life and faith

Listening as spiritual discipline

Listening can feel like a lost art in a world hard-wired for instantaneous distractibility.Β It takes intention and deliberation to swim against the tide of constant stimuli and noise.

It doesn’t necessarily come easily to switch off to some things in order to be switched on to the best thing. And our definition of ‘best thing’ will vary tremendously according to the priorities we pursue and what has first claim on our heart.

I think God knows when we particularly need to seek Him out and fires the desire within. He’s always alert to the sound of our voices, hearing tears as prayers.

It takes prayerful, persevering, persistent practice to achieve successful listening to God. Click To Tweet

When we do pause and quieten our souls, it makes us aware of how little we may actually listen well, how often we can tune out God’s voice.

I recently woke up to the realisation I wasn’t spending so much quality time with God as I used to. Extra busyness was pushing my prayer/contemplation time into a smaller corner than before.

Extra fatigue (somewhat aligned to said busyness) was also affecting how much I felt I could press pause on life and spend myself freely in God’s direction.

So when I woke earlier than usual a week ago, and sensed a gentle invitation to stay awake and not remain snuggled within the soothing warmth of my bed covers, I decided to heed it.

The house wore morning chill. It was strangely quiet, although each home has its own idiosyncratic creaks and groans.

I saw snow softly falling as I pulled curtains aside a little to let in enough natural light to see by, sat cuddled up in my fleecy dressing gown and opened books before me.

The snow alone made me pause with wonder because winter has been mild and ground has swiftly lost any white covering.

snow - listening - WoJBells didn’t ring, nor angels sing, but I sensed a gentle lifting of my spirits as a weight of worries became released and burdens were shared with the One who is our chief Burden-Bearer.

We need listening time, hearing and receiving from God in order to be able to keep on giving. Click To Tweet

Because running on empty isn’t good for body or soul.

Sometimes when I take this special listening time out I receive a prayer whisper to record.

Sometimes it’s as if I sense a smile and a holy hug, or I gain a new insight.

But I don’t want to come to God just because He offers some reward or is a listening ear for my outpourings and requests.

I want to primarily come to God because I desire to spend time with Him alone. Click To Tweet

And because He deserves my undivided attention, focus, worship and praise.

There is healing, Β joy, rest and peace to be found in God’s presence, often indiscernible at first but still present, ongoing, life transforming.

If we take time to journal our journey we will find rich treasure to savour at a later date. Many of my old entries still speak to me today and are fodder for the blog.

It’s worth making listening into a spiritual discipline, making time to be centered on God alone.

Listening alertly to God will involve learning to sit comfortably with silence, to make quiet our friend. To still heart and mind in His presence.

And as you do so, you will find that even when those times drop off a little, they become far too precious to stop altogether.

What does listening as a spiritual discipline suggest to you?

How hard do you find it to switch off, and what helps or hinders the process?

29 Comments

  1. Trudy Den Hoed 15th March 2016
    • Joy Lenton 15th March 2016
      • Trudy Den Hoed 15th March 2016
        • Joy Lenton 16th March 2016
          • Trudy Den Hoed 16th March 2016
            • Joy Lenton 16th March 2016
  2. Tara 16th March 2016
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  3. Mary Geisen 16th March 2016
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  4. Laurie Klein, Scribe 16th March 2016
    • Joy Lenton 16th March 2016
      • Laurie Klein, Scribe 16th March 2016
        • Joy Lenton 17th March 2016
  5. April Yamasaki 17th March 2016
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  6. Anna Smit 19th March 2016
    • Joy Lenton 19th March 2016
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  7. inspiredbyjune 20th March 2016
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  8. Barbie 21st March 2016
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  9. Michele Morin 23rd March 2016
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  10. Gayl Wright 23rd March 2016
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