“From all that I said about our worried, overfilled lives, it is clear that we are usually surrounded by so much outer noise that it is hard to truly hear our God when he is speaking to us. We have often become deaf, unable to know when God calls us and unable to understand in which direction he calls us.
Thus our lives have become absurd. In the word absurd we find the Latin word surdus, which means “deaf”. A spiritual life requires discipline because we need to learn to listen to God, who constantly speaks but whom we seldom hear.
When, however, we learn to listen, our lives become obedient lives. The word obedient comes from the Latin word audire, which means “listening.” A spiritual discipline is necessary in order to move slowly from an absurd to an obedient life, from a life filled with noisy worries to a life in which there is some free inner space where we can listen to our god and follow his guidance.
Jesus’ life was a life of obedience. He was always listening to the Father, always attentive to his voice, always alert for his directions. Jesus was “all ear.” That is true prayer: being all ear for God. The core of all prayer is indeed listening, obediently standing in the presence of God.” – Henri Nouwen
Sunday evenings always find me slightly agitated. I feel as though I need to put things in order for the coming week, and yet I also don’t want the weekend to end. I want to be able to think more about what I heard on Sunday morning. I want to take more in and be able to soak just a little longer in what Sunday is…but Monday is sneaking up on me.
I’ve said in the last few posts that I am not the most disciplined person, and Nouwen talks about how if we are not disciplined our lives are absurd…they are so noisy we have become deaf. Sometimes for me, when things become so noisy like that it is difficult to put them back in order.
That agitation is creeping in and I just want to stamp my feet and be mad, rather than be obedient and listen.
Sometimes it helps to have something specific to put things in order. Something to focus upon that helps to quiet the noise.
Prayer requests help that sometimes. Draw us out of the noise of our own cluttered lives and help to focus. Or, if we need the support of those around us, they help us to know that we are part of the family of believers and there are others who are supporting us in prayer.
My friend Michael had a blog, and I am confident that it will be back soon, where he weekly posted prayers and drew us in as a community to pray with one another. I’m hosting that here until he is back up and running. There are folks from that blog, Phoenix Preacher, posting here, mixed with other friends from other places. I like that. A lot.
Post if you have a need. Post if you see a need…encourage someone in their need and let them know you are praying.
Focus a little. Quiet the noise.