Listening to God has always been a practice that has intrigued me–and scared me. I am intrigued by the whole practice of contemplative prayer where I learn to listen to God’s voice while trying to silence my own voice and the other distractions around me. What scares me about it is the fear that if I do manage to quiet my own thoughts and requests that I won’t hear ANYTHING. What if God doesn’t respond to me at all? Sitting in silence seems kind of uncomfortable and … risky.
Well, the secular world has embraced the whole practice of quietness through the use of meditation. Many studies show the benefit of this practice from lowered blood pressure to stress relief–and that’s because God designed it to work that way. But, there’s a big difference between secular meditation or the New Age way and the Christian practice of contemplative prayer. God didn’t ever mean for us to pursue just the practice of meditiation; He meant for us to pursue HIM while we meditate on His word. And that’s a BIG difference.
A few years ago I became familiar with the practice of Lectio Divina, which is a form of contemplative prayer. This was introduced during a sermon one Sunday. A few months after that, I took a spiritual disciplines class at church and learned more about it. Then a few weeks ago, I purchased a book I’ve been looking at for awhile called BE STILL by Amy and Judge Reinhold. It’s a beautiful, little book that teaches the whole practice of Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina, I learned, is a Latin phrase and means divine or sacred reading, and this practice has been a part of church life for centuries.
This little book takes you through 31 days of learning how to incorporate meditative prayer into your prayer life. Basically, on each day you meditate on a new portion of scripture, rereading the same passage four times, as you let the Holy Spirit quicken God’s word to your heart. Then you record what God is impressing upon you–how it applies to you.
I have to say that my early fears have been unfounded. Each day I am learning new things and becoming aware of areas in my life that need some work! As I am halfway through the book, I am learning to appreciate the still time of waiting on God and what He has to teach me, instead of always being the one doing the talking. I still pray through my requests, but I just make sure to have listening and meditating time on His word as well.
And with the Holy Spirit as a teacher, there will always be a unlimited supply of exciting things to learn!
Have you ever tried this practice? I’d love to hear your experience on this journey of prayer.
By Judge Reinhold & Amy Reinhold