a quiet space to listen and experience hope, healing and wholeness with God

Articles tagged with: prayer

How Do You Recognize God's Voice?

October 11, 2017

Now able to physically see, we can only imagine the sensory overload of all the many sights previously 'unseen' by the healed blind man. He likely had developed a highly attuned capacity to hear as a result of his physical blindness. It is interesting that Jesus continues to seek this man out. Jesus seems to be deliberately assuring the healed man of his presence and training him in learning how to recognize his voice. Even today he comes alongside us to help us learn to recognize his voice and see what was previously unseen.

John 9:35-41 (NLT)
 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”
37 “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”
38 “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.
39 Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?”
41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, phrase or image which ‘shimmered’ for you as you listened to or slowly read the text? Quietly reflect on it in your prayer with Jesus. Journal your conversation.

Is there a particular feeling you experience as you reflect on these words? Welcome this feeling into your prayer and have a conversation with Jesus about it.

Remember words which Jesus has spoken to you in the past. How did you hear them? How did you know that it was Jesus speaking to you? What was the tone of his voice? What was the fruit of those words spoken to you?

Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God.

Only The Father Knows

November 30, 2016

The season of Advent reminds us to wait with intention.

Jesus' life, recorded in the Scripture gives us many clues as to what he was waiting and watching for. He consistently went off to be alone with his Father. He longed to be in the company of his father, to be at home with him. This text reminds us that there are some things which only the Father knows. We can either fear the Father's knowledge and how he will use it or we can imitate Jesus and draw close to the Father and listen to his heart. We can wonder. What might the Father know that he too longs for us to hear?

Safe Shelter

January 20, 2016

How might your prayer open the door to experiencing the safe shelter of God, regardless of circumstance?

God meets us in our prayer as we quiet our hearts and allow God's abiding presence to create a sense of safety within us. This may not happen instantaneously and our sometimes unconscious images of God keep us from trusting that God could actually be safe enough to be real and honest with. Yet God promises us his perfect peace as we set our minds on him and it is God's supernatural, mysterious power which brings this peace to us. Be patient with yourself as you learn to approach God in quiet confidence. Sometimes beginning our prayer with an image in our heart of a safe meeting place with God helps us find courage to begin to trust that possibility of safe shelter.

Our Fight Song

September 2, 2015

Our fight song sounds much different from the popular methods of the world for we do not battle in the flesh. There is One who fights for us. As we learn to be still, pray, trust, speak truth, worship and dwell with God, we experience God doing battle on our behalf.

For many, this is a go-to Psalm for spiritual battle, oppression and contending prayer. Learn this song, and sing it often.

His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Finding Home

August 19, 2015

Years ago, God used a friend to open my eyes to the story of  Moses and the Burning Bush in an entirely new way. As Moses observed a strange sight and moved towards the bush which would not burn up, God invited Moses to take off his sandals for where he was standing was holy ground (Exodus 3). In the culture of the Hebrew people, known for their hospitality to strangers, taking off one's shoes was a sign of being welcomed home. God extends that same hospitality to Moses, calling him by name and essentially saying, "you are welcomed to be at home with me". Moses responds with reverence, fear and by hiding his face. What a picture of our own response to God's invitations!

Consider this story as you pray with Psalm 84. What is it like to find your home with God? God bids you, "come, you are welcome home with me".

Come and Talk with Me

June 24, 2015

Have you heard this invitation from God before? For some this is a welcome invitation to relationship and intimacy with God. For others this offer evokes fear and they run away and hide from God's presence and voice. Yet if we are the house in which God's Spirit resides, can we ever really flee from God?

God, give us courage to trust your presence in us and with us. Give us courage to talk over our deepest fears and shame with you. Make us brave and set us free to come to you.

Attending to Jesus in Suffering

April 15, 2015

Now in the garden, Jesus beckons those he loves to share in his sorrow - to stay present and pray with him in it.  This is a hard thing to ask, to stay awake and keep watch with ourselves and another in anguish. It seems like we are hardwired to avoid suffering and we choose many means to avoid it. Falling asleep, checking out, numbing our sorrow with toxic substances or addictions all temporarily serve to keep us unaware of the pain in us and before us. Jesus longs to show us another way to be with sorrow and suffering with him. Jesus will give us the courage and strength to be present to reality and to be with him in it.

Private Garden Conversations

March 11, 2015

In Genesis, we are given a glimpse into the intimate conversations shared between God and Adam and Eve in the garden. The garden, then and now, is an intimate place to know and be known without any shame. It is a place where we can be vulnerable, let down our guard, take off our masks and speak about the private matters of the heart. Such a place of beauty, reverence, and humility invites us to be honest, still and listen.

