My Payne Theological Seminary class is called Spiritual Formation. My main assignment is: set apart one hour a day, five days a week, for seven weeks. Use this time to pray and listen to God. Keep a record of the voice and activity of God in a spiritual journal.
Needed: listening skills, ability to meditate, and focus, to allow God to dive deep in your heart.
I also teach three philosophy courses at Monroe County Community College: Introduction to Logic, Introduction to Western Philosophy, and Philosophy of Religion. The ability to stay on task is needed to learn philosophy, and to think philosophically. A philosopher must have a great capacity to go inward, to ponder, and ruminate.
Spiritual formation and philosophy are slow cookers, not microwaves. Both, if attended to, produce lasting fruit in a person’s life. Oak trees grow from the soil of slow thinking about life’s big ideas.
Deep, lasting, relationships are slow-cookers, too. This includes the God-relationship. Knowing God involves more than theoretical knowledge, just as one learns to ride a bike by actually riding it, not by reading books about bike riding.
Kierkegaard told us that a pure heart, untainted by distractions, wills one thing. To “will one thing” is to focus on, attend to, be captivated by, be still before, one thing. What is the benefit of that? Nothing less, said Jesus, than the visio dei.
Blessed are the mono-taskers, for they shall see God.
(From my book Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.)