Sunday, May 11, 2014

Focusing on Symptoms or Roots?

 A Testimony by Rick Hallgren

Is it actually possible to have God communicate with us? In John 16:13, Jesus promised:

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”

Most Christians today believe that God listens to them when they pray. So why does the idea that God speaks back to us seem so strange? Maybe it’s because we’ve never really tried to listen to Him. Or perhaps we think God is too busy to take the time to communicate with ordinary people like you and me. When we actually take the time to pray we’re so focused on getting “relief” from the pain our sin and problems cause us that we don’t usually even attempt to listen. It may have never occurred to us to ask Him to uncover the underlying roots within us that trigger our painful emotional reactions.

Recently I got a hold of a copy of A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer and began to work my way through it. I found the basic concepts in Chapter 5 of the book to be extremely helpful in enabling me to discern the source of my problems and to begin to break free from their lifelong grip over me.

The books’ straightforward approach to inner healing is instructional and easy to put in practice. Just being reminded to take the time to quiet myself and prepare to listen has been a huge step for me.

I began by asking God simple questions like this:

  • Jesus, why did I just respond in the way that I did?
  • Jesus, why am I feeling the way I’m feeling?

Two common areas of life where the book has helped me:
  1. When I overreact in anger or impatience to something my wife says to me, and
  2. When I get anxious or upset over something that happened at work.

I discovered that when I quiet myself and prepare to listen to Jesus and ask Him simple questions, I gain insight about what often goes on deep within me. I’ve found this to be revolutionary.

Usually, it’s because of a lie I’ve come to believe about myself. For instance, my father would often say, “What the hell’s the matter with you?” Not surprisingly, I grew up believing there was something wrong with me and that I couldn’t do anything right. My response to life was to try to cover up my perceived incompetence by compulsively trying to control my environment. When things seemed to be beyond my control, anxiety and anger were the things that I used to push people away and protect myself from further hurt.

As I listened to God, first He uncovered the lie my childhood had taught me. Later, I asked Jesus what He thought about me. The truth He surprised me with is that I am competent and that I don’t need to be perfect in everything that I do. Maybe more crucial to my healing was the realization that people were not expecting me to be perfect.

Questions people would ask me that used to feel accusatory no longer generate negative knee jerk responses deep within me. To my delight, and my wife’s relief, I’m not as angry, upset and anxious as I used to be. It’s like what Jesus said in John 8:32, “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are My disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you” The Message.  


Pray through these Listening to God Guidelines. Ask Jesus to help you chose one of Rick’s two scenarios to focus on.

  1. Ask God to bring to mind a time when you overreacted in anger or impatience to something an important person in your life said or did. Or …

  1. Ask Jesus to remind you of a time where you got anxious or upset over something that happened at work or while you were working on something at home.

Once you’re remembering your scenario, ask one or both of Rick’s simple questions:

  • Jesus, why did I just respond in the way that I did?
  • Jesus, why am I feeling the way I’m feeling?

Jot down the things that God reveals to you. In fact, you may want to begin to keep a listening to God journal where you record your most intimate encounters with the Savior.
Did you try out this Listening Exercise for yourself? Share what’s going on with you as part of this L2G community by leaving your comment below or by sending an email to

Hearing from God - One More Time
This video may help you prepare to listen
To open, click anywhere on the below picture

Escuchando la voz de Dios - Otra vez
Este video podria prepararte para escuchar
Para abrir, tecleo dondequiera en el cuadro abajo

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