I get asked this often....
How do you practice hearing God's voice?
Well, the obvious answer is just that - I practice! The more I practice paying attention to God's activity in my life, the more familiar it becomes to notice when something is of God or is not of God. One of the regular tools I use to reflect on God's activity in my own life - and therefore hear God's voice - is the ancient Prayer of Examen.
St. Ignatius of Loyola led his followers in this prayer and invited them to practice it twice daily. While I typically practice in the evenings, it is a very helpful tool in my soul care tool box.
Ignation spirituality invites us into this ancient prayer practice of noticing God on our journey through gratitude, consolation, and desolation. We then bring our prayers before God. The Prayer of Examen is as powerful today as it was hundreds of years ago for the Jesuits. Why not try it for yourself? Use the prompts below and find a quiet place to listen to the guided version below. Make this prayer your own and discover what God invites you to hear today!
Here's my simple key for my daily reflection:
Up Arrow: When did I feel close to God today (a moment of consolation)?
Down Arrow: When did I feel far away from God today (a moment of desolation)?
Smiley Face: What moment am I most grateful for today?
Heart: What is the prayer of my heart, for what would I like to pray to God about from today? (Note: this may be something already named from the day, or something entirely different)
Help us open our eyes and our hearts this day to notice you.
We long to sense your goodness amidst the ashes and the despair of this world.
It isn't easy to slow down long enough to hear your whisper in the wind, notice your goodness in the buds on the trees, or glimpse your face in the smile of another.
Allow us to move away from what is easy through the noise, distraction, and overwhelm of this world.
Instead, remind us to lean into your presence around us through praise, quiet prayer, and contemplation this Lenten season.
The ashes remain but we can find your beauty amidst them, if we look.
This week, a neighbor asked me to borrow an egg...and I was giddy. Sound ridiculous? Maybe so, but this simple act offered me an opportunity to respond to a question I've been pondering, how can I be a good neighbor?
As a kid, I grew up in a small town where our family knew lots of people. But, we moved homes within our zip code fairly often. So we didn't often develop relationships with those living next door. We rarely got asked to borrow an egg, or watch a neighbor's pet, or grab their mail.
To be a good neighbor, we don't have to become "best friends" with every person next door but we do need to have relationships that offer neighborly love. What is neighborly love and how do we show it? It starts with being kind.
Over and over again, scripture tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. The Bible gives us many tips on what it means to be a neighbor. It is a privilege to support and build up our neighbors, whether by dropping off an egg, offering a listening ear, or saying a purposeful prayer.
Romans 15:2 in the Common English Bible says this, "Each of us should please our neighbors for their good in order to build them up." If you're unsure how to do that, maybe you could ask? Pray this prayer simple prayer (or some form of your own prayer) today:
God, show me how to be a good neighbor. Give me an opportunity to respond with kindness to a need I can supply and help me build up those around me.
How do you build up your neighbors?
How has a neighbor supported you over the years with kindness?
It may not always be as easy as a dropping off an egg. God may stretch you to be a good neighbor and you may never know how your care and kindness impacts another. I sense the need to end this post with a Mr. Rogers quote. After all, Mr. Rogers is the ultimate neighbor!
“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” Mr. Rogers
Be kind to a neighbor this week. If you'd like some companionship in praying for your neighbors with a walking meditation, listen to this episode of the podcast.
Whitney R. Simpson
Click to connect:
Content @ 2010-2023
Whitney R. Simpson
Exploring Peace Ministries, LLC