christian silence, listening for God, meditation, sabbath | The Practical Disciple

Entering a Season of Listening


I haven’t posted much lately. In fact, I think I had a record stretch of about 10 days without posting. That’s not a record I would like to break. I made numerous false starts at posts and the words just would not come. Sermons were even harder. I opted not to post rather than contrive content. I try not to write unless my heart is in it and it truly feels inspired. That is a waste of my time and yours. A friend of mine suggested that perhaps I was out of words and noted the tremendous amount of content I have produced throughout the year. She said, “May be it’s a time for listening.” Those words resonated deeply within me.
I have been living in a season of producing. I won’t bore you with the numbers of posts, sermons, talks, videos, ezine articles, etc. that I have cranked out in the last few months. Suffice it to say, it’s been voluminous now that I reflect on it. I think God is calling me into a season of listening. I have dominated too much of the conversation, so I am growing anemic on what to share. So what do I mean by a ‘season of listening?’


I am going to spend some blocks of three or four hours where I wander and pray with the emphasis being on predominantly listening. Since moving here two years ago, I have never really establish an outdoor sit spot where I go for prayer and observation. This has always been one of my anchor points with God. I need to reestablish a place and a pattern for my half day personal Sabbaths.

Journaling on the Word

My scripture reading is going to shift more towards lectio divina, which is a prayerful way of listening to God through the scriptures. I will journal my observations/interactions with God. This tends to make me more mindfully present to God in general.

Centering Prayer

Centering prayer is an old tradition of listening to God that is very contemplative. I am not going to commit to a daily discipline of centering at this time, but will be leaning on God through it with some frequency. Few things ground me more deeply in God than centering prayer.

Does this mean I will be posting less?

I don’t think so. In fact, seasons of listening are often times great times of inspiration. Ironically, I may find myself posting more. We will see.

What season are you in and what does it require of you?

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  • Hi John,

    You have certainly produced a large volume of very practical tips and resources, far more than I could hope to internalize at once, so I’m trying one thing at a time. Don’t forget that your readers need time to take it all in, too. You have given us much to think about! Currently, this site alone can provide enough material to guide me through five or ten years of discipleship. It’s okay to slow down and let us catch up! 🙂

    What season am I in? Spring training, so to speak. I am studying Christian Ministry full time through Sterling College. Right now I’m on information overload. This week I finished up a whirlwind course on worship theology, which was mainly focused on Reformed worship and Robert Webber’s four-fold model, but we also learned a great deal about the history and theology of worship in all traditions and styles including liturgical, traditional, charismatic, contemporary, seeker services, and the emerging church–five credit hours of material all in seven weeks! My Christian education class starts next week, and I’ve hardly had time to reflect on what I learned from the last one. I would give anything to sit under a tree right now and just listen. What am I supposed to do with all this information, God?

    Cheryl Allison 8 years ago

  • Thanks for this post, John. When your meditations are such a gift, I think it’s wise to allow for silence rather than putting up something that’s forced or contrived. That authenticity honors what you’re doing and keeps your work of great value.

    And I like the idea of taking a mini-sabbatical. I rarely give myself permission to do that, so when I really need a rest I’ll often fritter away time rather than granting myself the kind of restorative break that I need. I appreciate the reminder!

    Susan C Brown 8 years ago

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