30/01/2010

The Hearing Ear (by Larry Lea)

I'd never heard of Larry Lea. Apparently he's quite well-known in the USA; he was a pastor of a large church, and also involved in TV ministries. There was some controversy about him in the mid 1990s, although not as bad as that about many of the American TV evangelists.

His book 'The Hearing Ear', subtitled 'Learning to pen up to God" was published in 1990. I picked it up at a thrift store recently, and was intrigued by the blurb on the back. Prayer, it claims, is a two-way exchange. Certainly I've heard that before, but it's rare that a book sets out to explain exactly how we can make it easier for God to speak to us.

I found the book clearly laid out and well-written. Lea uses a lot of Scriptural backing to his beliefs and suggestions, and encourages the reader to check everything for themselves. The opening chapters outline the principles that God wants to speak to us, and ways he can do so; they also look at the different ways he spoke to people in the Bible.

The rest of the book discusses ways of being more aware of God speaking. There's a section about charismatic gifts, in particular praying in tongues, which might upset those who don't believe in them. He does not write in an emotive way, but explains from Scripture why he believes these are still valid and available today. He admits to an initial cynicism and disbelief, and explains how he changed his mind.

There's an excellent chapter about praying the Lord's Prayer - the outline that Jesus himself gave the disciples when they asked him how they should pray. I found that chapter helpful and thought-provoking. If only for that chapter, the book was well worth reading.

Recommended to anyone who wants to learn how to listen a little better to God, if you can get hold of it. It's long out of print, but may sometimes be found second-hand.

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