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Silence. Hear. Listen. My high-school best friend listened and remembered. I talked and forgot. She knew me far better than I knew her. Over twenty years later, I carry the lesson of her with me: a relationship involves listening. It involves thinking about the other person’s words. Silence creates space for someone else to speak.
God tells us in James that we should be slow to speak and quick to hear. I know the consequences of being slow to hear and quick to speak. I’ve hurt relationships with a mouth on the run and it slows the spiritual transformative work that God is doing in me.
God wants me to pour out my heart to him, but then He wants to pour His into mine. But my mile-a-minute conversations don't allow Him the freedom to show me His heart.
The premise for what I’m about to say rests on the truth that God longs for a relationship with us and not a religion with us. God is the master creator, builder, and holder of all things. He is also invested in our hearts. He wants to know us, but never pushes Himself on us. He knows the inner workings of our hearts, but wants us to invite Him in. He stands at the door and knocks, but waits for us to answer.
Sometimes we invite Him in with a flurry of words and usher Him out the door when we’re done. We talk and talk and don’t get the benefit of listening to Him. We need wisdom, yet we don’t take the time to receive it. We need encouragement so we dump our complaints, but don’t hear His encouraging words.
The idea of being silent before God can be scary, because, hello? Silence? Most of us are not comfortable with silence. It’s also difficult; how can you be silent before a God you cannot see, feel, or touch?
Come close and know the whisper of God’s powerful voice.
One caveat: there is not one right physical way to do this. Take advantage of alone moments, whether it’s early in the morning, late at night, or when you’re stuck in traffic. Pause to notice a flower, tree, or beautiful sunset. Find a quiet place specifically designed for quiet meditation: a special chair, a certain room, or even a place outside the house: a park or an unlocked church sanctuary.
It helps to keep a paper and pen handy for random thoughts. Our "to-do's" distract us. Capture them, and then refocus on enjoying God’s sweet presence. It’s not about emptying your mind to nothingness. It’s about so much more! Prayerful meditationis an inner quiet. It’s a state of mind and heart more than it is a place. It’s like a secret sanctuary in which you sit with God in His Presence.
Admit your helplessness. A soul that is still before God grows in awareness of its own helplessness. Everything we are and am and do flow out of Him, for Him, through Him, and to Him. It’s in our helplessness that our understanding of God’s power grows. Our helplessness becomes a conduit for God’s great power to flow through our lives.
Surrender control. We yield our understanding of our circumstances to His understanding. Our view is dark, clouded, and incomplete. We see through a tiny viewfinder, and have no idea of the greater view. We must yield our understanding for His. A surrendered heart is one that is content to be and know nothing except as God reveals. Yield and surrender. This takes a mind that is under control, not empty.
Focus your attention on God through praise and worship. We praise Him because He is praiseworthy, not because it makes us feel good. Joy and happiness is a byproduct of praising Him. When we focus our attention on Him, we align our hearts so that we adore and trust His goodness. We are confident that God can and will do all. This happens when we silence ourselves before Him. Turn on some worship music that points you to God and His attributes.
Let go of your independence. In our prayerful meditation, we recognize that our independence is born out of pride. An independent heart takes us further and further away from God. True strength lies in complete dependence on God. God reveals Himself in our dependence on Him, and the strength we need to live each day pours out from God’s heart into ours.
Quiet your heart. A heart at rest knows it's secure despite the insecurities that lurk in our lives. The resting heart reveals its trust in God no matter what it’s feeling. The heart at rest knows that its circumstances don't define it, but that God is leading it through a season. “Be still and know that I am God,” says Psalm 46:10 ESV Prayerful meditation trains our heart to rest.
Prayerful meditation means allowing God’s heart and mind to penetrate yours; it gives God room to speak. God’s voice is the loudest when your voice is the quietest. In the surrender you receive strength. In your helplessness you receive a greater understanding of who you are in Christ. In the resting, you receive the opportunity to move when He says to move, and the peace to be still when He says to be still.
As you develop the discipline of prayerful meditation, you gain increased sensitivity, attentiveness and responsiveness to God. This, in turn, helps you to live your best life and offer compassion to others. Come close. Silence your words. Listen with your heart. And know the whisper of God’s powerful voice.
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Jessica Van Roekel is a woman on the journey to wholeness through brokenness. She believes that through Christ your personal histories don’t have to define your present or determine your future. Her greatest desire is to see you live this “God-life” with all the power and grace that God provides. Jessica lives in a rural community with her husband and four children. She leads worship on Sundays, but seeks to be a worshiper every day. You can connect with her at www.welcomegrace.com and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/