Shush and Listen!
It was a normal Sunday morning service at church. The deacon said the Morning Prayer, and the church rang with praise. Then the choir sang, and several people started dancing in the pews and aisles. Some stood and clapped their hands, and those sitting were either stomping their feet or tending to their children. This was a normal worship service for me at my home church in Washington, D.C.. Church services were full of prayer, music and praise. Thus my personal relationship with God was full of prayer and praise, but I spent very little time meditating and listening for God’s voice.
It is difficult to hear the voice of God when God has to speak while I am spending time working busily or taking time to relax. Although I believe God speaks through music, people, dreams and other means, I have realized it is important to have quiet time to meditate on God and listen for God’s voice. Imagine being in a small club with a live band and trying to listen to someone speak to you. There are many distractions and noises to prevent you from clearly hearing the person. I had created a similar atmosphere for God to speak to me. Now when I talk with God I turn everything off so I can pray without external disruption. No relationship should be one-sided where one person does all the talking and no listening. Since I consider God a best friend, I need to give God quality time – my undivided attention and listening ears.
I have discovered two ways to open my heart and ears to God during my time at the School of Divinity. At the end of January, the school hosted a Student Retreat. One of my favorite activities during the retreat was spending time outdoors and letting God speak through creation. It was so peaceful to be alone in nature with God. Just taking time to look at the wonders in nature and meditate on the glory of God rejuvenated me. The second method I learned in Dr. John Senior’s Art of Ministry class. He starts each class with a piece of worship music and a question. He encourages us to meditate on this question as the music plays softly in the background. This morning I choose to do the same thing after my morning prayer. I laid on my sofa, played worship music, closed my eyes, and meditated. In those moments it felt as if God lifted and held me. This provided me with a sense of comfort and protection. There couldn’t have been a better start for my day.
You may already have a routine for starting your day, but I want to encourage you to include at least three minutes to relax and meditate on God each morning. I suggest choosing a scripture to reflect upon during your time of meditation. I also encourage you to spend some additional quality time with God just listening, being open and receptive.
Nature photography is one of the things I do to spend quality time with God. For me, looking at and photographing the beauty of God’s creation reiterates the reality of God and God’s grace. Do not let your relationship with God be one-sided. Spend quality time just being and listening, and I guarantee you will see a difference in your life. I have.
Angel Lee is a first year Divinity School student from Washington, D.C. who seeks to expand her knowledge of the Bible and Christ and become equipped to teach the Gospel to all who will listen.