Leaning Back on God

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Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. It may be that one of our great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and listen too little. When prayer is at its highest we wait in silence for God’s voice to us; we linger in His presence for His peace and His power to flow over us and around us; we lean back in His everlasting arms and feel the serenity of perfect security in Him.

–William Barclay,
The Plain Man’s Book of Prayers

Joining the conversation

2014-01-01-looking out-crop-windows on right-640x480Take the Gospel in hand. Here is a letter God sends you in friendship today. Let no person, no pretext, stop you from listening to this Word, from joining in this intimate conversation.

—Servias Pinckaers

 

Image: Jeremy Sutton

The other point of view

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The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.

– C. S. Lewis

Walking past burning bushes

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We must be open
to the possibility of God
addressing us in whatever way
he chooses or we may walk
right past a burning bush.

–Dallas A. Willard

Image: Jason Vandehey

Listen for Him

17582_603996602948044_422615885_nTHE QUESTION is not whether the things that happen to you are chance things or God’s things because, of course, they are both at once. There is no chance thing through which God cannot speak—even the walk from the house to the garage that you have walked ten thousand times before, even the moments when you cannot believe there is a God who speaks at all anywhere. He speaks, I believe, and the words he speaks are incarnate in the flesh and blood of our selves and of our own footsore and sacred journeys.

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We cannot live our lives constantly looking back, listening back, lest we be turned to pillars of longing and regret, but to live without listening at all is to live deaf to the fullness of the music. Sometimes we avoid listening for fear of what we may hear, sometimes for fear that we may hear nothing at all but the empty rattle of our own feet on the pavement.

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But be not affeard, says Caliban, nor is he the only one to say it. “Be not afraid,” says another, “for lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” He says he is with us on our journeys. He says he has been with us since each of our journeys began. Listen for him. Listen to the sweet and bitter airs of your present and your past for the sound of him.

–Frederick Buechner
The Sacred Journey

What next?

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If you are weary of some sleepy form of devotion, probably God is as weary of it as you are.

All during the day, in the chinks of time between the things we find ourselves obliged to do, there are the moments when our minds ask: ‘What next?’ In these chinks of time, ask Him: ‘Lord, think Your thoughts in my mind. What is on Your mind for me to do now?’ When we ask Christ, ‘What next?’ we tune in and give Him a chance to pour His ideas through our enkindled imagination. If we persist, it becomes a habit.

The trouble with nearly everybody who prays is that he says “Amen” and runs away before God has a chance to reply. Listening to God is far more important than giving Him your ideas.

–Frank C. Laubach
(1884 – 1970)

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