Practicals for Guided Listening Prayer

This is a step-by-step article on guided listening prayer -- both for Christians and for those who don’t yet follow Jesus.

If this is your first time doing something like this, please read two other online articles first: my article on the “Biblical and Historical Foundations for Guided Listening Prayer.” offers helpful biblical guidelines on this practice, while Lina Sánchez-Herrera and Jon Ball’s “Listening prayer, the centrality of Scripture, and discernment” lays out a process of discernment.

Once you have those foundations, here are the practical steps I take in leading a guided listening prayer exercise.


The set-up requirements are low. I usually only do four things:

  1. Keep the lights on. I don’t want to create something out of the ordinary here, and don’t want to give any impression of emotional manipulation when it comes to listening prayer. I want it to feel as normal as possible.
  2. Stop the music. I will also ask the band not to play anything, so that people can hear God in silence for the same reasons I gave above in #1.
  3. Ask people to stand with their palms up. In Hebrew and Christian spirituality, the mind and body are one. Having them stand helps them be more alert and attentive, while the palms-up posture signals reception to whatever God might say.
  4. Give permission to opt out. I might say something like, “If at any time you feel uncomfortable and want to opt out, that’s OK. God won’t force anything, and I won’t either. I encourage you to try it out, but I also give full permission to opt out.”