Gwen Williams
Contributing Writer

Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused
in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2 (AMP)

Some days I pray and feel like God isn’t paying attention to me. I’m on my knees praying and praying. Getting louder and louder. Thinking in some way that makes my prayers more effective and of course, heard. I repeat myself over and over again like God didn’t hear me or understand the moment I uttered the first word, the first time. Then it occurred to me after lifting my head from the tenth prayer of the day, praying is more than just giving my demands, but also about being thankful and listening. I realized that in order to receive guidance, I needed to get quiet instead of rattling off my laundry list of requests. I needed to sit in gratitude ready to receive what God wanted to give me. Oh, how refreshing it was although a little awkward, to just sit and wait. I closed my eyes and listened really hard for God to speak. Sometimes He did and sometimes we just sat together. But I was always expecting. I came to cherish just sitting and waiting.

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:6-8 ESV

Matthew encourages us to be intentional about having consistent, private conversations with God. We are urged to pray on purpose. We are urged to be deliberate and make prayer a priority. We are urged to plan to spend time with God with the expectation of having a fulfilling conversation and enriching fellowship.

One way that helped a few ladies in my women’s home group be intentional and focused in their prayer life, was to use an acronym that creates a more conscious guideline. It’s a type of formula that’s used in many Christian arenas, and it’s called ACTS. This formula of sorts is known as a simple way of praying that seems to work for quite a few people I’ve met along my journey. First, there is Adoration where we give God praise and honor for who He is, then there is Confession, an opportunity to acknowledge our sins to Him; Thanksgiving is when we share our gratitude towards God, and Supplication gives us an opportunity to pray for our needs and the needs of others.

That’s pretty simple indeed, however I noticed there was something missing, the “L”. I noticed that Listening isn’t a part of the popular Christian acronym, why not? Is it that we don’t know that it’s such an integral part of our communication with God and our guidance from Him? Do we feel like we can’t make a conscious decision to be still and listen? Or is it just that we’ve never given it a second thought?

Nehemiah was such a great example of what being intentional in prayer was all about. He was preparing himself for the calling God had placed on his life, and his heart was wide open as he sought guidance for his journey, and wisdom on how to help his people. In chapter one, we see that he focused on the promises of God in his conversations, and trusted Him to fulfill all that was meant to be. If we are deliberate and decide to model the example of Nehemiah, we become present with our open hearts and our open minds ready to receive what God has for us (v 5-11).

One way to connect and be intentional about prayer is to focus on the “L”. Purposely setting aside time to listen is so important in walking this journey with God. And we can take it one step further, and call it listening prayer.   So, what does this look like? Exactly what it sounds like, listening for God’s voice in the midst of the clutter of this noisy world. Consciously setting aside time for the much-needed fellowship that God wants to have with each of us. The benefits of these purposeful, intentional listening prayers is that it can give us clarity in those times of indecision, it can prick our heart for those who are hurting, or convict us in an area where we need to forgive or ask for forgiveness, it can provide comfort when we feel overwhelmed, and can provide peace that passeth all understanding.

Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused
in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2 (AMP)

Colossians urges us to be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving. Doesn’t Paul seem to be giving us the definition of intentional prayer here? It’s a way to grow closer to God and our daily prayers tend to be so much deeper. And even in the listening there may be a little bit of doing required. We hear God speaking through scripture as we read our daily devotions and study His word, but it’s also important to ask God what He wants us to take from this time with Him and what comes next. We should be sure to ask Him to make it a living word in our life, and then help us to go out and be deliberate, and be purposeful.

I read somewhere once that spoken prayer will not reach its full potential unless it’s grounded in listening prayer. Intentional prayer is an opening from our emptiness to God’s fullness. If our heart is wide open to Him, He can fill it up. It’s about the relationship and the experience.

So, here are a few tips that might help your daily intentions:
* Have a plan that includes a time, place and topic for your time with God
* Prepare to listen, get a journal and a few pens
* As James 5:16  urges, make your prayers effectual and fervent, which creates tremendous power.

God longs to fellowship with us and He wants to be an important part of our every day. Being intentional in our conversations with Him, not only gives Him joy, but gives us so much more.

**Want more information on spending time with God?  Visit our Bible Study section**

Gwen Williams is a writer, advocate and fan of travel and food.  She loves to inspire women to take steps toward developing a healthy body, soul and spirit. She also works with those who have experienced trauma and feels part of her calling is to help the hurting.
She encourages self-care and empowers women through the word; her inspiration comes from other women who have been prayer warriors and an amazing support system throughout her life’s journey.

Gwen enjoy finding charming cafes, strolling through farmer’s markets, discovering treasures at thrift stores and experiencing retreats that help her become her best self. She is also a newly certified yoga teacher and a contributor to various ministry blogs.

Gwen Williams is a contributing writer at Real Women Ministries

Website: The Journey of Healing

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Written by Stephanie K. Adams

1 Comment


My word for last year was listen and I love that it is mentioned here in relation to prayer. Yes! Listening should be an intentional part of our relationship with God…in prayer and in the study of his word. He’s ready to speak, now let me listen.


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