Intentional Prayer Series with one more area of focus called, Listening and Responding. Prayer is not just about us doing the talking, it’s also about us listening to God.

Be still

The world can often be a very busy place. It can be challenging to quiet ourselves enough to just stop, and listen to God. If we allow ourselves to get too distracted, we can loose our focus about what God is trying to speak to us. That’s why it’s so important to find some quiet moments and just take some time to be still and listen—to God.

Often when I pray, I take a little time to be quiet and listen for anything God wants to reveal to me after I’ve done the talking. But the idea here is to listen first, then do the talking.

  • To get started, you might want a place to jot down thoughts—a journal or something similar.
  • Set aside some time each week to Listen and Respond. Simply find a quiet space free of distractions.
  • You may find it helpful, to prepare your mind with a simple prayer such as,“God reveal to me what you desire for me to see and hear during this time.”
  • Then close your eyes and just listen. Listen for as long as you feel led. It may be 1 minute or 20 minutes. It’s completely between you and God.
  • Then, when you feel ready—respond. You may feel the need to talk with God. Maybe you want to jot down the things God revealed while you were listening. You could even write out a prayer to God in response to what you heard or saw during your listening time. You may even feel led to put something into action in your life.

If you’ve never done this before, it may feel strange at first and you may feel like you hear absolutely nothing for a while. That’s okay, try to give it some time. The more we seek God, the more in tune we become to Him. The more in tune we are to Him, the more we hear those gentle Holy Spirit whispers throughout the day.

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Putting It All Together

 Hopefully some of the ideas we’ve discussed over the past two weeks will help strengthen you relationship with The Lord as you seek to be more intentional about praying. There are so many different ways to implement the the ideas that we have covered in this series—it’s personal for each of us.

Here is a brief look into how I’m working on being more intentional about praying this year, in case you are looking for ideas…

I have broken things up so that I have an focus area each day of the week:

  • Mondays: I pray for my son and for parenting related things {Part 1}
  • Tuesdays: I pray for my husband and my marriage {Part 2}
  • Wednesdays: I pray for other family, friends and beyond {Part 3}
  • Thursdays: I “Listen and Respond” {Part 4}
  • Fridays: I focus on prayer requests that others have asked me to pray about.
  • Saturdays: I pray as I feel led
  • Sundays: I pray as I feel led

By breaking up things into to smaller parts, I feel that I can go deeper in my prayers for people. It also feels manageable, rather than overwhelming. And certainly, I’m not married to this—it just gives me some focus.

prayer tools

My prayer journal helps me stay organized. On the inside cover is the weekly breakdown, so that I can refer to it as needed. I’ve added some dividers to my journal which correspond to each of the focus areas. That way I can easily jot down my reflections as I feel needed. I keep all the printables that are included in this series in my prayer journal.

Even though I have this plan in place, I don’t limit myself to only praying for certain people on certain days. If someone asks me to pray for them, I try to pray that day. If something is heavy on my heart, I pray about in that moment and it might be when I’m in the car driving. We should always pray as we feel led, but having some kind of a realistic plan in place empowers us to be intentional about praying and growing in God.

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The Story Behind This Series

At the end of last year, God laid it on my heart to be more intentional about praying for others. I had no idea is would lead me to creating this series. As I have put this series together over the last few weeks, a new discovery has resonated in my heart. Somehow, God is drawing me closer to my deep need for Him, by gently nudging me to be more in tune to the needs of others.

Motherhood has deepened my awareness of my own need for God. I am more dependent on Him now than I ever have been. And I feel like I need more time with Him, but I feel like I have less time in my days.

Busyness is one of the greatest tools that the enemy uses to distract us away from God. 

As a stay-at-home mom to a 2 year old, there is a small window of alone time that I have most days. This is usually when my son takes a nap. I use this time prepare meals, do laundry, clean up around the house, write, fit in a quick work-out and have some”quiet time” with God.

The problem is, I’ve let my quiet times fall to the bottom of my list, when they really should be right at the top. I’ve let busyness flood my life, and you know how I feel?

OVERWHELMED.

Exactly how the enemy wants me to feel.

Things finally came home for me this week-end as I was sitting in church. The pastor was talking about achieving goals, since it’s a new year when many people make resolutions. The point was made that our world often gets it backwards. We try to achieve our goals, without first receiving God’s love and truth. When really, we should be taking the time to receive God first, and then we will be more successful at achieving our goals.

I’ve been more focused on achieving—trying to be a good mom, a good wife a good homemaker. And the reason I’m feeling so defeated at the end of the day, even though my intentions are good…

Is because, I’m not first taking the time receive God’s love and truth.

I’m not making enough time to allow my soul to be filled with the the spiritual food that only my Maker can offer me.

God’s love and truth empowers us. And I know in my heart that if I seek Him first, He will fill me with all that I need to achieve my desire to be a good wife, a good mom and so on. He wants all those things for me too, but He knows how much better I can do all those things, when I allow HIM to be my strength.

Maybe you feel overwhelmed too—there is hope.

We can take charge of how we use our time. Yes, there are going to be “those days” where we loose all control—and as a mom, I have plenty of those days. But usually there is a way to make time for the things that matter most. Sometimes it just takes a little rearranging of our priorities.

So, this year I am taking charge of my time. I am working on being more intentional about making time for God, because I know that somehow in doing so—that feeling of being so “overwhelmed” will start to fade.

God’s love always silences the enemy’s lies. 

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For those of you who took the time to follow this series, I really appreciate it and I hope it helps you enrich your prayer life {and relationship with God} this year and beyond. Thank you for all the encouraging feedback that many of you have shared with me over the last two weeks. Your words have been a blessing to me. I would also love to hear ways that you implement prayer into your life. Please share so we can grow together!

Many Blessings,

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(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood

Intentional Prayer Series created by, Hannah Bollinger

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6 thoughts on “Intentional Prayer: Part 4 {Listening and Responding} | And Closing Thoughts

  1. thank you, the article and the true happiness rays began to warm hearts, when we share it with sincerity. Greetings from Gede Prama 🙂

  2. Hannah, I love this series on prayer! I think your perspective and resources can help all of us to be more intentional with prayer. I agree wholeheartedly with you that busyness is one of the greatest tools the enemy uses to distract us away from God. I feel like I am constantly fighting this battle against busyness. Some days I feel defeated. And then I read an article like yours or hear a message at church, and I’m encouraged and inspired to not give up. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your heart on this very important part of our faith walks! :0)

    • Juliet, thank you for your very thoughtful words!! You are such an encouragement to me. I fight the battle of busyness too and like you, I feel defeated by it sometimes. I know that the feeling of defeat doesn’t come from God, and I believe with all my heart that with Him as our hope…there can be victory in our lives. We can conquer the busyness trap with God’s help and find some balance in our lives. For me it’s a very slow process, but I’m so grateful that God is gracious and patient. Thanks so much again for taking the time to read this series!

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