Prayer is more than just speaking to God. It also means listening to God. It can mean quieting the soul, being still before Him, momentarily letting go of a busy schedule—and just listening.
The greatest “noise” that hinders us from hearing Him comes from our minds. My life is so full that my time is usually spoken for, and my mind is constantly working. Demands are placed on me. I’m recovering from radiation therapy and facing potential surgery. There is a lot of “noise” in my life right now.
In order to hear the still, quiet voice of the Lord in the midst of chaos and distraction, we need to develop the habit of meeting with Him on a regular basis. There, in His presence, we can practice two things that are capable of changing our lives forever.
1. Meditate on God
Some of my favorite times of prayer occur when I am meditating on God, focusing on His splendor and glory. When you look at Him—really, truly give Him your attention—you
start to remember that He is good, that He is great, that His love is powerful and true, that nothing is too hard for Him. It is not uncommon to sit in His presence and wonder, How could I have forgotten that about You? In His presence, you remember who He is.
David would actually remind the Lord of what He had done in the past. These prayers have tremendous power as we recall the multi-layered promises God has given us: “Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your loving kindnesses, for they are from of old” (Psalm 25:6).
2. Meditate on His Word
Second, you can meditate on God’s Word by slowly and deliberately reading the Scriptures. This is called Lectio Divina, which means “holy reading.” Essentially, it is praying God’s Word. You meditate on a particular passage and wait for God to give you greater understanding about it.
Lectio Divina is about taking it slow and really sinking your teeth into one section of Scripture at a time, letting it soak down into your heart. It is a way to practice giving God your full, undivided attention. The more you practice this method of reading the Scriptures, the easier it becomes to focus on God without the distractions of the day taking over your consciousness.
This type of prayer, meditating on the Word, will radically transform your life. It has certainly transformed mine.
The Raging River of Hope
I often tell people, “What you focus on is what you make room for.” In other words, when we focus on the Lord, we make room for Him in our lives. The apostle Paul talks about this principle in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed.” Beholding the glory of God transforms us. We become the people we were made to be—children who look more and more like their Father. Hope washes like a wild river through our souls, and we are restored.
As we develop a habit of meeting regularly with God, we prepare our spirits to hear from Him in times of peace as well as in times of crisis. We’re able to hear His voice even in
the midst of “noise,” and the distractions that pull at us from the world will seem like actual distractions. We will recognize them for what they are, because we know the more important thing.
The Art of Praying the Scriptures book, CD-Set and Study Card are all valuable tools
that will help prepare you to pray God’s Word back to him. The book contains 175 pages of practical instruction on the process of meditating on and praying God’s word and it includes some of John Paul’s favorite Scripture verses. The 2-CD Set goes deeper into this teaching with John Paul sharing several stories and anecdotes. To see the Art of Praying the Scriptures teaching series.