Prayer as Listening for God’s Perspective

When it comes to praying, I still tend to default to talking over listening. Part of it is I want to feel in control when I pray. That’s pretty silly, isn’t it! I’m still learning how to come to God in a more receptive posture. Here’s a word from Thomas Green on this theme:

“I have learned from experience, both as a pray-er and a director, that very often it is difficult for us to listen to the Lord. …when we confess, we usually confess what we think God sees in us. How different it might be if we ask him to show us what he would like us to confess. What a tremendous grace it would be if we could see how he sees us instead of just evaluating ourselves according to his laws.” (Thomas H. Green, S.J. A Vacation With the Lord. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 1986, p. 52.)

Receptive listening in prayer opens the way for God to take initiative in the encounter. When I’m talking all the time, the encounter is limited to a narrow one-way street. Listening in prayer can happen in those special times I set aside to come to God in scripture or intercession. Listening happens when I occasionally set aside a larger block of time to be unhurriedly in His presence in solitude and silence. Listening happens in the moment-to-moment as I learn to notice His presence with me and His voice guiding me.

How are you learning to listen to Him at this stage of your journey?

(A repost from November 2007)

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