This week’s spiritual discipline is “listening.” Today’s blog is from the book Pause: The Secret to a Better Life One Word at a Time.

We talk to God. He listens. We read God’s Word. He speaks. Call it a relationship, a renewal. Call it real life. 

Most of us know we should pray. But most of us fail regularly to do so. When we hear stories of great prayer warriors, we feel worse. When we hear sermons about prayer’s worth, we feel defeated. God does not want to punish us for our lack of prayer. He invites us to fall in awe of Him, to honor Him, to adore Him, and to listen to Him. Prayer, genuine and consistent, will flow from such beliefs. 

Staying prayerful means more than going through the motions. Communication with God includes many types of episodes. A private place and time, a group joining together, a drive down the road. Confession, Scripture reading, singing, bowing, walking, talking, writing prayers, and listening, listening, listening. 

Good habits are good if they are more than habits. Prayer surpasses putting in time or punching a clock. It must move from duty to delight. 

Familiarity breeds contempt, so the saying says. 

The Psalmist viewed things a little differently. He felt that as he learned more about God, he would have a greater desire to praise Him. More knowledge of God’s law would lead to more freedom in worship. 

Also, his praise would not be fake or ritualistic. It would not be “going through the motions.” His praise would not be an attempt to cover up his sin. He would praise God and mean it. In Spirit and in truth. With an upright, honest, sincere, single-purpose heart he would praise God. 

How can a person develop such a life of praise? By learning God’s “righteous laws.” A life dedicated to learning—from the heart as well as the head—God’s righteous laws is a life that praises God, a life that praises the righteous God from a righteous heart.

 And, if prayer is an ongoing relational conversation instead of just a duty or task, it can really be a lifestyle that never ends. 

REFLECT: 1. Why is it easier to pray by talking to God instead of listening to God? 2. How can we “hear from God”? 3. What stops us from developing a conversational relationship with our Divine Lover? 

RECEIVE: “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice” (Proverbs 12: 15). “If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear” (Mark 4: 23). “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching” (1 Timothy 4: 13). 

RESPOND: Think about this: two eyes, two ears, one mouth. Maybe we could spend more time this week looking and listening—and observing God all around us—instead of doing all the talking ourselves as we pray.