If you want to hear God, you must stop talking.
Sounds obvious, right? The same technique also works with hearing from loved ones, friends, and coworkers.
To hear God, I’ve had to learn to quiet the voices in my head.
Listening to worship music helps. Scripture reading helps. Walking (in particular, a prayer labyrinth) helps.
And when the Spirit enables me to be still, my heart rate slows. Sometimes it takes a while.
Being still also allows me to mute other voices.
You know, the ones poking, prodding, and plying you with lies, such as: “Do more, be more, and do it all, faster!”
Imagine a little hamster pumping its little legs faster and faster on its wheel.
Welcome to the fifth post in our “Be Transformed by God’s Love” Series.
God, our good Shepherd doesn’t drive his sheep with rocks and sticks, like a bad shepherd. God doesn’t motivate us using fear, guilt, and shame like rocks and sticks, pelting our soft bodies.
Scholar Dr. Kenneth Bailey (who lived in the Middle East for forty years) saw a good shepherd lead 500 (!) sheep with only his voice call. No sheepdog and no assistant.
We have to learn to listen to the quiet voice, to sink into His rest, to simply pay attention. It’s in the secret places of the Spirit. . . meditation and deep thought, that wisdom can be developed.Graham Cooke
Some of us listen better as we walk. Some of us if we’re still. Some of us do a little bit of both.
I can’t access God’s wisdom when my focus is scattered or focused on a problem instead of the person of Jesus.
Graham Cooke reminds us:
“Wisdom is more than just experience and knowledge obtained; it’s the perspective that allows us to determine when to apply that knowledge and experience.
That perspective cannot be obtained when we’re unfocused, scattered and closed down. It requires reflection, a spirit of transcendence, joy, and patience.”
Read the rest of Graham Cooke’s post here.
Three tips for finding space to practice silence with God from James Bryan Smith’s book, The Good and Beautiful God, pp.52-52:
- “Look for little free spaces in your day, such as a break between activities.”
- “Get up a little earlier or leave for your next appointment a little sooner so that when you arrive you will have extra time to find a quiet place and ‘just be.'” [I do this when I can. Highly recommend.]
- “You might want to ‘ease in’ to the five minutes by reading the Bible for a minute or two.”
For the past several months, I’ve practiced at least five minutes of silence after my Bible reading (most days) and the practice has grown on me. Why? I enter my day more at peace, less frazzled.
At first, the five minutes crawled, now they fly.
What has been your experience with practicing silence with God?
What helps you to focus on God instead of on your problem(s)?
Thanks for being here.
Thanks to Peppe Ragusa for use of the photo via Unsplash.com.