Day 40 - John 1:12-14

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

John 1:12-14

12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God... 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The central promise in the Bible is not “I will forgive you,” although of course that promise is there. It is not the promise of life after death, although we are promised that as well. The most frequent promise in the Bible is “I will be with you.”

Before Adam and Eve ever sinned or needed forgiveness, they were promised God’s presence. He would walk with them in the cool of the day. When God himself came to earth, his redemptive name was Immanuel—God with us. When Jesus left, his promise was to send the Spirit so that “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). At the end of time, when sin is a distant and defeated memory...it will be sung, “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev 21:3)... God is determined that you should be in every respect his friend, his companion, his dwelling place. (GICTYT, p. 15-16)

How does it feel to be God’s friend, companion and dwelling place? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 39 - Philippians 2:5-8

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Philippians 2:5-8

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

At the beginning of his ministry Jesus explained his mission to a man named Nathanael: “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51). Jesus himself became “Jacob’s ladder” that now reaches down to your life and mine.

Many people think the only reason Jesus came to earth was to die on the cross. But death on the cross was just one part of his mission. His overall mission was to bring the reality of God’s presence and power over to our side of the hedge. (GICTYT, p. 160)

This mission was costly. Jesus gave up all the power and privileges of heaven to become a poor and powerless human infant. He was stripped of his clothes, his rights and his human dignity to be crucified on a cross on our behalf. His sacrifice enabled heaven to be opened to you and me.

What are you willing to give up or endure in order for heaven to break into the lives of those who do not yet know Jesus? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 38 - Acts 18:9-11

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Acts 18:9-11

9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

God sent the apostle Paul to Macedonia to preach to the Jews and testify that Jesus was the Messiah. But they opposed him and even became abusive to him. But despite what Paul experienced, God told him in a vision to “keep on speaking, do not be silent.” He assured Paul that he would not be harmed and that there were many people in that city who were receptive to the gospel. So Paul stayed and persevered in Corinth for a year and a half.

God sees things we don’t see. He sees into the hearts of people. He sees the potential for good that is often hidden from our eyes. When we are attentive to God’s voice and have courage to obey him, we will experience fruitfulness from our sacrifice and perseverance.

In what way has God called you to have courage and persevere where he has placed you? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 37 - John 1:10-14

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

John 1:10-14

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Jesus didn’t just come to pierce the hedge that separates God from human beings. He came to tear down the hedges of fear and suspicion and bitterness that separate human beings from each other. (GICTYT, p. 162).

One of the clearest pictures of heaven breaking into earth is when we treat the failures of others with grace and mercy. When friends hurt us or those we love do not love us back the same way, God calls us to forgive them and to respond to them with kindness. He calls us to build up and not tear down, to love and to keep on loving. Jesus himself modeled this kind of life for us in the way he lived and the way he died, in the way he treated his friends as well as the way he treated his enemies.

Who is God calling you to forgive and show kindness to in a way that makes what is “up there” come “down here”? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 36 - Matthew 25:37-40

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Matthew 25:37-40

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Mother Teresa was famous for saying that we should not ask to do great things for God, but to do small things with great love. She once told those working with her to be especially tender when they dealt with the poorest of the poor; when they dealt with the dying and the abandoned on the streets of Calcutta. She told them to treat the poor with the kind of reverence with which a priest handles the elements of the Mass. When you touch them, she said, “there you touch Jesus in his distressing disguise.”

One way to become aware of God’s presence is to look and listen for God in each person you see. When you run into a difficult person, hear Jesus saying, “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” When you run into a needy person, hear Jesus saying, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these...” When someone confronts you, ask God if perhaps he is speaking through them. (GICTYT, p. 104, 107)

How can you see Jesus in the face of the difficult person before you? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 35 - Matthew 6:9-13

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Matthew 6:9-13

9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.’

