Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lent XIV

Each year we are invited to observe a holy Lent by practicing spiritual disciplines.  While there are many disciplines which are a part of our Christian experience, the two bedrock disciplines are surely prayer and the reading of the Word.  It is impossible to imagine a spiritual life with God without these two practices being an important part of what we do each day.  Prayer is that conduit of communication which sustains our relationship with Him and through the reading of the Word we are enabled to hear His Word being spoken to us within the context of our life. 
Actually, hearing His Word is a vital part of a mature prayer life.  For most of us it takes a while to realize that the listening is an overlooked, or uncultivated part of our prayer life.  For us to be able to hear what God is saying to us through our prayers involves embracing a number of beliefs.  First, there has to be for us a conviction that He is.  Secondly, we must know God as a personal Father God who loves and cares for us even beyond our understanding of the earthly Father/child relationship.  Thirdly, prayer is not a one way street of us speaking and Him listening.  He desires to speak to us even more than we do to Him.  And finally, the only thing which keeps us from hearing His voice is our own lack of expectations and our unwillingness to learn the discipline of listening.

Of course, coming to this place of learning to listen for the voice of God in the quiet still moments of our devotional life is not something that just happens for most of us.  There is always a sense in which spiritual disciplines are practiced.  Practice is a vital part of many disciplines.  Anyone who wants to move from the dabbler to the one who excels not only understands the value of discipline but practices it as well.  It can be no different for those of us who desire to experience a walk with God which enables us to hear and know His voice in our hearts.   

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