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By Pastor Cory Swinderman, Chrisman Church of the Nazarene
Perhaps you too have been there. Someone is talking to you, but they do not have your full attention. Your mind is on a project, a problem, or a situation far away. You believe you are “multitasking,” but you aren’t doing a very good job of it. You hear bits and pieces of their message, but you are glad you are not taking a test on what they are saying. You would fail that test, even if it was multiple choice.
You don’t hear them. You are too busy to listen.
“Our pace impacts how we hear anyone who is speaking to us” (Harney, p. 85). In her book, Praying with Eyes Wide Open, Sherry Harney shares the following example:
Imagine you have a friend standing along the side of a street trying to communicate with you. You are driving down that street at 55 mph. It would not matter if your friend whispered, spoke, or yelled their message as you zoomed by. You would not hear it.
Imagine you drove by at 25 mph with your windows rolled down. You might hear something, but it would be hard to understand more than a word or two.
Now imagine you road your bike by that same friend. You would hear a small piece of the message.
Finally imagine you walked by your friend. Your slower speed would allow you to pick up even more of the message.
By this time, your friend may wonder whether they want to share this message with you at all. After all, she’s said it four times, and you haven’t seemed very interested in your car and on your bike. The best kind of friend is one who stops long enough to hear all that you have to say.
Harney connects this example with prayer. “There is something about the sheer speed of a busy heart and life that makes listening prayer difficult… As we learn to slow down, to be quiet, and to listen, we hear God more often and with greater clarity” (p. 85).
God has very important things to share with us, but the pace of our lives and busyness of our minds make hearing his voice problematic. In those moments when we really want to hear what God has to say, we might ask God to talk louder. If we are honest, we are probably living life in a fast lane, unaware of even his loudest voice.
He desires to speak to us in crystal-clear clarity. He loves us, and longs to spend time with us. He longs to be our Father and friend.
If it’s been a while since you heard a word from him, reconsider the pace of your life and the pace of your prayers. Pull over and stop. Take time to quiet your mind, anxieties, and personal agendas. It might take minutes, and it might take longer. Ask him what you’ve been missing, and what he wants to say to you.
The time it takes to hear from the God who loved you first and loves you best is never time that is wasted.