The Discipline Of Stillness (1)
"Very early in the morning, Jesus... went off to a solitary place, where He prayed." Mark 1:35 NIV
One well-known Christian leader writes: "I used to try to pray on the run, till it became obvious that the pace of my life outstripped my capacity to analyze it. It exhausted me to be constantly doing, rarely reflecting on what I did. At the end of the day I'd wonder if my work had any meaning at all. So I developed my own approach to stillness before God. It's called "journaling". It's one of the spiritual disciplines that's really worked for me, and I'm not tempted to abandon it because it's made my life so much richer. After I open my journal, reflect on the previous day, and write out my thoughts and prayers, my spirit is receptive. Then I sit quietly and simply say: 'Lord, I invite You to speak to me.' The moments that follow are the ones that really matter. I like my way of quieting my mind and preparing myself to hear God speak: it works well for me. But I know it won't work for everyone. Some people can't stand writing anything, let alone journals and prayers; they prefer to talk quietly to God. Some are good at meditating without writing or saying a word. Some 'Come before Him with joyful songs' (Ps 100:2 NIV). The important thing is not to follow a particular method, but to find a way that works for you. Custom design an approach that will still your racing mind, soften your heart, and enable you to hear God speaking to you!"
The Discipline Of Stillness (2)
"David went in and sat before the Lord." 2 Samuel 7:18 NKJV
Here are three reasons we don't hear God speaking to us more often:
(1) We don't know how to handle His silence. When God seems to be silent we think: "Did I ask the wrong question? Was I foolish to expect an answer?" Don't be upset. God's a living being, not an answering machine; He speaks when He has something to say to you.
(2) We don't listen for God's voice. In addition to carving out blocks of quiet time to listen to God, you must learn to keep your ears tuned to Him each day. One Christian author writes: "A friend of mine has a company car equipped with AM/FM radio, a CD player, a phone and mobile communication unit which he consistently monitors at a low decibel level. Often we've been riding together, talking and listening to music, when all of a sudden he'll reach down, pick up the microphone and say: 'I'm here, what's up?' With all the other noise in the car I never hear the signal, but he has tuned his ear to it. He's able to carry on a conversation and listen to music without ever missing an incoming call." And it's possible for you to develop that same sensitivity to God's voice.
(3) We don't plan to do anything about it. When God speaks we listen, nod and say: "How interesting!" If we don't follow up on His leadings, God may see no reason to continue speaking. When He speaks to us it's usually toward one end - obedience!
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