Work and Rest

A Practical Guide to Hearing From God

Nick DeCola

Daily Office To-Do List:

1. Slow/Stop/Still: Sit comfortably, feet on the floor and breathe from your belly. Take several slow breaths just to quiet your body. Ask God to meet you during this time.

2. Focus:
Read a small portion of Scripture. This isn’t the time to check your concordance. Rather, read a few verses slowly, maybe several times over, inviting the Holy Spirit to penetrate your heart with God’s Word. Some suggested passages to get you started: Psalm 63:1-5; Isaiah 30:15-18; Luke 10:38-42; John 1:1-4.

3. Silence:
After reading the verse or passage, sit silently with God. You’ll find this difficult, especially at first, because our minds so easily wander. That’s okay. As you become aware of your meanderings, simply refocus your attention, asking God to speak to you and meet you.

4. Pray:
This isn’t the time to pull out your prayer list. Rather, respond to the Lord as your heart leads. Express gratitude, reframe something in your life with a fresh perspective, consider having a hard conversation. The possibilities are endless as you learn to discern God’s voice and respond to His direction.

We live life at high speed. Often, we don’t realize how our frenetic pace can influence us. Though technology can benefit us, it can also create noise that makes meeting with God, and hearing from Him, next to impossible.

Our world, and perhaps our churches, place a high value on how busy we are, as if the winner in the “who’s busiest” sweepstakes gets to wear the badge of honor. On the other hand, we can hear messages that implore us to slow down, simplify and make time for the important things in life, such as spending time with God and our family.

It doesn’t take a keen observer to conclude that the former often wins. As much as we may try to slow down and relax, even our leisure often occurs at a breakneck place. We intellectually assent to the need to rest and recharge, but doing so can prove elusive.

While fighting the busyness beast can occur on many battle fronts, I want to highlight one simple exercise that, if practiced consistently, will help bring order to your soul and help you connect with God in the midst of your daily demands.

The “Daily Office” is a simple, focused, practice in which we set aside time during the day to encounter God. Regardless of our roles in life – harried mom, plumber, teacher, engineer – we can implement this discipline.

I’d recommend starting with a 10-minute chunk of time, perhaps during mid-day or at lunch.

Break up this time into the four parts you see in the sidebar. Remember the goal isn’t to get something from God, but rather to spend time with God.

This isn’t about some agenda, but simply moving into the Lord’s invitation to “be still, and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10.  

As you become accustomed to taking the time to slow down with God, you can adapt the elements, duration and time of the day to suit your needs. The “Daily Office” can even be practiced several times a day.

If you want more information, you can order a copy of the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Day by Day by Peter Scazzero. In it you’ll find a more detailed description of the “Daily Office” and a 40-day guide, with Scriptures, meditations and prompt questions.

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