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I hope you enjoy Listening Prayer! See you next week! – Darci
September, 2018 – Listening Prayer
It was an evening dedicated to listening to the Lord. As dusk roll in, I lay on the couch and elevate my feet atop the armrest, pillow behind my head. I was alone. No expected interruptions.
“I am listening, Lord,” I said.
Usually, I am so like Martha of the bible (Mt. 10:38-42), bustling around not making time or seeing value in stillness. Even my prayers to God are distracted and busy – sharing my thoughts about this and that, thanking him, asking for guidance, praying for others, repeatedly asking for physical healing and reasoning with him why it would be good for him to heal me, praying for my girls and Mark, and on down my list. It is not a bad thing to pray for all of these things, but my prayer times can easily center on me instead of on God, and I probably make him feel like a genie.
Today though, I wondered what it would be like to still my mind and listen for what God wants to tell me through the quietness of his breath. I did not expect him to answer me audibly. I just wanted to “Be still, and know that [he is] God.” (Ps. 46:10)
I wanted him to direct this time and break through the barrier of this clamoring in my head. I listen to his words by reading his Word, but rarely have I gone to him in prayer for the sole purpose of listening.
I settle in deeper on the couch, take a deep breath, and determine to still my wandering mind. After a few minutes of mind-filled distractions, I get discouraged and wonder if an hour of trying this is even possible. Thoughts of my day and plans for tomorrow vie for my attention. I try pushing them out. I refocus on quiet – on God. I am trying – trying to listen. I don’t want to direct this time in any way. I just want to listen and hear what God wants me to know. More deep breaths.
Many minutes roll by; my mind chatter lessens a bit.
“I am listening, Lord.”
It’s now dark outside and my eyes scan the scattered house and streetlights lining the horizon in the distance. I am aware of my surroundings, but I am less busy in my thoughts.
One pervasive thought, part of a bible verse actually, keeps niggling back into my prefrontal cortex. I try to push it away, but it flashes in my mind like a strobe light. I try to remember. No! I push it out. But I know I know this verse…why can’t I remember it? Then the ‘maybe I have early dementia’ thoughts take over. The battle for stillness continues. If I could just remember it, maybe I could let it go.
I finally allow myself to surrender to the words and invite them stay with me, “I…am he.” I keep hearing them in my mind, “I…am he.”
I meditate on these words in the stillness around me — just God, “I…am he,” and me. After about an hour and a half of semi-successful meditation on these words, I find stillness in my mind and soul, and finally feel more connected to God. I sure hope this gets easier with practice!
When I sit up, curiosity get the best of me. I grab my phone and search Google for the missing words to, “I…am he.”
It takes me to John 4:26.
“I who speak to you am he.“
Chills instantly cover the entirety of my body. “I am listening, Lord.”
John 4:25-26 “The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I who speak to you am he.’”
Ecclesiastes 5:2 “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”
Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”