I’m speaking tonight south of Ottawa at a great church, and I’m quite excited about it. I’m using a relatively new talk, and here’s the basic gist:
There is always enough time in the day to do what God wants you to do today. So there’s no point in feeling guilty for leaving things undone!
The trick is to figure out what God’s priorities are. And to do that, you have to listen to Him.
So how do you do that? That’s a hard one. Some people, I think, have the gift of meditation, and I don’t mean some far east mysticism thing. I mean, they have the gift of sitting quietly and meditating on His word. I know several women like that, and they often get visions or something really neat that God intended just for them.
I’m not like that. I find it very difficult to sit still for any length of time. It’s a discipline I have to develop. But we can listen without necessarily being still all the time. Really quickly (because I don’t have a lot of time for a long post), here are some thoughts on this that I’ve had:
1. We need to spend some time quietly each day before God. Journalling is good during part of this, to record what you’re feeling/thinking/hearing, but we also just need to be still.
2. We need to read His Word everyday. We just do. It helps us to think the right way, to be reminded and convicted of specific things, and to see life with a new perspective.
But often we think that the only time we hear God is in these “holy” times. Realistically, though, for most people this is just a few minutes of their day, half an hour if you’re lucky. What about the rest of the day? The more important question, I think, is figuring out how to hear Him in the rest of the day, too.
And I think that comes from “practicing the presence of God”, as Tozer said. We have to practice talking to Him throughout the day, and not only at appointed times. We have to take everything to God in prayer. Keep the lines of communication open.
Train yourself to talk to Him maybe while you’re doing the dishes, or driving doing errands. Every so often, turn off the radio and TV so that you can have some silence (even if the kids are noisy in the background).
Get rid of things that can drown out His voice, like questionable movies or TV shows, or too much time on the internet. I find that when I spend more time talking to people, and less time watching movies, I hear His voice more.
Participate in creative things, not just busy things. Our God is a creative God, and when we are also creative, I think we touch Him in unique ways. So have fun cooking something new, crochet something, paint something, build something. When we make something beautiful, we’re engaging in something that God also does. And it gives you a chance to keep your mind in that direction. So often we spend our time in things that are not creative (like TV or video games). I think the more we do things that God also does, the more we train our brains to hear His voice.
Participate in service. Pray for missions. Think and research how you will give your charity money. Have people over for dinner. Help a friend. God is also a God of service, and the more we participate in what He does, the more we begin to be shaped by Him.
Think about it this way: if you were to be Jesus’ apprentice, what would you do? You would pray, sure. But you would also surround yourself with friends. You would talk to people. You would go to weddings. You would help people. You would build tables and chairs. You would learn Scripture.
I think sometimes we compartmentalize too much, and think that the only time we can hear God’s voice is when we’re specifically praying. That’s not true. We need that time, absolutely. After all, Jesus took it. But let’s not assume that that is the only time we meet with God during the day. Let’s learn how to listen to His voice in other pursuits, too, and we just may find that figuring out what He has planned for our day is much easier!