THEME: God’s presence is always near.
GRACE: Lord, make me more aware of your presence in my life.
- In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
- Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
- Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
- Read these words slowly (aloud or silently):
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:21-22, NIV)
- Pause for a few moments of silence.
- Choose one of the following practices.
Option 1: Listening – Prayer [5-30 minutes]
Today, dedicate your remaining time to “listening prayer.” Instead of filling your prayer with words addressed to God, take the following question and ask it prayerfully, then sit for a period of silence and notice what you “hear.”
Note: You will probably not hear an audible voice from God; He very rarely speaks this way. He often speaks, however, through specific scriptures that come to mind; or through our thoughts, emotions, images and memories; or even through the things we notice in our surroundings. St. Augustine famously came to faith in Jesus after hearing a neighboring child sing “Take up and read.” God deeply desires to communicate with us, we simply need to take the time to be still and listen.
With whatever time you have left in your “practice” time, ask this question of God and be silent. Then write in your journal anything you particularly notice.
Question: Lord, why do You desire to be closer to me?
Option 2: Listening – Community [30-60 minutes]
Think of an issue that is particularly bothering you this week. A big decision, a strained relationship, a difficult emotion, whatever comes to mind. Take the next 15-30 minutes and bring the following question before the Lord, listening in silence for anything He might say in response. For more information on listening prayer, read the practice instructions above.
Question: Lord, what do you want me to know about this issue that is bothering me?
Take a moment to write in your journal anything that stood out during your time of silent listening.
Follow-up: Throughout the day, we have many chances to practice our “listening” as we interact with others. As you go through your day and engage with others in conversation, challenge yourself to practice active listening. Engage with each person fully, eliminating any distractions and listening without trying to mentally think through your response. Practice withholding advice or correction, but simply listen and help them know that you hear and understand their situation. This is incredibly difficult, but helps us learn to better listen to both God and others. You might also be surprised at what God might have to say today through the voice of a friend!
- Summary: Write a brief summary (five sentences or less) of what you discovered during your practice of listening.
- Closing Prayer: Lord, make me more aware of Your presence in my life.
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