This long text is set in a garden grove of olive trees. Within the shelter of branches, Jesus' closest friends draw near and enter into a private conversation with him. It seems like they listened to his long explanations without interrupting. Perhaps there were pauses of silence to allow the disciples space to absorb all that Jesus disclosed to them.

Today, Jesus is inviting you to return to the garden with him in your prayer. He is wiling to share a private conversation with you...Come, he is waiting for you...

More Food For The Soul

June 21, 2017

We eat and drink a variety of foods and beverages every day. In this story Jesus invites us to recognize from where our real life nourishment and wholeness comes.

If we really believe that Christ is the Bread that is most needed, how might that change our daily rhythms? Taking in food and drink are essential to fuel our physical bodies (including our mind) for our work and daily life. How is it we can feed on this Bread from heaven, the One who gives us life, now and forever? Might you see this food as essential to sustaining your life? What might this look like for you?

Prayer and the Word are "feeding tubes" for our soul.

John 6:35-51 (NLT)
 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me.  However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.  For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.  And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.  For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
 Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”  They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
 But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said.  For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.  As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.  (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)
 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.  Yes, I am the bread of life!  Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died.  Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”

For Reflection and Prayer:
What spoke to you as you listened? What feelings seemed to accompany this? Sit with this and see what else the Spirit may reveal.

What do you hunger for? How do you experience Jesus as your bread of life? Take this into your prayer.

Notice any “murmurings” rising up in you and have a gentle conversation with Jesus about what you truly need.

Consider the inclusivity of God and His desire for all.

Our Hiding Place

June 1, 2016

The place we go to hide can become the place where we become found by God and find God for ourselves. It is a place where we can be seen and known with love and compassion, including the parts of ourselves we most want to hide from. As you find a quiet moment to listen to the words of Psalm 32, give them room to soak in like a softly falling rain.

A Shared Gaze

October 7, 2015

The mountains in our lives can seem like permanently immovable obstacles on our journey to live into the abundant life. Yet perhaps they are the very thing which prompts our gaze to shift. The mountains invite us to look up; to see them and to see beyond them.

Thankfully, there is One who is ever seeing us. whose loving gaze is always upon us. God sees us long before we see God. What might it be like meet God's gaze today and mutually share in it together? Even for a moment.

Slow down a task today, and consider God's gaze upon you as you are in it. Soak in God's pleasure.

Taste and See

August 26, 2015

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
    no shadow of shame will darken their faces.  Ps. 34:5

Could that which we taste and see actually bring this kind of joy and freedom? Surely, we are shaped and formed by what we give our senses to.

As you pray with this Psalm, ask the Holy Spirit to shift your gaze upon God and taste of God's presence in your circumstances right now. The good news is that God has the power to work this transformation of joy and freedom from shame in us.

 

Worthy of Rescue

August 12, 2015

It may be difficult to imagine being the object of someone's rescue....to be worthy of the effort and peril of rescue. Yet our God is waiting - waiting to hear the sound of our voice vulnerably calling out for help. At the end of our resources and unable to help ourselves...we cry out...and there is ONE who hears our cry and always responds in love.

This is a wonderful Psalm to pray with in community. Listen carefully to the stories of rescue offered by your community. The process of re-telling our rescue stories brings glory to God, enables us to overcome today's trials, and helps us remember and anchor into the faithfulness of God.

Fleeing the Presence of Jesus

April 22, 2105

In their struggle to stay present with Jesus, these beloved companions eventually surrender to sleep. Jesus roused them as his betrayer approached, and in this text we witness the progression of fleeing the presence of Jesus. First the loved ones cannot stay internally present in their prayer, now they can no longer bear the fear and shame before them. One by one, they act out compelled by fear and shame, and eventually physically flee from Jesus. In the drama, chaos and contradiction of it all, Jesus is the only one who stays present to the reality before him. That day he said to them,

"Every day I was with you"

Today, he says to us,

"I am always with you"

Would you like to bring your fear, pain and shame and be with Jesus again in this moment?

For every child of God defeats the evil world
by trusting Christ to give us the victory.
1 John 5:4

Keeping Watch

March 18, 2015

Repeatedly Jesus invites us to pay attention and keep watch. The immediate, the now, this present moment is what we are given. Yet we are easily distracted from giving our whole attention to it.

What gift does the present moment hold for us? Jesus beckons us to receive the ever giving gift of the present moment.  Jean-Pierre de Caussade calls this gift the Sacrament of the Present Moment.

What makes the present moment holy, set apart for you? Where do you find the courage to pay attention to it with reverence? Can I be present to myself or another in the moment, noticing Christ's presence within it?

Be patient and kind to yourself as you unwrap the gift.

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