Friday, June 27, 2008

The Art of Listening Prayer - post 1

I just got this book in the mail (thanks Seth!). The title, The Art of Listening Prayer: Finding God's voice amidst life's noise immediately struck me. NOISE I have! With 3 toddlers (is Brayden still a toddler at 4? I think he might be a preschooler now. . hmmm. . ) in the house, life is LOUD!

I took a little time away from the noise this evening. . I drew a bath and read the first chapter. Great book already! It isn't a new concept for me, but definitely a refreshing one.

By the way, you are not alone if it IS a new concept for you. Many, many of the adults I know (even adults who have been believers for YEARS) have never heard God speak to them personally. For many. . possibly even most. . .believers, the concept of God dealing directly with His people on a personal level about everyday things seems like just a Bible-times concept. If this is you, do not fret. Don't be ashamed and pretend it's not you. It's ok. It's even ok to be afraid. Most of my friends who haven't heard God speak were initially afraid to ask Him or even to stop and listen. Why? Because it's scary and vulnerable. It's one thing to be alone or abandoned by this world. . it's a whole other deal to ask and listen and be so afraid that "what if He doesn't want to talk to me?". That's a scary point for many. . what if they ask and God denies them. If this is you, Fear NOT!!! Our God is an amazing God. He loves His people and LOVES to interact with them. Consider 2 points. . .1. It's Biblical! All OVER God's Word, He speaks to believers and directs them in everyday things. 2. It's practical. God describes himself as Father. Do you know any great dads who refuse to talk to their kids? NO! They LOVE spending time with their kids, getting to know them, sharing their love and deepening their relationship. God does too. . .if you've been holding back from this concept, this deepening of your relationship with the Lord, surrender. Give your fears to Him. . maybe even use that as your first listening prayer, "Lord I'm scared. . .do I need to be?".

Ok. . back to the book! While this idea of sitting and listening to God, knowing and living in the reality that God loves to deepen our relationship through real conversation is not new. . it is often overlooked in my busyness. So often, I relegate God to my shower time and then get in there and rattle off my stuff. Seth describes it as, "the rote pleadings of children who know well their own needs. . ." This was convicting for me. So much of my prayer time lately has been "on the go" talking. . .not a whole lot of listening. I am ready to get back to listening. I know that it will increase my love and depth of my relationship with Jesus. Even tonight, just sitting and asking the Lord to reveal my offenses today was such a wonderful time with Jesus. . .as He revealed to me why I was so overwhelmed and frustrated with my children today b/c I took my eyes off of Him. What a gentle reminder our Savior is. . .even when He is challenging me, His words are so gentle and sweet as He desires my heart to change more than just a drill sargeant seeking better behavior.

Thanks Tom for recommending this book and getting with Seth to give it out! I'm looking forward to the 30 day journey back to listening.


Missy said...

I skipped this post because I just got mine in the mail before we left AL and I haven't had a chance to open it yet. I'm really looking forward to it. I'll come back and read your thoughts when I'm done.
Love you,

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the titles of some good books to read-I am currently bookless (I mean in terms of being involved in reading one:) ) Our small group read through together the Celebration of Discipline last summer but I haven't read the ones you mentioned by Kay Warren and Seth Barnes-did you get them on Amazon?
Julie L

Anonymous said...

OH this sounds GOOD! and it's something I stink at, so I kinda need it... I'll be adding it to my wish list! (((((HUGS))))) sandi

jena said...

I wanna book club another book with my bloggy friends... so let me know when your book list empties!