Listening to God in Prayer?

Jeri Tanner:

John William Waterhouse - Thisbe, 1909“These and similar phrases in Scripture have, at times, been misunderstood to mean that God’s people should listen for him to speak as they wait in stillness and silence. “For God alone my soul waits in silence…” (Psalm 62:1a) is one such phrase that has been used in that sense. But the very next half of the verse shows that David is not waiting to hear God’s voice inwardly, but is waiting for rescue: “… from Him comes my salvation” (Psalm 62:1b). Psalm 62 is a song about God’s deliverance from the schemes of wicked men. It proclaims that God is the only Savior: “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is in him” (verse 5). God has revealed to His prophet David that He has all power, and David proclaims it.

“Similarly, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a) is another text sometimes misused to teach listening for inner guidance from God. In Psalm 46, “be still and know” is a plural command, as God is speaking to the nations among whom he will eventually be exalted, as the context of the Psalm shows. He is reassuring his people that although “the nations rage, and kingdoms totter,” his people can rest, knowing that their God will finally make the kingdom of this world to become his kingdom alone (Revelation 11:15). Psalm 46 speaks of the greatness and of the final exaltation of God among the nations. It is not a text modeling how to get inner guidance for decisions or problem-solving!”

Source:, Comment #2


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