Listen (by Christine Maddern)

This Lent I intend to spend more time praying and less time rushing. 

My normal mode of prayer, I’m ashamed to say, is to ask God for help for myself and others. This is at odd moments, or in church, and is often just a list. I feel that this is unsatisfactory and ineffective, but the dilemma is: how do I really engage with God?

I asked the advice of a senior member of my church who for many years led the intercessions both publicly and privately. This was his response:

‘We don’t hear God because we don’t listen. Make a quiet space in your life for just 10 minutes a day to start with. It should be at the same time each day. Ask God to give you the gift of his Holy Spirit, to teach you to be quiet, and to listen for His word. Empty your mind of yourself and listen in the silence and stillness. He will speak to you. Hear Him.’

I then remembered Lent 1976, when I withdrew from social activities until Easter and spent all my free time listening to God. The peace was immense and I have never felt so loved. It’s a bit more difficult to do that these days, but who knows where small steps will lead?

I’m writing this on Ash Wednesday and will be endeavouring to follow my mentor’s advice over Lent. You might like to try it out too.

Christine has been attending Stewards Trust house parties over the past four years. She was trained by USPG in mission for South India but didn’t get as far south-east as hoped, her next mission being in Cambridge, in a church community for young singles. After many adventures she has retired to the Yorkshire Dales.