I’ve discovered since my wife left me that I’m tired of hearing only from myself. I want to hear from God the source of my hope. Hearing myself thinking all the time – what about me leaves me in a terrible shape. And I do not desire to be in a terrible shape.
God put me in a world full of problems to distract me from myself. Because of this I want to hear what God has to say to my heart. Some would have us think this is an even harder task than we might believe. It’s not when we put ourself in a position to hear from God. Some ask how we can create some quiet around us that we might be in touch with God. And how do you know in that quiet space that the Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart?
I’ve found that it can happen to anyone as it did to a humble monk who worked in the kitchen of a monastery in seventeenth-century Paris. His name was Brother Lawrence, and his account of hearing from God were collected and put in a book called The Practice of the Presence of God.
He was a simple man and his technique was simple: He worked to keep his mind focused on God regardless of what he was doing. He talked to God while he did the dishes and praised God when he cleaned the floor. I do that too and let me tell you it works.
He worshiped God while he was setting the table for dinner and asked God’s blessing while he cleared it. Over time he got to the point where he was constantly aware of God and constantly in communion with God.
In the noise and clatter of the kitchen even while several persons called for different things at the same time he was in communion with God and this gave him great tranquility as if he were upon my knees in the chapel at the Blessed Sacrament.
It takes a dedicated effort to be with God and to hear from God as Brother Lawrence could attest. I’ve discovered that all I need do is be intentional about being with God. I sit in my God chair and let God love me – I do nothing but enjoy the love of God.
I have learned how vital it is to move myself into the direction of God. I take little God retreats where I will sing God a song – it can be one I make up on the spot or one where I put three or four different verses from different songs together.
I think of God when I have downtime during the day; such as at stop light or in some line that I find myself in or just waiting for someone or something. When I ride my stationary bike I ask God to bless me – everything about me and then I go to my children and their families then I ask God to bless the people that have hurt me or wanted to do me harm. I’ve found this takes at least 12 minutes and the time goes by fast.
Then I sing my songs of praise and in no time I’ve done my workout. I think of God and wait and listen and pray. I also read and study and write and listen for God in all of this. I’ve said the Jesus Prayer – Lord Jesus, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner – at times too. I also have pages upon pages of what I call Words to Soak into My Soul – scriptures and quotes and things I’ve read and discovered that I will dwell upon that feeds my heart and soul.
Being in touch with God is for me as important as breakfast, lunch and dinner. It takes directed attention onto God and off of me. At night before I sleep I go through my blessings – the night my brother died the last thing I did for him was bless him and his children and it may have been at the hour of his death – someday I’ll know. Knowing I did that was my great comfort after his death.
Jesus You are altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me that’s why I sing; crown Him, crown Him, crown Him, yes crown Him Lord of all. Father I adore You and I lay my life before You – oh how I love You. Spirit I adore You and I lay my life before You – oh how I love You. Jesus I adore You and I lay my life before You – oh how I love You. Those are the words to one of the songs I sing many times throughout the day to God.
I talk to God as if God were my very best friend and yet as One who is Ruler of all that is. I do it with great respect and love – as if I’m in the arms of One who could crush me at any moment but One who will tenderly hold me and love me as I’ve never been loved before. As Jesus used to say this God is indeed my Abba Father. I’ve discovered that the more I focus my thoughts on God the easier it is to be in touch with God and to enjoy my life.