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40 Days of Prayer – Day 1: Gathered in Christ

As One Who Listens

Like many older people, my Dad spent his later years wearing a hearing device to amplify the voices around him. I’m sure he had a legitimate degree of hearing loss, but our family was often amused and sometimes irked by how Dad could miss something that was said clearly in front of him, yet pick up on a conversation going on in another room. Mom’s diagnosis was that Dad was just “hard of listening.”

I wonder if that is how God might view me! How many times has God spoken clearly to me and I’ve completely missed it? In John 10, Jesus asserted that the shepherd calls his sheep by name and they follow him because they know his voice. How’s that working out for you?

I’ve invested considerable time and money into a theological education, but I don’t recall ever having a formal class called “Listening to God 101.” However, in the school of the Spirit, this is the foundational lesson for anyone seeking to follow Jesus. There are steps we can take to help us learn to differentiate God’s voice from all the others bombarding us. We can read Scripture voraciously (like Jesus, and like early Friends did) to the point that it becomes a sieve through which we test every thought we receive. We can respond to gentle inner promptings to speak in worship or to hold our peace, and experience the smile of God affirming our obedience. Listening is something we learn to do, sometimes by trial and error.

Young Samuel heard God calling his name, and it confused him at first. Eventually, though, he heard from God again and responded, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). Can you say the same thing?

Doug Shoemaker

Query for Reflection

Am I expecting to hear from God during these next forty days? Do I already have an inkling of what I need to listen for?

Action Step

For the next forty days keep a prayer journal where you track not only what you are asking of God, but also what you are hearing.

Prayer Focus

Lord, teach me how to sort out your voice from my own and the many others I hear day after day.

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  • Leslie Manning

    Samuel listened and needed prompting from his mentor to say “here I am”. May I have the capacity to listen and the mentors to prompt me to deeper obedience.
    Samuel was faithful, as was Eli, even when the message was hard to deliver and hear.

  • Dale Graves

    Perhaps this writing today seems particularly relevant to me is that I lost my hearing aids last week. :-)

    At any rate, this is a great place for me to start my own participation in the 40 days. Thanks Doug.

  • Annie Glen

    The staff in the Richmond office gathered today. Every person cotnributed to the time of reflection and prayer.Many of us spoke of how we hear God. One said names come to him and he is impressed to hold them in prayer. Another stated she had a greateer sense of peace when she “hears” God. Ane, one other spoike of a differnt level of knowing. Hearing God requires a sense of paying attention.

    Our prayers and hopes are:

    “That I listen. I hope I will trun every thing off and listen.”
    “I am certainly expecting to hear from God. I do not have any inkling, but I am open.”
    “I want to pay attention”

    What have you sensed after your time of relfection?

  • Colin Saxton

    I am mindful today of my own “hard of listening.” I get busy or preoccupied with my own “stuff” and less attentive to the Presence and Voice of Christ. In my experience, I know that when I assume union with God…rather than practice it….that easy sense of familiarity gets me into trouble. Maybe it is just me…but I have to pay close attention to the God who speaks, otherwise I am way too apt to confuse my own thoughts and ideas for those of Jesus.

  • Rich Dunn

    To know His Voice I need to first know His Word. To know His Word I need to read and understand His Word. To understand His Word I need to trust His Spirit so that I may discern His teaching. To remember His teaching I need to memorize Scripture. To use His teaching I need to put it into practice in my life. Then I can teach others in His Name.