Friday, December 08, 2017

Meditation on Scripture & Hearing God

Maracas Bay, Trinidad

"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."[1]

Elizabeth O'Connor

Is the supreme task of the church to listen to the Word of God? I think a case can be made for this.

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. 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."[2]

We are Jesus-followers. The game of life 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 sense. Thus, listening and hearing from God is supremely important. Hearing God brings us into the Great Conversation.

If you desire to pray as conversation with God, meditate 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 is to chew, slowly. The more you chew, the more the words become assimilable to your spirit. God's truths get into you. They become 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 part of a verse. Such as "Believe in me."[3] Or "The Lord is my shepherd.”[4] Meditate on things like this, and the Spirit will move them from your mind into your heart.

In my praying times I meditate on portions of Scripture. It is common, in the middle of these meditations, to hear God speak to me. 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."[5]

[1] Cited in Richard Foster, Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey Into Meditative Prayer, Kindle Locations 72-72
[2] John 10:27
[3] Jesus, in John 14:1
[4] Psalm 23:1
[5] Ib., Kindle Locations 74-76