Listening for the King
Written By Joseph Luigs
In part, listening is an act of submission. When we listen we release control over a conversation, submitting to the terms and direction set by our conversation partner.
When we listen to God we submit to our limitations by acknowledging it is only God who can cross the divide between Divinity and humanity. Therefore we wait for God to start the conversation. Sometimes he speaks. Sometimes he listens back. But however he moves, it is always in love. Like all forms of submission, listening is vulnerable. We open ourselves up to God having to trust that he will move toward us in a way of love.
Find a quiet place and begin with a time of silence. Focus on controlling your breathing and allow your body to become physically relaxed. Allow for thoughts and emotions to rise to the surface. We want to bring our whole selves into the conversation.
Becoming aware of all those things, we want to open ourselves up to God to listen to him. A good starting place is to simply state what many saints in the Old Testament said when addressed by God, “Here I am.” God may address the things we are feeling and thinking or even the spiritual practices we did throughout the week; or he may be in silence with us. Set a timer for an amount appropriate for you (e.g. 5 min) and listen in silence before the Lord.
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If we are not intentional, the Christian message of Jesus’ resurrection may be easily overshadowed or absorbed into the mix of the Easter Bunny, Easter egg hunts, pastel colors, and marshmallow Peeps. But as Christians, the resurrection of Jesus must be front and center in our Easter celebrations.
Meditating on God’s Word | Luke 24:10-12
Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
Thanks for the encouragement and the challenge. Who else found that when you tried to sit in silence your mind wouldn’t shut up. Practice will be required–at least for this novice listener.
Amen, Mary! Sitting quietly is really hard for me!
There are types of prayer that are “in vogue” today referred to as listening or perhaps contemplative prayer. I don’t know that is what this blog is suggesting, but in case others read it that way, I feel that it’s supremely important to remember when waiting to hear from God (which is what these forms of prayer emphasize) that the only reliable words we have from God are His Words revealed in Scripture. It’s way too easy to think we have heard from God when it’s our own thoughts and emotions speaking in our heads, or even lies from the world or the devil. I have personally seen the practice of contemplative prayer misused egregiously as a way to eisegete (read something into Scripture that’s not there) or do an end-run around Scripture (hearing something from God that’s not Biblical, like it’s ok to marry a person who’s not a believer). This can especially be the case when someone doesn’t know Scripture really well. That’s why I personally think it’s extremely important when we pray to have our prayers rooted in Scripture, to start that time of quietly listening for God by reading Scripture, to let God’s Word as revealed in His Word permeate our thoughts as we pray. We need to check what we think is from God with Scripture. And we need to be careful in our quietness before God NOT to erase our minds of all thoughts, but to center our thoughts on God’s Word – which is Biblical meditation (Psalm 1:2). So, for me, I never really get quiet before God, but while I am quiet in front of others, I am having a lovely discussion in my head telling God my needs, fears, etc., and thinking about His Word and its application for my situations and my life. Honestly, if I get too quiet waiting to hear from God, I typically fall asleep!
These articles are very helpful in this regard: https://www.gotquestions.org/listening-prayer.html https://www.gotquestions.org/contemplative-prayer.html
Lorraine, thank you for joining us on this journey. We so appreciate your willingness to take the time to share your heart. What a good reminder of how a rich life in following Jesus requires various disciplines in concert together. We couldn’t agree more that Scripture is so crucial as a catalyst and boundary to a vibrant Christian life. We pray that these disciplines we often neglect add a deeper texture to our shared faith journey in following Jesus and a deeper wholeness in Christ.
We are looking forward to growing with you in this shared journey!