As you begin the process of discerning where God is calling your congregation to join Him in missional engagement, it’s helpful to frame the discovery process using Listening Prayer. Listening prayer slows us down and detaches us from the hurried, harried culture. Life is less like a pressure cooker and more like a slow cooker as we experience space for our thoughts to simmer. Sitting with God in the midst of life’s tensions often “slow cooks” the heart into alignment with God’s heart and we find ourselves doing that thing that was impossible before.
Listening prayer works well as a follow up to reading the Bible. After we have read it slowly and carefully, we hold it lightly within ourselves. What stood out to us? What images are coming to mind? What do we need to know from this passage about God? From God?
Practicing Listening Prayer (can be practiced alone or in a small group)
Choose a comfortable place to sit; your feet should be on the floor and your hands resting on your lap or side of body. Your mind should be attentive to hearing from God.
Begin with 2 minutes of silence.
Then, Read the selected scripture text slowly and carefully. Hold it lightly within yourself. Reflect on these questions:
- What stood out to you?
- What images are coming to mind?
Reread the selected scripture text slowly and carefully.
- What might God be telling you through this passage? What might you be learning about God?
Wait in silence for God to speak (up to 10 minutes)
- Listen to what God is saying to you. What themes emerge? What becomes clear about God’s plan for you as you listen?
Jot down any Scripture, songs, impressions, or pictures God gives you
Close your prayer thanking God for this time. Follow with 1 minute of silence.
-If participating in Listening Prayer in a small group, at the conclusion, share any insights you received during the prayer time.
-Listening Prayer can be done with children too. One may receive a verse from Scripture, another a song. Sometimes a member of the family gets one word, or a particular phrase. Another sees a picture. Often the Lord gives us one piece of the message, and it only seems to make sense after everyone has had the chance to share what they received.