Listening for Divine Guidance — now that you think it might be possible?
September 25, 2017
by Molly Wingate
Listening for Divine Guidance becomes a way of life, but it may not start out that way. If you have earnestly and openly considered whether Divine Guidance is a possibility and you think there’s a chance, then you are ready to build in some practices that might then become habits. Here are a few that can help.
Act as if.
Act as if you are ready at any moment to hear some Divine Guidance. Keep your mind as clear and calm as you can. Be alert to new ideas or thoughts. Note if something catches your attention as you go through your day. Work to have a conscious connection with the Divine – however you think of that. You can also either meditate or/and pray as you go through your day or in a special time.
Acting is if Divine Guidance is possible may feel a bit silly at first. If you can get used to being a little silly, at the very least you will have more chuckles if not out loud laughter in your life. I find that God has quite a sense of humor and of timing.
Read scripture, theology or even spiritual blogs.
Intentional reading puts you in the way of spiritual ideas. When you take the time to consider scriptures or other religious texts, whether you agree with them or not, you open up those parts of your heart and mind that are touched by spiritual ideas. By taking the time to select a text and a place to read, you prepare your mind. You throw wide open the doorway for Divine Guidance to come in and for you to step out of your ordinary way of being.
Many Quakers read far and wide in religious texts in addition to the Christian Bible. Read what catches your eye, reread familiar texts, perhaps someone you know would be interested in discussing with you what you find.
Worship with others.
How else can you can hear their messages? This listening for Divine Guidance work doesn’t have to be solitary. Listen and worship with a community. You can attend regular religious services or study groups. You can become part of a prayer group. Just try to not go it alone.
Quakers do this during Meeting for Worship. We sit in silence together, awaiting a leading from God to speak. Sometimes no one is moved to speak; other times several people are. But we are all listening. Attentively. Openly. We have faith that the Divine will move the right person to carry a message and that those who need to hear it will understand it. Not everyone is a ready for this sort of discipline – I get it. But finding some kind of spiritual community to listen to and to share ideas with will provide inspiration for your own path and comfort when you don’t think God is talking to you. Often it is through someone else that I hear the Divine.
Have faith in the process.
Having faith in the process of listening will get you through the times when you are not sure that Divine Guidance is available to you or when you are just confused. Have faith that listening is going to be helpful and that opening your heart and mind is going to help you listen. You don’t have to be sure of anything else – like who or what you are listening for, what form the message is going to take, what you are going to do with the messages if and when you received them. Just trust that the process of listening is going to lead you somewhere useful. That is all you need for now.
I recently told a friend that I have never lived so faithful a life before. By that I mean that I have never before listened so carefully for Divine Guidance, talked so much with Friends and friends about the guidance I think I am getting, or worked so hard to follow the guidance. I have not been relieved of my responsibilities in life nor have I been relieved of the worry I have about the outcomes of my decisions and actions. I have just been completely willing to listen and follow this path as best I can. Quakers call it following the Light – I think they forgot to mention the shadows!
My faith in the process interrupts my train of thought when I am worrying about something two or three weeks away. Faith quiets my nerves when I remember some of the laughable things I’ve done and experienced on this path. This faith reminds me to stay in this moment and do the best I can with it. And the reminder to stay in the moment, for me, is in itself Divine Guidance.
“Luck favors the better player” applies to listening for guidance. If you simply hope that Divine Guidance comes your way when you need it. Well, it may. But if you want to develop a habit of listening for the Divine, then preparing yourself and creating the opportunity for hearing will aid you in your process. Talking with others and seeking discernment will help you know what to do with what you hear.
photo: CC by 2.0 by sara.lauderdale