“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” (1 Sm 3:10)
My mom used to say, “God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we talk.” The older I get, the more I realize I need to put her wise words into practice. I’m often guilty of half listening and double-talking, and that bad habit even spills into my relationship with God, the Father. When I get tangled up in my plans or worries, my prayer is more like, “Listen, Lord, your servant is speaking,” instead of the other way around.
When we face frustration and disappointment, it can seem like God isn’t listening. And when we’re in the middle of struggle and strife, we can feel abandoned and ignored by the Father. The good news is that as we grow in discipleship, we learn that the opposite is true. The Father speaks to his children all the time, but he doesn’t speak the language of the world. He doesn’t speak about position, pride, possession or prestige like the world does. He speaks love, he speaks peace and he speaks mercy. In an attempt to help us slow down and focus on his infinite love, he often whispers, and unless we’re familiar with the sound of his voice, we will miss his words.
God has a perfect plan for each of us, and he promises to reveal that plan one little piece at a time. If we begin each new day inviting Jesus into our schedules, our friendships, our parenting, our marriages, our jobs and our very lives, he will make our path clear. If we embrace the role of listening servant and trust in his wisdom and love, instead of trying to do his job for him with our own planning and organizing, we will find his way is always better and the path will always be filled with his grace.
Pray every day: Spend some time each day praising God and thanking him for the places you have seen him guiding and directing you. Pay special attention to those things that just seemed to “fall into place,” and recognize them as God’s loving touch to your day.
Study the faith: Read something about prayer. Read an article or a book, watch a video or listen to a podcast and learn something to help you be still and listen to the Father’s voice. I recommend God, Help Me; How to Grow in Prayer by Jim Beckman
Engage in parish life: Find one new prayer activity to participate in at your parish. Join a rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet prayer group, attend eucharistic adoration, participate in a Bible Study or attend daily Mass.
Serve others’ needs: One of the disciplines of Lent is fasting. Does your parish participate in Operation Rice Bowl? Your fasting can be combined with almsgiving to make a difference to brothers and sisters in need.