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For the past few years, I’ve been asking God for a special word or theme that He wants me to focus on during the new year. Last year, it was “loving others with an unconditional love and compassion”; the year before that it was “abiding in Christ.”

For this year I’ve been impressed with the idea of growing closer to God through interactive prayer and communion with him, interactive being the key word. This is not just praying to Him when I need something from Him; this is the idea of listening to Him and learning to hear that still small voice deep in my heart, and really getting to know Him personally.

True prayer is a dialogue. You can’t cultivate a genuine relationship with someone unless both of you are contributing to your conversations and interactions. It’s the same with your relationship with God. He wants to hear from us, but he wants to give back to us just as much.

It takes dedicated practice, but I believe anyone can learn to hear God’s gentle still voice speaking personally to them. I also think it’s very important to be well-grounded in God’s word so that we don’t get distracted and confused by our own often faulty thoughts and emotions. God’s word is our source of truth, and any leading or impression that we believe is from God should line up with that.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26, ESV)

If we are believers, we have the Holy Spirit living inside us. We are indwelled by the Living God, and He is still teaching us all things through His Spirit. Don’t be afraid to listen.

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