these are a few simple suggestions for people who are willing to make an experiment. you can discover for yourself the most important and practical thing any human being can ever learn: to be in touch with god.
all that is needed is the willingness to try it honestly. every person who has done this consistently and sincerely has found that it really works.
before you begin, look over these fundamental points. they are true and are based on the experiences of thousands of people.
1. god is alive. he always has been and alway will be.
2. god knows everything.
3. god can do anything.
4. god can be everywhere – all at the same time. (these are the important differences between us human beings and god)
5. god is invisible – we can’t see Him or touch Him – but, God is here. he is with you now. he is beside you. he surrounds you. he fills the room or the whole place where you are now. right now. he is in you now. he is in your heart.
6. god cares for you very much. he is interested in YOU. he has a plan for your life. he has an answer for every need and problem you face.
7. god will tell you all that you need to know. he will not always tell you all that you want to know.
8. god will help you do anything that he asks you to do.
9. anyone can be in touch with god, anywhere and at any time. if the conditions are followed:
– to be quiet
– to listen
– to be honest about every thought that comes
– to test the thoughts to be sure that they come from god
– to obey
so, with these basic elements as a background, here are specific suggestions on how to listen to god:
1. take time
find someplace and time where you can be alone, quiet and undisturbed. most people have found that early morning is the best time. have with you some paper and a pen
sit in a comfortable position. consciously relax all your muscles. be loose. there is no hurry. there needs to be no strain during these minutes. god cannot get through to us if we are tense and anxious about later responsibilities.
3. tune in
open your heart to god. either silently or aloud, just say to god in a natural way that you would like to find his plan for you and your life – you want his answer to a specific problem or situation you are facing now. be definite and specific in your request.
just be still, relaxed and open. let your mind go loose. let god do the talking. thoughts, ideas, and impressions will begin to come into your mind and heart. be alert and open to every one.
here is the important key to the whole process. write down everything that comes into your mind. everything. writing is simply a means of recording so that you can remember later. don’t sort or edit your thoughts at this point.
don’t say to yourself:
“this thought isn’t important”
“this is just an ordinary thought”
“this can’t be guidance”
“this isn’t nice”
“this can’t be from god”
“this is just me thinking”
write down everything that passes through your mind
names of people
things to do
things to say
things that are wrong and need to be made right
write down everything
good thoughts – bad thoughts
comfortable thoughts – uncomfortable thoughts
holy thoughts – unholy thoughts
sensible thoughts – crazy thoughts
be honest! write down everything. a thought comes quickly and it escapes even more quickly unless it is captured and put down.
when the flow of thoughts slow down, stop. take a good look at what you have written. not every thought comes from god. so we need to test our thoughts. here is where the written record helps us to be able to look at them.
a. are these thoughts completely honest, pure, unselfish and loving?
b. are these thoughts in line with our duties to our family, to our community?
c. are these thoughts in line with our understanding of the teachings found in our spiritual literature?
when in doubt and when it is important, what does another person who is living two-way prayer think about this thought or action? more light comes in through two windows than one. someone else who also wants god’s plan for our lives may help us to see more clearly.
talk over together what you have written. many people do this. they tell each other what guidance has come. this is the secret of unity. there are always three sides to every question – your side, my side and the right side. guidance shows us which is the right side – not who is right, but what is right.
carry out the thoughts that have come. you will only be sure of guidance as you move through it. a rudder will not guide a boat until the boat is moving. as you obey, very often the results will convince you that you are on the right track.
what if i don’t seem to get any definite thoughts? god’s guidance is as freely available as the air we breathe. if i am not receiving thoughts when i listen, the fault is not usually god’s/
usually it is because there is something i will not do:
– something wrong in my life that i will not face and make right
– a habit or indulgence i will not give up
– a person i will not forgive
– a wrong relationship in my life i will not give up
– a restitution i will not make
– something god has already told me that i will not obey
check out these points and be honest, then try listening again.
suppose i make a mistake and do something in the name of god that isn’t right? of course we will make mistakes. we are humans with many faults. we accept that mistakes will probably happen, and we trust that our higher power is capable of speaking to us in spite of them.
finally – take some time to reflect on your experience, quietly, and as undistracted as possible. Thank God for what he has shared with you, and remember that his message may not be clear immediately. Trust that his timing is perfect.