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Listening Prayer


Come to help me, for the multitude of my inveterate sins have made dense my too guilty heart; they have bent me, perverted me, have blinded me, have twisted me and withered me...

  - Litany of Confession, Associated with Clonmacnoise (Irish, 15th century)

O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me. There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation...

  - Psalm 38.1-3

Both the Old Testament and New exhort believers to maintain an active self-watch, to pay attention to what's going on in their souls and lives in order to make certain they are keeping to the path of righteousness and not about to fall through some temptation into sin and the discipline of the Lord.

An effective self-watch begins in prayer. The various Irish liturgies that have survived from the Middle Ages were written down late. They were crafted for private devotional use but were made available for others as resources for spiritual growth.

Our Litany of Confession appeals to the Lord to search the soul of the penitent and root out whatever has lodged there and is making him feel so wretched. This is an example of what I would call "listening prayer," prayer in which we talk to the Lord, but spend as much time "listening" for the prompting of His Spirit to search us inside and out in order to bring to light any lingering sins of which we should repent.

Ideally, all our prayers should include a listening component. After all, who wants to be in the presence of someone who only talks about himself and his needs and wants, and then excuses himself with an abrupt, "Amen", when he's said all he intends to say?

If we can learn to listen for the Lord in our prayers, we might be able to learn some new things about what's going on inside us. We might realize there are hidden fears, doubts, and worse that we've never dealt with, and that these are robbing us of the joy of our salvation and of the sweet fellowship of the Lord.

So in your prayers make listening for the Lord at least - if not more - important than whatever you might have to say to Him. Wait on the Lord, and listen for His Spirit to speak in a still, small voice within your soul. Such a continuous self-watch will do more for your spiritual growth than just about anything you might do.

Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe

Does psychology actually work? And if so, how? Today's ReVision reflects on these questions and offers some common sense answers.

May I suggest you get a copy of The Mind Set on the Spirit from our bookstore and discover what it means for you to be able to think like Jesus? This is an awesome privilege and endowment, but most believers make very little of it. Here's an opportunity for you to change that.

Pastor, how's your spiritual life? Would you like an opportunity to discover where you stand in relation to key aspects of growing in the Lord? And then to do something about it? Sign up or write for more information about our mentoring course, Practicing the Kingship of Jesus, Part 1. Here are presentations, tools, and a real live mentor to help you make strides in your spiritual life.

And don't forget to download your free copy of To Number Our Days - an introduction to a Biblical view of time, and how to begin getting more out of it. Free at the website.

Thanks for keeping us in your prayers. Your gifts are welcome and appreciated, as are your prayer requests, questions, and concerns.

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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