Sometimes people play a version of the Star Trek prayer to Scottie: “Beam me up.” Many people think our job is to get my afterlife destination taken care of, then tread water till we all get ejected and God comes back and torches this place. But Jesus never told anybody—neither his disciples nor us—to pray, “Get me out of here so I can go up there.” His prayer was, “Make up there come down here.” Make things down here run the way they do up there.”

God doesn’t reveal himself to us just to make us happy or to deliver us from loneliness. He also comes to us so that we can in turn be conduits of his presence to other people. He invites us to join him in making things down here the way they are up there. (GICTYT, p. 161)

What is one situation in which God might be calling you to reflect his love and his ways down here on earth? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 34 - Matthew 26:39-42

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Matthew 26:39-42

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

There is a kind of prayer that is the greatest prayer Jesus him- self ever prayed. If we were to ever pray it truly and continually; it is in a real sense the only prayer you and I would ever need.

For many centuries, those wisest among us about the spiritual life have insisted that this one line is the door that opens the heart to the presence of God. There is no greater expression of love than a freely submitted will.

When we choose to say, “Thy will be done” rather than “My will be done” we open our hearts to the presence of God. (GICTYT, p. 126-7)

How easy or challenging is it to say this prayer today: “Yet not my will but yours be done?” 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 33 - Philippians 4:6-7

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The natural tendency of my mind apart from God is toward death, not life...When people are alone, undistracted by noise or activity, their minds naturally drift toward an awareness of dis- contentment, a sense of inadequacy, anxiety about the future, and a chronic sense of self-preoccupation.

This is why people generally ee from solitude. Why? Because people hate to be alone with their minds. Television is attractive because it distracts us, but of course in the long run it simply makes our minds that much weaker and more dependent on outside stimulation to keep us entertained. (GICTYT, p. 85-86)

What are you anxious about today that you can release to a faithful God? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 32 - 1 John 2:15-17

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

1 John 2:15-17

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

One of the greatest challenges in life is fighting what might be called “love for the world.” Without even being aware of it, we often  find our minds comparing ourselves with others, wanting to hold on to what we have rather than sharing, judging the actions of others and even controlling those around us to get what we want. Our lives become characterized by fear, self-gratification and self-protection.

The key to rejecting love for the world is to dwell on the love of the Father instead. When we know that we are loved and believe God will always provide for us, the riches of this world will seem empty by comparison. Instead, the love of the Father will ll us and enable us to experience the joy of generosity and freedom from striving.

How might the world be tempting you away from living God’s way? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 31 - James 4:7-8

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

James 4:7-8

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

What does it mean to be “double-minded”? This condition en- ables you to get the worst of all worlds; you experience a kind of chronic, low-level, hidden debauchery so you’re frustrated by all the fun you think that major-league debauchery professionals are having. Yet you get just enough spiritual-religious input so you have chronic, low-level guilt about the amount of depravity you are maintaining.

How do you pursue this goal? Get sporadic spiritual input. Go to church sometimes. Read the Bible once in a while—but without clarity about how you want it to shape your mind. Pray sporadically—when you’re in trouble. But then mostly ll your mind with the things that everybody else in your culture fills their minds with. Just keep channel-surfing. (GICTYT, p. 88)

What does it mean for you to resist the devil, pursue God and reject the “double-minded” life? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 30 - Joshua 1:8-9

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Joshua 1:8-9

8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God called Joshua to lead his people into the Promised Land. This was a huge task but God had Moses write down everything Joshua needed to know to be “prosperous and successful.” Joshua was instructed to meditate on God’s word day
and night.

The word meditate scares a lot of people. It sounds alien to us... The reality is that everyone meditates. Meditation is simply the process by which the mind dwells with some intensity and duration over a thought or image. We may meditate over Sports Center, the Dow Jones average, a Simpsons episode on television, or what the scale reading was this morning. The issue when it comes to meditation is what, not if.

Scripture says a lot about mediating wisely... In a sense meditation is just positive worry. If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate. (GICTYT, p. 92)

How does dwelling on God’s promises to be with us wherever we go help us not be afraid or discouraged? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 29 - Ephesians 3:16-19

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Ephesians 3:16-19

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Paul prayed for his fellow believers in the midst of trials and persecution. He reassured them of the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The more they could grasp “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,” the more they would be empowered to live fully for God.

