It’s a noisy world out there. How to listen to God with all the racket.
Posted in , Feb 3, 2022
When I was a kid, one of four rowdy kids, my mom used to say to us in exasperation, “Listen to me. You’ve got to get quiet to listen to me.” We had to get quiet. We couldn’t hear what she was saying to us if we were running around and shouting all the time.
It’s a noisy world out there. Seems noisier now than it did back then. We’ve got our phones buzzing in our pockets, emails to answer, texts to respond to. And then it’s pretty noisy inside of my head, too. How to listen to God with all the racket around?
Get silent. Get quiet. That’s what I do every morning, sitting in the corner of our old lumpy sofa, listening for God. Here’s some advice that I repeat in my book Even Silence Is Praise. A short, condensed version!
Find a time and a place. Find not just a time but a place you can go back to again and again. Even if it’s only five minutes, make sure you do it every day. It will become a habit. Like brushing your teeth. Twenty or thirty minutes.
And that place will say to you, “This is my prayer place.” All the external stimuli—the comfortable pillow, your feet on the floor—will become internal stimuli for your spirit. You go to your desk or your computer to work. You come here to pray.
Pick a few words of Scripture. It doesn’t have to be a long passage. A verse or even part of a verse will do. Like those words from the Psalms in the Common English Bible: “God of Zion, to You even silence is praise.” (Psalms 65:1)
Now, with your eyes closed, you can hold on to that piece of Scripture to stay connected to the Spirit as you check out to check in.
Notice what’s going on in your mind. You’ll hear a noise outside or something inside. You’ll remember an email you need to respond to or a phone call you have to make or a friend who’s sick. Distractions. You wish you could block them out.
Don’t. Anytime I ignore a distraction it only gets bigger. Take that thought and turn it into your prayer. The email, the check you need to write, the worry about the sick friend. Let them be your prayers as you empty your mind.
Let it all go to God. God knows what we need better than we know ourselves. Now that you’ve gotten silent, you can feel it in your heart. The release of tension, of worries. Peace coming into the soul.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you,” Jesus said. “I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Can’t you hear it? Yes, day after day. Because you’ve put yourself in a place and given yourself some precious time to listen to God.