Monday, October 20, 2014

Surrender, Pray, Listen {7 for 31}

This month I'm writing a new post each day about my own version of Jen Hatmaker's 7 experiment. For more posts and an introduction, head hereToday's 7 topic is stress.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the concept that each area of excess leads to a corresponding deficit (after all, we only have so much attention to give). When I was journaling through that idea at the end of September, I listed seven pairs, a 7 topic with whatever it was overshadowing, and next to Stress I wrote Prayer (in part because that's the Good Christian Answer).

I've been keeping up with a few other 31 Days series(es?), one of which is 31 Days of Resting in Him over at Abiding Love, Abounding Grace. While I highly recommend all of her posts thus far, the ones that have stood out the most for me are on listening prayer. That's not something that I'd ever heard of before - to pray, asking specifically to hear from God, then journal through whatever happens next (and check it against Scripture afterwards). While I've definitely read through a passage of Scripture (or some other book), jotting down words and phrases that stood out, and looking at my list afterwards as a method of personal introspection, writing down thoughts and attributing them to God seemed a bit... iffy. Like something that would have a lot of potential for coming up with the answer I wanted instead of the answer I needed.

However, a side effect of stopping and praying every three hours is that I've begun to run out of things to pray about (after I go through my nice little list, and the default topics, my imagination fails and my mind begins to wander). So after yesterday's sermon on worship I took my journal onto the balcony to work through the notes I took, and decided to finish with listening prayer. Because I can focus better on paper, I wrote out my prayer, pausing to consider possible answers before beginning. Read more. Memorize Scripture.  Doing-y things. Then I started writing. Please reveal to me specific steps that I can take in order to grow closer to You. Before I was even finished, three words pressed themselves firmly into my mind: Surrender. Pray. Listen.

Not necessarily what I wanted to hear (as a recovering legalist, I kind of like doing things and those are very non-do-y things) but undoubtedly what I needed to hear. It's true - I do need to let go of both my hopes and my fears, actually pray (instead of whining in God's direction), and then pause to hear His reply (you know, like, a conversation).

So I've been trying to actually apply the steps that I was given, since I asked for them and all - I'll write more about how that's going later this week. It's only day two... I wonder what the next five days will hold?

Do you take pauses in the midst of your busyness? (Head here for Karrilee's post on listening prayer - it's a perfect pause!)

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