My Great Shift in my Life with God
Here’s where I found myself years ago. Can you identify with any of these?
- Praying dry boring prayers
- Longing for a deep, intimate relationship with God
- Feeling empty after trying to do the right things, to pray & to study Scripture
- Being open to God speaking direction and purpose into my life, but never sure I was hearing God.
A shift occurred as mechanical prayers were replaced with true interaction with God. I moved into a conversational life with God that is adventurous and full of surprises. This happened as I began experimenting with contemplative prayer and a meditative approach to Scripture.
Contemplative prayer is about being with God and listening for God’s input whenever God may choose to speak. We no longer ask God to do things for us but we enjoy God for God’s own self. We assume that because knows what is best, God is willing to help us move into a place where we are ready to do that. We no longer have to try to be what we are not; the Spirit does the heavy lifting and we join in.
Typically contemplative prayer involves listening not just talking, asking questions not just suggesting answers. In doing so, God brings us around to the “mind of Christ” about relationships, finances, health, service. With this approach, we are more likely to experience the Trinity’s unshakable love as well as challenges and nudges to move forward in shared mission.
Because of this enormous shift in my life, I am so pleased that NavPress asked me to enlarge and expand my book When the Soul Listens. I refined and added a great deal I’ve learned in the intermittent 20 years of life with God, with students, and with directees in my work as a spiritual director. What fun! Here’s what’s new in this edition:
- Living an interactive life with God—moving from a mechanical approach to a relational approach
- Life with God as a partner in adventure, not just using God as a problem solver
- Details about the “committee that lives in your head” and how that trips us up
- Praying requests in a contemplative, conversational way
- Simple exercises at the end of each chapter to experiment with practices
- Questions for discussion so this can be done more easily in a group
(Available now, free shipping for the month of July)
If you’d like to walk out how to do contemplative prayer, you can read a short article about it: No Better Place To Be than With God. Even better, you can join others in discussion and practice in a 4-week online course on contemplative prayer offered by Contemplative Journal, which is a website/online magazine/sponsor of online courses. Based on When the Soul Listens, each week includes 2 short talks (Mon/Wed) and 2 simple practices (Tue/Thu). Participants share on a private webpage.
- Why Contemplative Prayer?
- Contemplative Prayer: Rooted in Truth (Scripture)
- Why Contemplative Prayer Is Not Boring
- What You Can Expect to Hear from God
- False Narratives to Watch Out For
- How Contemplative Prayer Changes How We Ask God for Things in Prayer
- Getting Started in Contemplative Prayer
- Experiments with Solitude & Silence
- Journaling as Conversation with God
- Naming your Committee Members
- Asking God Questions
One reason I’m excited about partnering with Contemplative Journal is that it reaches a wide audience of general seekers of God. I’m praying for participants, knowing that many might be new to the idea of having an interactive life with the Christian Trinity named in Scripture. Being salt and light in the middle of the world jazzes me! So if you join us, expect to interact with and love all kinds of folks. Register Here
Grace and peace,
© Jan Johnson – For permission to reprint, Click Here