Thursday, February 20, 2014

Meditation on Scripture & Hearing God (PrayerLife)

"As fundamental a step as we can take . . . is learning to meditate - learning first to hear God's word, and let it inform and take root in us. This may be extremely difficult, for the churches have no courses on meditation, despite the fact that it is an art that must be learned from those who have mastered it, and despite the fact that the supreme task of the church is to listen to the Word of God."
- Elizabeth O'Connor, in Richard J. Foster, Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey into Meditative Prayer, Kindle Locations 72-74

Is the supreme task of the church to listen to the Word of God? I think a case can be made for this, at least for its great importance.

Remember that by "church" we mean: a people movement called out by God to proclaim the good news of God's rule and reign, in Christ and by the Spirit.

Every movement has a commander. A leader. In the Jesus Movement, God is our leader. The Lord is our Shepherd.

If the Lord is our Shepherd, then we are the "sheep of his pasture." Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27)

We are Jesus-followers. The game we play is "Follow the Leader." This is called "obedience." If we don't hear the voice of our Leader and sense his promptings, "following" won't make a lot of sense. This listening..., really hearing..., from God seems supremely important. Hearing God brings us into the Great Conversation.

If you desire to pray as conversation with God, you will do well to spend time meditating on Scripture. Good places to begin are Psalm 23, John chapters 14, 15, and 16, and Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7. Marinate in these verses. Slow-cook in them. Chew on them. To meditate on Scripture is to chew on it. The more you chew, the more it becomes assimilable to your spirit. God's truths get into you; they become (in a sense) you. When this happens a lot of God-hearing takes place.

To meditate is to focus on one thing, e.g., on one verse, or a part of a verse. Such as - "Believe in me," says Jesus in John 14:1. Or - "The Lord is my shepherd...," in Ps. 23:1. Meditate on things like this and God will bring them from the mind into the heart.

In my prayer times I usually meditate on portions of Scripture. It is common, in the middle of these meditations, to hear God speak to me. And, BTW, God has much to say to you, today. Richard Foster writes:

"Let me tell you how much God desires our presence. How much God longs to hear from us. How much God yearns to communicate with us. At the very heart of God is the passionate disposition to be in loving fellowship with you ... with me. From the human side of this equation it is meditative prayer that ushers us into this divine-human fellowship." (Ib., Kindle Locations 74-76)