Listening and Following: Part Two

Post by Chris Hartenstein
Last week, we talked about the importance of listening and following our heavenly Father, using Jesus' life as our example. Through intimately listening and following, God gives us all we need to live life to the full on this earth. With this in mind, we left you with a question, "Do you take the time to intentionally listen to your heavenly Dad's voice?" No matter what your answer is, we want to give you a practical exercise to try on your journey of learning to listen and follow.
        Following Jesus' example, the first step in listening is finding a space where you can calm your heart to listen to your Father. In Scripture, we see Jesus repeatedly retreat to be in communion with His Dad. He finds a quiet place and slows down his pace to be present. Even before he is arrested and crucified, he spends time alone with the Father (Matthew 26:36-56). He goes to his Father, distressed, and shares his heart, asking for his Father to take away the coming wrath. He must hear his Father's voice because Jesus does not resist arrest but continues with the plan established by his Father to redeem mankind. We have this safe place of communion offered to us as well, but we need to take time to give our heavenly Dad our full attention daily.

Now for the practical steps, we encourage you to carve out fifteen minutes a day to spend in silence with your Dad to do the following:
  1. Close your eyes and sit with your hands down on your lap, facing the floor. Take some time, releasing anything that is distracting or heavy on your mind and heart. Give it to your Dad! He cares!
  2. Face your hands up and spend some time asking these questions and listen: "What do you have for me today, Dad? What do you have for me to do with you today? Is there anyone you want me to interact with?"
  3. After spending time listening, write down what you heard and what you experienced in a journal.  
We hope and pray that sharing this exercise with you gives you a repeatable, practical way of listening for your Father's voice. Spending regular time with your heavenly Father is a spiritual discipline. Make sure you give yourself grace if you do not hear anything or struggle to calm your heart. This practice is a tool to build a relationship with your heavenly Dad. It's not a test or a task to pass or accomplish. If you find yourself discouraged or frustrated, share this with your Dad. He wants you to hear Him; He will give you what you need to be present.
    Remember, this is a learned skill just like any other- it takes "spiritual muscle memory" to flourish. Stay at it! Don't give up, and press ahead. This exercise is only one of many tools to help you listen and follow. Please reach out to us if you are using this tool, and it's not feeling suitable for how God wired you. He designed everyone uniquely, and we desire to help equip you on your journey!

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