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Listening Prayer

One way we pray at Christ Church is by listening to God -- either during a periodic Saturday session as a group, with a partner or individually. The following steps outline the basic process we follow during Saturday sessions and has been adapted from Rusty Rustenbach's book, A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer.


  1. Ask God to still and quiet your heart. (Sometimes it helps to read through a psalm.)
  2. Declare God’s protection over the space (make a brief statement aloud commanding the devil or any other spirits not to interfere with the time).
  3. Ask the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to come.
  4. Confession: Ask God to reveal any area of sin you need to deal with before moving into listening or healing.
  5. Wait for God in silence. Write down what you can about what’s said/heard so you can review it later, compare to scripture, etc.
  6. At this point, you can follow the process for listening as Rustenbach outlines it or continue with healing prayer as explained below.

Basic Healing Prayer Process

Focus in: Does God want me to focus on a persistent painful emotion, an overreaction or an area of bondage where I don’t feel free?

Experience the emotion: Ask God to help me/the person (if I'm facilitating for someone) experience that emotion in God's presence.

Trace it back: Ask God to show me/the person where this first began -- when did I/she first feel that emotion? (Usually you get taken back to an experience when you're pretty young, though not always. Sometimes you may also get a picture of something, related to an event.)

What did I come to believe? One or more beliefs usually comes out at this stage, almost always a lie about yourself, God or others. Sometimes the belief may contain an element of truth, but there’s a lie wrapped up in it.

What is the truth? This is usually a counter to the lie(s) and may involve a scripture coming to mind, a picture or something like that.

Renounce the lie: The booklets have a sample prayer, but it basically involves verbally renouncing the lie, repenting for believing it, and binding any demonic influences that may have gained a foothold through the belief of the lie. Then we ask the Holy Spirit to fill the vacated place.

If at this point you don’t feel like the burden has lifted, there may be other issues to explore:

  • Forgiveness of others, yourself or God;
  • Where was Jesus?
  • Pronouncements or curses others proclaimed to you (“You’ll never amount to anything”);
  • Vows or strategies you adopted to deal with a painful situation (“I’ll never let this happen to me again”);
  • A burden to yield.

Reaffirmation/seal the healing: Usually the time concludes with some sense of refocusing on the truth, whatever affirmation God shared, etc.

For more detailed guidance on this process, refer to A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer.

Test What You Heard

People often come away from listening with an increased sense of God's love for them and deeper trust in Him, but it's always a good idea to review written notes and compare them to what you know about who God is.

  • Is this consistent with what the Bible teaches and how God reveals Himself there?
  • Is this consistent with the witness of the church? If you're unsure, sometimes sharing your experience with a pastor or other Christians can be helpful.
  • Is this consistent with the testimony of the Holy Spirit? God's word should bring peace.