Listening and learning

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Words linger on in receptive minds and hearts. They outlive the moment of their birth.

Whether written, spoken or sung, soul utterances speak soul-deep and can have eternal meaning and resonance.

Though some have a bitter taste (perhaps when correction is required?), others express sweetness learnt in the dark places, the deep spaces where God speaks to those eager to hear from Him.

Last year, with ‘Listen’ as my #oneword365, was a time of more intentional listening for me as God drew me into closer communion with Him.

A period to perfect the art of listening… in theory, at least. A time to lean toward greater intimacy with the Lover of my soul.

Although, it is something I was already doing long before last year, and something I will continue to do for the rest of my life, always relying heavy on grace to show me the way.

How can we ever become so accustomed to God’s voice that we lose the wonder of being able to hear it?

How can I stop trying to catch those prayer whispers on the wind?

It’s a habit I would hate to grow out of. A way of life necessary as breathing.

So here I am, expressing oh so imperfectly in poetry, just a tiny taster of how precious it was, and still is, to attempt to hear from God.

‘Listening’

You whispered in the silence

of my waiting, watchful heart

It was hard at first to listen

but I was keen to make a start

My heart stilled expectantly

My soul sought to give You ear

My pen ready to savour

words of wisdom from You here

Sometimes I wrote hastily

so I didn’t miss a thing

Or waited for words to arrive

for the offering You would bring

I soon learnt I shouldn’t come

with an impatient, restless soul

Thought time spent in Your Presence

would restore and make me whole

Then as I went about my day

tuning my heart to hear

I found You spoke willingly

and I could sense You near

You have been training me

to pay attention, to heed

the soft whispers of Your voice

The soothing balm I truly need

As I go through the year ahead

I pray I’ll remember, hold dear

the things You have said

to guide, reveal, repair

And pass on Your wisdom

to other hungry hearts

who long for the messages

which Your voice imparts

©JoyLenton2015

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You may wonder what ‘word’ God has given me for 2015. However, it felt right to linger longer with listening for a while before letting it go as my main word to mull over.

And I’d like to encourage you to persevere in your own times of listening to God, to take opportunities you may have for a few minutes pausing in prayer, and ask Him to speak to you in the silence of your heart.

It can feel rather frustratingly like trying to find the right radio frequency at first, but that makes it all the more precious when you can ‘tune in’ and hear His voice, and it will get easier over time.

I hope to write a poem soon about my new #oneword365 it but you can read the big reveal over at ‘Words of Joy’ if you’re eager to know it now!

**Note** ~ I’m a bit late catching up with things after being  particularly unwell since Christmas, but I hope to pen poetry here as often as God gives me words to write and energy to share them. The poem above was actually written a few weeks ago, waiting for a moment such as this to air.  A rather belated ‘Happy New Year’ to you all! Thank you for your support throughout 2014. I really appreciate it. 🙂

The art of listening

Listening closely to how God is operating in our lives and the world around us has the potential to renew our minds, increase our joy, and help us to maintain an attitude of gratitude.

All this takes place as we record what we see, sense and hear through eyes, heart and spirit.

But in a world of chaos and noise we can struggle to hear Him.

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world” ~ C.S Lewis

As I attempt to put into operation my #oneword365 of ‘listen’, I know it will be a test and a challenge.

What helps you to listen to God’s voice? 

Please share in the comments below.

‘The art of listening’

Lord,

Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of words

where voices everywhere are clamouring to be heard

above all that’s really necessary as a life-belt for my soul.

And all it craves is to avoid sinking into despair and doubt

while being tossed about on waves of opinion and uncertainty.

For I’m slowly discovering that the art of listening

is a spiritual discipline akin to any other, requiring

great patience and humility, both of which

I sorely lack in my heart’s vocabulary.

So I find I am being thrown hard

on penitential knees in an effort

to find ways to serve and please You.

May I seek Your Presence, find wisdom and discern

as I listen, lean and learn to pay attention and to heed

the essence of all You are saying 

in a myriad of ways to me here ~ today.

And may I follow willingly, instead of going

mindlessly about my own way

©JoyLenton2014

 

Sensing His Presence

Come away for a while. Sink into a comfortable seat. Resist all rush and hurry. Rest your weary body. Ready yourself to receive from the Lord.

Breathe deep ~ be calm ~ find a place of stillness and peace.

God is with us ~ we are on holy ground.

Seeking the supernatural in the natural.

Experiencing the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Each time we make space for God’s glorious Presence, He enlarges our appetite for it ~ a holy hunger develops.

The new year could be a time ~ of deliberate listening ~ to those Holy echoes in mind and heart ~ whispers on the wind ~ as God imparts His life to us ~ in a journey without end.

In the awareness, attention is required, a stilling of the soul, a watching and waiting, every sense attuned and alert.

I have heard prayer whispers intermittently throughout this year, and they are speaking to me more as I re-read them.

Now I sense a call, not just to ‘Come’ and approach His throne of grace but to linger, lean hard, and listen… the word He has given me for 2014.

And the first thing to heed is how God makes Himself known to us in myriad ways as the poem below describes.

‘I AM’

I AM

earthquake and volcano’s fiery outpour

waves lapping gently on the shore

wind ripping leaves straight off the trees

the soft caress of a mid-summer breeze

Grey fog and mist obscuring the view

an irredescent-coloured rainbow hue

a wake-up trumpet’s strident sound

peace and stillness in the air around

I AM

The One who has tasted salty tears

brought joy and comfort to your years

stamped upon all your enemies and foes

walked Earth with sand beneath my toes

Who felt forsaken on the cross

as I defeated sin, death and loss

cried out in nail-pierced agony

to secure your forgiveness and set you free

I AM

The Lion of Judah’s victory roar

as I keep you safe for evermore

blood and water, Spirit and Life

to heal, restore and deliver from strife

Songs of praise without an end

your beloved and closest Friend

echoes throughout human history

whispers on the wind ~ Holy mystery

©JoyLenton2013

I would be honoured if you would join me in learning how to listen better to God in 2014 as I aim to keep a prayer journal, share ‘Prayer Whispers’ and poetic inspirations here and write longer blog posts about my discoveries on Words of Joy.

May you be filled with a sense of awe and wonder and be greatly blessed in seeking and sensing His Presence in the year ahead. You can also join in with #oneword365 here.

Happy New Year to you!