Daily Lent Devotional #32 (4/09/2011)

Today’s Topic:  “True Listening”

Today’s Scripture:  1 Kings 19: 11-14

11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

   Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

   Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The passage above comes after one of Elijah’s most storied accomplishments (God helping him defeat the prophets of Baal).  Elijah now has become overwhelmed with worry and stress over his safety.  He ran from the forces of Queen Jezebel and then holes up in a cave, praying for God to end his life.  Thanks be to God that we never get overwhelmed by stress so badly that we fail to view our life in proper perspective, right? 🙂

Even as we try to ready our hearts for the Easter Season, the preparations and plans that we make can interfere with experiencing God’s blessing and presence.  We begin steamrolling through our days with our preconceived notions and plans, rarely stopping to wait on the Lord for his input, guidance, and direction.  We don’t mean to do this, of course (especially during the time of sacred holidays).  It’s as if our culture demands that we “keep moving;” and any that dare question the direction of the flow are viewed as odd.  Here are some thoughts on true listening from author Henri Nouwen that I hope will be a blessing and beneficial to your times of prayer this Lent Season.

It is clear that we are usually surrounded by so much outer noise that it is hard to truly hear our God when his is speaking to us. We have often become deaf, unable to know when God calls us and unable to understand in which direction he calls us. Thus our lives have become absurd. In the word absurd, we find the Latin word surdus, which means ‘deaf.’ A spiritual life requires discipline because we need to learn to listen to God, who constantly speaks but whom we seldom hear. When, however, we learn to listen, our lives become obedient lives. The word obedient comes from the Latin word audire, which means ‘listening.’

A spiritual discipline is necessary in order to move from an absurd to an obedient life, from a life filled with noisy worries to a life in which there is some free inner space where we can listen to our God and follow his guidance. Jesus’ life was a life of obedience. He was always listening to the Father, always attentive to his voice, always alert for his directions. Jesus was ‘all ear.’ That is true prayer: being all ear for God. The core of all prayer is indeed listening, obediently standing in the presence of God.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 6:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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