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Learning to Pay Attention

Posted on March 20th, 2015

I crossed an important threshold last Sunday.

In my sermon on Psalm 23, I called our people to practice five minutes of silence/stillness before the Lord each day (i.e. Centering Prayer).

I was clear, unapologetic, and passionate. Why? I am absolutely convinced that unless we help our people encounter God through Scripture and silence, it is virtually impossible for them to grow spiritually.

Psalm 23 is a brilliant text, reminding us that we are sheep, unable to find safe pastures, discover good waters, rest without guidance, and defend ourselves. We are weak and vulnerable. Let me invite you to watch the message on YouTube or listen to it on audio.

imagesWe must acknowledge the tragic reality that most of our people are living off other people’s spirituality and not developing their personal relationship with Jesus. The two minutes of silence to which we call our people in The EHS Course and a Daily Office tool (Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day) is a good start but not nearly enough.

I spend 20 minutes every morning in Centering Prayer before God as part of my morning prayer. (My phone serves as my timer). Other times of silence inform my Midday and Evening prayer times. I cannot imagine life with God without it. Because of the well-documented, massive research around how people are transformed through silence, secular “mindfulness” organizations routinely call people to five to twenty-five minutes of meditation daily. They do it without God, yet it was Him who created it as a key means of our transformation. We must recapture that gift.

Learning the discipline of paying attention is a necessary muscle for prayer and the Christian life (See Simon Weil’s excellent Waiting for God). Let’s be courageous and call our people to develop that muscle for their sake and for the sake of our world that so desperately needs the love of Jesus.

“More gray matter in their pre-frontal cortex as well as other regions of the brain that support self-awareness.”



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