Many may ask ‘how do we communicate, how do we really hear God?’ . One answer is certainly through the experience of Creation, another through collective worship and yet another through the voice of Pastors and Teachers. But for myself the most meaningful and intimate way is through simple prayer.
People say to me that they pray, but that they struggle to hear God’s voice, to sense that He is listening, and even more often that they feel a reply never comes. For me that is where contemplative prayer comes in. Not just as a simple one-sided engagement with God but moreover a mindful experience of personal worship that is often visual, experiential and to a degree audible in my mind and heart’s eye.
Recently during my meditative prayer I experienced a story I wish to share, a short sojourn taken with Jesus as we met under the Olive tree…
‘…As we met we began talking as we walked. I would bring up all sorts of things to do with where I was headed? Was I doing the right thing? Was He pleased with me? This pattern of conversation was fairly usual for me, a little worried, often confused and wanting to know more than I probably needed to about the ‘grand plan’. Walking in Faith isn’t easy and we often seek reassurance. But in His usually fashion He would smile that beautiful, peaceful smile, full of joy and laugh out loud – mostly to Himself with a knowing smile.
He always would leave me with that feeling of ‘you worry too much’ and ‘trust me, you’re doing great!’.
As we walked He would speak truth, always encouraging me. Truths about the universe and the impact each step we took had, about the value of each speck of dust and grain of sand when it came to building the Kingdom. We progressed down the road a little further until we reached the outskirts of a town, a town under construction…
As we approached the gates I looked and I could see many houses being built from golden, dusty stone. Wooden scaffolds were everywhere and workers were scurrying from place to place, looking ever busy and engrossed at the task at hand.
Then I looked again and saw that the workers were angels, each taken to its own task, some with trumpets and scrolls to direct the work and others laying foundations, placing stone upon stone, forming roofs and shaping walls.
‘Look’ my Lord said to me. ‘Each time you reach out to another in My name, each time you share My word, each time you acknowledge Me and lift others above yourself and make yourself an instrument of My mercy… this is what you are building’. ‘A great city of My Kingdom, a place paved with Grace through your good works. Now it is small but over years it will be a mighty city..” Never forget what you are building for me when you are obedient and act in love, this is your purpose in Me.. to spread my Word and build the Kingdom.’
Needless to say after this prayer session I felt both humbled and inspired, renewed and strengthened. I felt I had been shown a great Spiritual truth. True we may have heard similar things many times simply from listening to a sermon or someone quoting Scripture, but the reality of meditative practice breathes a new life and connection into a relationship with God. My thoughts on how to achieve a similar experience? An experience of your own personal relationship with God beyond what you have known previously? Get hungry. Search, pray, make time and be still. It is in those quiet moments that we experience a new connection unlike any other.
‘The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them, and they follow Me.’ John 10:27 (AB)
©Andrew Jewell – Wedgetail Ministries 2017