Listening Prayer

Intercessors for Canada

Mid-Month Notes - August 2008


The goal of this ministry is to equip for prayer, to inspire believers to draw near to God and for a Spirit of Prayer to come upon the church of Canada. How tempting in these days to comment and teach on many other issues rather than prayer but this has to be my priority. My spirit has been stirred recently by reading classics like 'The Holiest of All' by Andrew Murray, 'A Diary of Signs and Wonders' by Maria Woodworth-Etter, and by being in the Word of God, which is living and active, with a chronological Bible! I also read carefully a book on listening prayer, which I will comment on as it troubled me. The main portion of these notes is a description from the book of Hebrews of how we can and do approach the throne of God in worship and prayer.

This got my attention when two of our members told me they were going to a conference on 'Listening Prayer'. This sounded innocent enough but when I read the speaker's book I became concerned. ('Can you hear me?' by Brad Jersak, 2003). The use of visualization and guided imagery was vigorously defended and it was clearly taught to use one's imagination as the foundation for revelation. I have recognized that the latter principle is used by other ministries as a key for visualizing angels, going into the third heaven and even the healing of the memories. Listening Prayer is also another name for contemplative prayer, centering prayer and types of mediation. Please see the IFC web site for a more complete book review. Listening Prayer.


The remarkable truth from the book of Hebrews is that the ordinary believer can continually approach the Throne of God to offer acceptable worship (12:28), a sacrifice of praise (13:15) or to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (4:16). We can even just draw near to God to please the Father and to seek Him (11:5-6). Is it that easy? Yes but there are some conditions:

Heb. 6:4

The believer needs to have a good foundation. Repentant, born again, received the Holy Spirit. To have believed the Good News of Jesus Christ (4:2) and entered into God's plan for our lives by ceasing from our own works (4:10)

Heb. 3:1

An awareness of the heavenly call and that God has intervened in their life to one day bring them into the glory of God (2:10) This creates the desire to seek or draw near to the living God.?

Heb. 11:6

Drawing near to God requires faith that God exists even though we can't see Him. Faith is the conviction of things not seen (11:1). Moses endured because with the eye of faith he saw Him who is invisible (11:27).

Heb. 6:18

We must seize the hope set before us. That hope (6:19) is that we can draw near to God (7:19 - better hope) This gives us an attitude of confidence in the promises of God, the word of God being living and active in us (4:12)

Heb. 2:11

We understand that we are in union with Christ. In Him we are clothed with His righteousness and perfection, not our own. In Him we have been sanctified (10:10) and by the offering on the cross we have been perfected (10:14). My sins have been forgiven and forgotten (10:17-18). I can share His holiness (12:10)! He ever lives to talk to the Father on my behalf (7:25)

Heb. 9:14

My confidence is established by one more thing - a clean conscience with no shadow of unconfessed sin. Through repentance and faith the sprinkling of the Blood of Christ purifies an evil conscience (10:22). By faith in the power of the Blood, I no longer have any consciousness of sin (10:2)

This then brings us to the new and living way into the presence of God Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:19-23

I am right with God, my conscience is clear, I understand how Christ has changed my life and my perception of what matters, and right where I am I draw near to the God who sees everything about me (4:13). I can be at rest or I can pray my heart out on issues with loud cries and even tears (5:7). I can worship, sing or shout the virtues of the names of God and my Saviour (13:15).

Twice Hebrews mentions the need for reverence, a godly fear that is cautious and certainly not careless in the presence of God. (5:7, 12:28). Jesus, as the man, was heard by the Father because of his godly fear (5:7). At the end of Hebrews we find the writer urging for such prayer as it will result in good things happening sooner (13:18-19)

To sum up, a basic and essential part of our great salvation is that we draw near to God, eagerly, carefully, in faith, knowing we are welcomed in Christ.

Andrew Murray wrote in 'The Holiest of All' chapter 66: "The veil of the flesh has been rent; Christ has entered once for all, having obtained everlasting redemption; the dwelling of God and man has been thrown into one; the Spirit of heaven has been given to signify to us, and to give us the living experience, that the way into the Holiest has been made manifest. Our entering in, our dwelling in God's presence in the light and nearness and holiness of the Most Holy, is a spiritual, a heavenly reality. It can only be apprehended by the tender, by the perfect, conscience that the Holy Spirit gives to him who is willing to give up all to be saved completely, by the perfect whose senses are exercised to discern good and evil. But to all who are willing to pass through the rent veil of Christ's flesh, to die with Him as he died and live with Him as He lived, the Holy Spirit will show it; the way into the Holiest is opened up."

Yours in Christ for Canada, Pastor David Carson Director, Intercessors For Canada

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