Listening Prayer: Learning to Hear the Shepherd’s Voice (2013) by Joanne Hillman is a Christian Non-Fiction text published by WhiteFire Publishing. This non-fiction text comes in all forms including eBook, and is 165 pages in length. With a full-time job and a very busy five-year old at home, this book took me about one week to digest. This is not a book you want to go through quickly. There is a lot of good information to process, and I recommend taking the time to really read and understand the concept of Listening Prayer. I purchased a copy of this book to review from Amazon on June 21, 2018. I am not required to give a positive review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give Listening Prayer 5 STARS.
About the Book
Is God not hearing you…or are you not hearing Him? Listening Prayer is a Bible-based method of hearing God’s precious voice, so relationships can be healed and personal struggles overcome. The simple technique presented is so appealing that after the first few pages readers are eager to begin their own journal. Often people are afraid to ask, Father, what do You want me to know? Even more daunting is the question, Lord, what do You see when You look at me? Over and over, His answers bring tears to eyes and healing to hearts. Join author Joanne Hillman in an exploration of praying with a listening heart and a journal at hand, and see what the Lord may whisper.
As I mentioned in a recent FLF post, I have been struggling with prayer lately. I’ve had moments in my life where I felt like I had a handle on my prayer life, but in all honesty, as a whole I’m not really good at praying. I get flustered, my mind wanders, and often there is just SO much to pray about that I don’t even know where to begin. I feel overwhelmed by praying. Is there a right way? Is there a proper procedure? Is prayer different for everyone? Why does prayer seem to “work” one day, and then totally not the next? Should I feel something when I pray? How do I know God is listening? I feel pressured, and then, sadly, I give up.
It has been a really rough time for me lately, and I crave prayer. I crave alone time with Jesus so much. But, I’ve noticed that in this rough time my brain is really fried. I feel like I need a little extra help, so I turned to Amazon in the hopes that I could find a prayer plan or prayer structure that might be right for me. I scanned through quite a few books, read through a lot of summaries, until I spotted Listening Prayer. I was initially intrigued by the Goodreads’s summary because of the very first question: Is God not hearing you…or are you not hearing Him? This question made me pause. Too many times, I cry out, “God, why are You not hearing me?” But maybe the fault is mine. Perhaps He is totally hearing me, but I am not listening for Him. I knew from this question that I had to get this book, and I am SO glad that I did.
This book is full of tons of information, but you may not need all of it in the moment you pick up the book. So, I want to give you a breakdown of the book so you know what to read as soon as you get the book. And, important to know, Hillman’s prayer strategy is one that incorporates the Bible (BIG time) and a prayer journal. I use a standard spiral notebook. You don’t need to get fancy.
How to Read the Chapters
- Chapter 1 is a crucial chapter. This chapter breaks down what it means to learn to listen.
- Best quote from this chapter — “We must remember that our obedience is essential. Like strong-willed lambs, if we wander away from the sound of our Shepherd’s voice, danger awaits us. If we cannot hear Him, perhaps we have failed to obey” (11). Just think about this for a moment. If we aren’t listening we can’t hear His direction. How many times have we unknowingly sinned because of our failure to listen?
- Chapter 2 is another very important chapter. It sets up how to complete a listening prayer in your prayer journal. This chapter talks about supplies needed (very minimal), where to do your praying, what to write, etc.
- Chapter 3 may be the most important chapter in this book. This chapter focuses on discerning between God’s actual voice and the voice you may be making up in your head so you can hear what you want to hear. This is a very important chapter that I recommend reading more than once.
- Best quote from this chapter — “Immersing ourselves in God’s truths is our best weapon against both Satan’s voice and self-talk” (32).
- Chapter 4 explains how to hear God’s voice as you read His word. Hillman points out that a person can be very knowledgeable about the Bible, but may have no real understanding. This can be a definite problem when it comes to things like listening prayer and walking right with God.
- Chapter 5 deals with all the things that get in our way when we try to pray. This is a very important chapter to read and consider. It definitely made me conscious of the many things in my life that can affect my prayer time with God.
- Chapter 6-18 focus on different prayer topics. The topics include: anger, fear, timidity, relationships, anxiety, and guilt, to name a few. I recommend reading chapters 6-18 as needed. You do not need to read through every chapter in order to begin your Listening Prayer journey.
- Chapter 19 is a VERY important chapter. It deals with the fraud and doubt. It’s about gimmick prayers versus authenticity. It’s about learning how to spot fraudulent Christian claims versus real Biblical ones. And, it deals with those moments when you start to doubt. I found this chapter to be very encouraging, but also a good warning on true Biblical discernment.
- Chapter 20 is about helping others learn how to follow the Listening Prayer model.
Overall, I have found great value in this book, and I highly recommend it. The principles are simple and very well explained. You do not need a degree in theology to read this book or practice the Listening Prayer model. All you really need is a heart ready to hear God’s voice. I pray you pick up a copy of this book and that it blesses you as much as it has me! God is so eager for you to hear His voice. Are you ready to hear what He is saying to you?!