Friday, February 19, 2010

40 day Journey with Martin Luther (Augsburg Books) Day 3: Listening in Prayer

"If such an abundance of good thoughts comes to us we ought to disregard the other petitions, make room for such thoughts, listen in silence, and under no circumstances obstruct them. The Holy Spirit himself preaches here, and one word of his sermon is far better than a thousand of our prayers." -Martin Luther

"...they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts..." from Acts 2. How often do I eat a meal with a glad and generous heart? I think my food is only nutritious when I eat with others (especially at home) and eat it with a glad and generous heart. This is a good piece of scripture for me today.

Question for reflection:

Reflect on times when you have simply been silent during your devotions?

A time of simple silence is a devotional rarity to me. I suppose I should create that space more often--but the fact that I am even in a space for prayer is an accomplishment. Now that I have kept up a discipline for several days (both morning prayer and devotions) I have grown. The point when I have space for true silence and listening in prayer will be another growth step--but not right now. The only place I have ever encountered long silence and prayer is on a long drive or walking a labyrinth for a ministry retreat. This prayer is bountiful, and it takes at least 30 minutes to get in a space of true listening. I define true listening as an emptying out of my thoughts--thinking through all of the things that I think are important at that given time. Thirty minutes is the minimum, but it can take several hours. This is why a long drive, a change in perspective, and the emptying of my thoughts becomes a time when the Holy Spirit enters in and the Holy Spirit preaches to me. This can take place as many as 4 separate occurrences on a solo drive from 12-48 hours of driving. The labyrinth is also a good way to empty thoughts and focus on the preaching of the Spirit--I'm not sure why this kind of walking works, but it does--the weaving path, full of surprises and guidance leading to a center of prayer and listening.

Through this writing I have realized I have not done this kind of prayer in several months. It was actually during last Holy Week when I drove through the Western Dakotas. I must make it a goal to visit a labyrinth or go on a long drive during this Lenten season.

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