(This is part of a series on “Personal Worship” in the Whole Life Worship paradigm that started on 02/18/13)
What makes Personal Worship personal is prayer. Prayer is our conversation with God. What I want to focus on today is the fact that any good conversation is two-way. Prayer is not just talking to God; it is talking with God. It involves listening.
I had an interesting conversation yesterday with my spiritual friend, Benjamin. We talked about different relationships; some draining, some empowering. The draining relationships fell into two different conversation types. One is characterized by where the other person does all the talking. They never ask you about yourself; they constantly talk about them. You find it difficult to get in a word edgewise because they don’t give you any space to respond or to change the course of the conversation. The other is characterized by where the other person doesn’t talk at all. The burden of the conversation is totally on me, so that I am constantly trying to think of things to talk about, questions to ask, etc. And they usually only give you one word answers to questions asked – and so the burden on me to come up with another question.
Empowering relationships are those when the conversation is back and forth: talking and listening. There is good engagement and attentiveness. There is synergy and contribution, where the conversation starts spawning new ideas, insights and inspiration.
This describes my conversations with Jesus during Personal Worship (and in Everyday Ordinary; which I’ll cover later).
In my prayers to Jesus, I share my heart to Him. I talk, I speak to Him. Sometimes it is a word of praise or thanks. Sometimes it is a request. Sometimes it is a question. Sometimes it is a frustration. Sometimes it is an idea. But I love that Jesus gives me room to speak to Him.
But I also listen. This was harder to do at the start. It wasn’t until I realized that I was doing most of the talking (and becoming like one of the annoying people who yak about themselves all the time) that I started to pause and give the Lord some space to speak.
I listen to him when I read Scripture (see blog articles on 2/22, 2/23, and 2/24). I pause every time I speak to Him. I pause after every paragraph I write in my journal. I am silent. I am still. I am attentive. Sometimes I wait a long time until I hear His voice (usually an impression in my soul or a word from Scripture that sticks out to me). Sometimes I wait and I don’t hear anything at all. That’s okay – I realize that I also need to learn to just “wait on the Lord.” He doesn’t have to speak if He doesn’t want to or need to.
Is your prayer life a “two-way” conversation?
Do you share your heart to the Lord? If not, why not?
Do you take time to pause and listen for God’s voice? (see blog article on 021913 “Starting with the Sound of Silence”)
As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. (Exodus 33:9)