when it's quiet

Listening is highly underrated in my life. I myself hardly ever practice it. I am quick to speak, to joke, to answer. Slow, very slow at times, to listen. Shortly following many routine encounters during my day I kick myself for talking too much. My kids have to say my name several times to get my attention, sometimes literally saying, "MOM, I need to tell you something."

When I sit to pray I talk, ask, thank, lament, cry out. But rarely listen.

Gracious people offer up excuses. "It's got to be hard with so many little ones."

But the truth is, it's hard for everyone.

If it's not four small children demanding attention, then it is chores, dinner, phone calls, Facebook, to-do lists, work, tv, ministry.....

We all make choices.

Do we choose to listen? Do we sit at his feet? Do we eat and drink of his goodness?

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Once a year the women's ministry at our church carves out 4 hours to meet and pray. We meet in a setting highly conducive to listening. With the bon fire crackling in the background we open in corporate worship, readying our hearts to behold him. Then we have one hour. One glorious hour of silence. It is never enough. At the sound of the lunch bell ringing from the barn I leave the quiet hour hungry, not for the chili lunch awaiting me, but for more quiet, more from the Word, more life, more depth.

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If I were to pinpoint memorial stones, bedrocks of my faith, they would include the four Saturdays that I have attended this prayer retreat. When we seek the Lord and listen, he moves and speaks.

May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love;

and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God's children should,

how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is;

and to experience this love for yourselves,

though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it.

-Ephesians 3:17-19 Living Bible-