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Tuning Into God

Author: Duncan Mitchell

Picture:Kim Stiver, Pexels

Tuning Into God

With 24 hour news, relentless chat on social media, iPhones and the internet, how do we hear the still, small voice of God? Duncan Mitchell explores how God speaks through the Bible.

‘The word of God is something alive and active’ (Hebrews 4:12). I experienced something of the truth of this promise when some years ago, at quite a young age, I suffered a minor stroke. In retrospect, it was not very serious, but at the time, with a distraught family around me, it was a big deal.

As I was strapped to a stretcher, feeling very disorientated and unwell in the local A&E department, the following words from the Bible came into my mind: ‘I shall not die, but live and recount the works of the Lord’ (Psalm 118:17).

It was immensely comforting. From all the difficulty and chaos of my situation, this gave me the hope and knowledge that I was in God’s care: from that moment I experienced no more worry and recovered my health.

The Bible is able to bring us into God’s presence, into life and wholeness.

Difficult To Hear God's Voice

However, for many of us, it is difficult to hear God’s voice or experience much sense of His presence in our lives.

Part of the problem in tuning into God lies in having to tune out of so many other noises. Often we find ourselves caught up in the routine of work and study responsibilities, commitments to family and friends.

Our free time can easily be swallowed up by the constant traffic of social media and our need to stay connected. Yet, without a connection to God, our lives risk becoming diminished and all our hard work will not bear the fruit that it could do if only we were more in tune with God.

This is where the Bible can really help. It is difficult, if not impossible, to have a relationship with someone you don’t know and whose language you don’t speak.

The Bible reveals God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and tells of God’s love and desire for us. It shows how merciful God is when we sin and fall away from Him.

The Bible Helps Our Relationship with God

We find a language with which to speak to God about what is going on around us and in the depths of our hearts. This language can develop and our relationship with God can grow when we pray using the Bible. The Church calls this approach Lectio Divina (literally “divine reading.”)

I have found this really powerful in my own journey of faith and want to outline some suggestions that may help.

·         Make a realistic time commitment– something you can commit to daily. (I started with 15 minutes after work once I was home and all the chores had been done). Once you have consistently managed this-for at least a few months- you can increase the time as appropriate.

·         Find a place where you are least likely to be disturbed.

·         Read a short passage from the Bible (perhaps the Gospel of the Day; a parable from the New Testament, a Psalm). Read it carefully. Note what affect it has on your thoughts, emotions, imagination and desires and speak to God about this. Try and have some time for silence at the end.

·         Distractions are common-don’t be discouraged. When they arise, feel free to return to your Bible passage and then resume praying.

·         It can be good to make a resolution or a decision for that day at the end of your prayer time.

·         Find a Bible you understand and enjoy reading.

Some Resources

For more information on Lectio Divina: www.biblesociety.org.uk/explore-the-bible/lectio-divina/; http://www.wednesdayword.org/sunday-gospel.htm; CTS (Catholic Truth Society) for printed materials, www.ctsbooks.org/lectiodivina

For prayer whilst travelling/commuting: www.pray-as-you-go.org

For more information on Bibles in English and other languages, including Catholic Editions, which have some additional books and texts in the Old Testament not found in Protestant versions: www.biblegateway.com

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