A Question for all the parents out there...
How many times do you call your kids to come do a chore, to come for dinner, or get in the car to leave and they don’t come? So you call again, sometimes even a third time. Do you ever have to revert to threatening? Then, once you do that, do they ever say “Sorry, I didn’t hear you” when you know darn sure they did indeed hear you!
I get so frustrated …esp when it comes to dinner. I don’t like cold food. I’m like my dad in that way. I took the time to prepare it and the least they could do is come when I call so we can all sit down to a warm meal! Instead, they ignore me or pretend they didn’t hear me. It boils my blood if I’m being honest.
In 1 Samuel 3, we read about how God called Samuel…he called him over and over until Samuel realized it was the voice of God. See he hadn’t recognized the calling as a calling from God. He thought it was Eli.
That said, we (and our children) need to be more like Samuel ...answer when we are called. He didn’t know who God was but he immediately got up when he heard the voice. He got up, ran to Eli and said "Here I am" When we “hear” something, do we recognize the voice that is speaking? Is it the world speaking or is it the still small voice of God?
Like the called ID on our phone - if we don’t recognize the # we often ignore the call. Send it to VM. Before caller ID, when we answered and didn’t recognize the voice, what did we do? I am not sure I even remember. Hang up maybe? Tell a lie… Caller: “Is Carrie there?” (don’t recognize the voice so) Me: “No, she’s not here, can I take a message?”
Discerning the voice of God in our life can be tricky so… How? Then, once we know, how do we respond?
We need to develop a habit of asking God to speak to us. The song “Speak Lord” that I have been singing in church for as long as I can remember, has always been one of my favorites. However, I believe that for most of my life, I have underestimated it. I stopped at the words “Speak Lord” and failed to take on the very next words…”I love to listen to your voice” It really struck me this weekend as I sang that song. It is true? Do I LOVE to listen to His voice? If we are inviting the Lord to speak to us and if we truly love to listen to his voice then we need to make sure we are putting ourselves in a position to hear Him.
I like to-do lists!
They help me stay focused and on task and I get great satisfaction from checking items off of it. So I decided I would make a “Speak Lord, To-Do List”. Stay with me now…it may not be scriptural or theologically perfect but this is what my "Speak Lord To-Do List" looks like:
- Find a quiet place to sit. I love music but I turn everything off..no noise/distractions
- Breath: Practice centering breathing: to restore focus. Breathe from your diaphragm and expand your belly and lungs as much as is comfortable. Sometimes laying down will help ensure you are breathing correctly. Shoulders should remain still. Take in as much air as you can before you slowly (much more slowly than you inhaled) exhale through your mouth. Pause for a few seconds (again, as much as is comfortable), and then repeat seven times before you begin.
- Invite: the Holy Spirit to come into this time, my thoughts, my emotions and my body. (for those living with chronic pain, this is very important because pain is a major distraction and focus killer)
- Pray: my prayer is always: Lord, may I see myself the way you see me, may I see others the way you see them and may I see the work you have for me to do the way you see it.
- Read scripture or my favorite devotional…can do it Lectio Divina style or just read once. I will often read out loud so my ears hear the word of God instead of only having my eyes see it.
- Rest: I will simply sit still, continue to breathe, and wait.
- Write: as thoughts come into my mind, I simply write them down. I do NOT, at that moment, try to decipher them or make plans for them or judge them.
That’s it! I will try to look back at what I wrote a few times as the day goes on. Sometimes it is very obvious what God is saying or wants me to do. Other times, I will look back at what I wrote months or years later, after having assumed what I wrote was not relevant, mind doodling as I call it, only to realize God had used it in His time. Back then, he was just planting the seed.
At the end of all of this though…I realize that as followers of Christ, we all need to be more like Samuel. We need to say “here I am” with childlike faith, never doubting for a moment that we will LOVE whatever He has for us.
Would you like to pray with me?
If you know the song, you can sing it in between each prayer below or just say it:
Response: Speak Lord, I love to listen to your voice. See Lord, here I am.
- for the ears to hear you Lord we pray…
- for the heart to love your voice we pray…
- For the eyes to see the needs
- For the ability to surrender to your will