Thursday, 14 November 2013

Prayer Arrows: Listen

The Arrow Prayers are ©2000 Kay and Steve Morgan-Gurr. 
Art work is by Neil Crook


Lots of Arrows that point in. 

Prayer isn't just about talking... It's listening too.
We should try to 'hear' what God is saying to us today, and give time for His word (The Bible) to sink in.

1 Samuel 3:8-9 (TLB)
So now the Lord called the third time, and once more Samuel jumped up and ran to Eli.
“Yes?” he asked. “What do you need?”
Then Eli realised it was the Lord who had spoken to the child. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if he calls again, say, ‘Yes, Lord, I’m listening.’”
So Samuel went back to bed.

What we are aiming to do with this arrow is create the habit of being still for a moment, to reflect and give the Holy Spirit a chance to do what He does rather than giving a breathless 'shopping list' and then running away. Stillness is rare in today's world - especially in prayer!

When I do this prayer with children I often joke that this is the bit of prayer that grown ups are not very good at!

It's a scary one to do with children, but you can do it with almost any prayer station, as many of them require the children to think - to meditate.

There is a fashion for emptying the mind and seeing what drops in - personally I think approaching 'listening to God' like this can be dangerous.

I prefer the listening bit of prayer to be in response to something we have learnt, read or heard. Some would say that if we guide we don't give the Holy Spirit room...... Well, I'm please to say that the Holy Spirit is bigger than that and works beyond what is in the human mind. I am convinced it is better and wiser to start with something of God in our minds than with nothing.

Some folk will find this scary - "What if God doesn't speak?"

Well - to start with, we need to be careful in how we explain this. How does God speak? It can be in many ways - it can be in an audible voice, but that is rare. Often it's something that stands out in our minds from what we have heard, and as we meditate on it, we can be comforted or challenged etc

We also need to be careful to teach the children about measuring what we 'hear' alongside the Bible and talking to trusted Christians.

When we do this as a specific activity I make it clear that not everyone will hear something at that moment, but that it's good to take the time to listen. We use music, a phrase from what we have learnt that day, a Bible verse or a specific aspect of God to reflect on. We have been amazed at the response from some of the children - it's worth a go!

How do you do the stillness and listening part of prayer? It's one I'm still trying to master - a fibro brain doesn't lend itself to stillness!

Other Prayer Arrows can be found here:
(More coming over the next few days)

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