We get inquiries at My Spiritual Advisor all the time about how to deepen the spiritual life. Often times, people ask how to pray or how they can hear God more clearly. According to statista.com, there were almost 968 million smart phones sold in 2015 alone. Imagine all the emails, text messages, snap messages, videos, tweets (c), and other information that was pinging, ringing, buzzing, and whistling! That is a lot of distraction. It is no wonder that we cannot hear God clearly.
- Be Yourself: Sing, or whatever you do well during your prayer time. God made you. Why would you not incorporate your ability to sing, play a musical instrument, write, paint, draw, be crafty, or whatever else it is you do well? There have been innumerable times I have asked people who sing what they sing to God during their prayer time only to have them ask, “I can do that?” YES! It is much more personal to incorporate your skill into your prayer time as an intimate offering to God. God wants intimacy with you, so have at it.
- Be Still…and know that I am God, says the scriptures. We know God when we can still ourselves. Most often this is when we actually are still, but since I have started running, I have a different view of this practice of stillness. On days that I cannot focus on my prayer and meditation sitting, I often can on a long run. Stillness, is stillness of the mind and soul. What is important is for you to have an open ear to God. Sit and deep breathe. Run and meditate as you breathe. Walk and turn off the headphones. I recommend both stillness in activity as a receptiveness to hear God and stillness in sitting.
- Clear the Clutter. Turn off one of those 978 million cell phones, go somewhere away from your desk, write down everything that could enter your mind: your to do list, your wish list, your dreams, whatever it is. What you don’t want is to being thinking of something else when you are supposed to be listening to God. God is speaking, but can we even hear, let alone listen. So, clear the clutter for your appointment.
- Keep Appointments. God is a person, a spiritual being. He ought to be respected. So prayer and meditation can be, and should be, at a designated time of day. Make an appointment and don’t let anyone else take that time away from you. “Oh, I am sorry. I have another appointment at that time.” You shouldn’t reveal with whom your meeting anyway, so why must you tell them you are meeting with God. God loves you. He wants to be with you. So, keep your appointments.
- Get Help. For millenia, there have been guides who have focused their life on the spiritual life. They have battled in the desert with evil. They have been consoled by the Spirit in the worst of circumstances. They have studied. They have dedicated their lives to prayer, fasting, reading, loving. They know about life and know about the spiritual life. Their practice is to help you more fully live a spiritual life. They are called Spiritual Directors and they are here to help you. So, contact a spiritual director right now.