By Patrick Porter

Begin with prayer

Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Take a moment in silence, in the presence of Jesus and each other. Have one person read Galatians 5v25-26 over the group and then pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. 

Debrief the most recent teaching

  1. What did you take away from the teaching, and what has God been doing in your life this past week because of it? 

Read this overview

Communication is vital to a good relationship; listening is a huge part of good communication. When we pray, we get to talk to God. The God who created everything not only listens but cares about what we say to him. And he talks to us. One of the main ways we can hear what he’s trying to say to us is through listening prayer. 

Discuss the following questions and prompts

  1. Think for a moment about how you or someone on your behalf heard from God in a powerful and impactful way through listening prayer. Share with the group what that time was like. 
  2. How does God communicate with you during listening prayer? An image, a gut feeling, words, scripture, etc.?

Talk over this coming week’s Practice:

This week, you will be engaging with listening prayer. This Practice is great for those who are brand new to this type of prayer and those who have been doing it for years. Below is a simple guide for listening prayer if that would be helpful. You will set aside at least 2-3 times to pray and listen for the people in your Community. This week’s Practice is a part of the larger theme of praying for each person in your Community we are undertaking for this series. (See Part One of these Practices if you need a reminder.) 

Listening prayer instructions:

First, create an environment that will be distraction-free. Some people find it helpful to have music playing; others prefer silence. When you’re ready, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and invite the Spirit to come and speak to you. If there’s a specific thing you would like to hear about, ask him about it. If there’s nothing specific, it’s okay to simply listen to whatever the Spirit might want to say. Once you’ve invited the Spirit to speak, listen. You could hear something quickly and clearly, or it could take a bit and have an uncertain meaning. That’s okay! The point is to Practice and do your best to hold with an open hand what the Spirit might be speaking to you. 

If there’s time tonight, spend time as a Community in listening prayer. Ask the Spirit if there is anything he wants to say or maybe some encouragement for your Community as you continue to pray for each other. This could be a helpful exercise if there is anyone unfamiliar with listening prayer in your Community.

Optional kids practice:

If you have children in your Community, this can be a great Practice for them to participate in. If the kids are old enough, explain what listening prayer is and how to do it. Once they have an understanding of it, invite the Spirit to speak and ask God to show them what he thinks of them. Be patient and encouraging, especially if the kids become easily distracted. The main thing for them to learn right now is that God wants to speak to them, and we can learn how to hear him. Another option could be to invite the Spirit to speak, and all the adults listen on behalf of the kids for anything the Spirit wants to tell them through you. If the kids are not old enough to understand, you can still pray, listen for them, and share whatever you hear. 

Close in prayer

End by having someone read this prayer over the group:

Grant us, our merciful Father, that your Divine Spirit may enlighten, inflame, and purify us, and make us fruitful in good works, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who with you, in unity with the Spirit, lives and reigns as one God, forever and ever. Amen.