When we align ourselves with God, we gain access into an abundance of heavenly resources. Most of all, we receive the Holy Spirit, Christ’s very presence dwelling within us. The Holy Spirit enables us to hear God’s voice, to understand Scripture, and be reminded of what is good and true. Most of all we are able to grasp by faith, the fullness and reality of God’s love for us.

What can happen when you ask the Holy Spirit to help you be “rooted and established” in God’s love? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 28 - Philippians 4:8-9

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Philippians 4:8-9

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

The goal here is to have a mind in which the glorious Father of Jesus is always present and gradually crowds out every distort- ed belief, every destructive feeling, every misguided intention. You will know your mind is increasingly “set on God” when the moods that dominate your inner life are love, joy, and peace— the three primary components of the fruit of the Spirit.

To make my mind a home for Jesus, I deliberately ll my mind with the kinds of things God says are important...Whatever repeatedly enters the mind occupies the mind, eventually shapes the mind, and will ultimately express itself in what you do and who you become. The events we attend, the material we read (or don’t), the music we listen to, the images we watch, the conversations we hold, the daydreams we entertain—these are shaping our minds. And ultimately they make our minds receptive or deaf toward the still small voice of God. (GICTYT, p. 88)

What are you consciously and unconsciously filling your mind with? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 27 - Luke 6:12-16

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Luke 6:12-16

12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Jesus lived his life in complete alignment with God the Father. As he began his public ministry, Jesus invited many people to follow him. But there came a time when he chose twelve indi- viduals to invest in deeply, these in whom he would entrust his life’s mission and work.

How did he know who to choose? Jesus spent the night praying to his Father in heaven. Jesus set aside a significant time and place to talk things over with God. He set aside his fears, his concerns and any agenda he had to seek God and his purposes. In the morning he had clarity as he called the twelve by name.

John Perkins once said that true prayer is “listening to God in order to obey him.” Jesus prayed this way.

To what extent do you pray by “listening to God in order to obey him”? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 26 - Romans 7:21-23

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Romans 7:21-23

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.

Even when we surrender our lives to God, we  find a battle going on inside our hearts and minds. On the one hand, we want to live and love like Jesus. On the other hand, we can’t help but react negatively when someone hurts us, neglects us, or threatens to take something from us.

The good news is that we have the power to turn up the volume of God’s voice by surrounding ourselves in Christian community and asking the Holy Spirit to remind us of God’s promises. We can turn our eyes and ears toward God in a small step of faith and obedience.

Every time we say “yes” to God we will get a little more sensitive to hearing him the next time. Our mind becomes a little more tuned in to God’s channel. On the other hand, when we say “no” we make ourselves a little less likely to hear him in the future. (GICTYT, p. 85)

How can you turn your eyes and ears toward God and turn up the volume of his voice? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 25 - Romans 8:5-8

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Romans 8:5-8

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

The truth is that your mind is never still...Each thought we have carries with it a little spiritual power, a tug toward or away from God. No thought is purely neutral. Every thought is either en- abling and strengthening you to be able to cope with reality to live a kingdom kind of life, or robbing you of that life.

In time, if we listen carefully, we can learn to recognize God’s voice. Not infallibly, of course. But the kind of thoughts that come from God are those in line with the fruit of the Spirit; they move us toward love and joy, peace and patience. And we learn that there are other thoughts that are not likely to be God speaking.(GICTYT, p. 83-84)

To what extent is your thought life moving you to a life of love, joy, peace and patience or robbing you of that life? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 24 - John 4:31-34

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

John 4:31-34

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to nish his work.

Food is a gift from God. Jesus told his followers to pray for their daily bread. To the writers of Scripture, food is concrete evi- dence that God is present and providing for us.

Jesus also said that we do “not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” As our bodies are fed by food, so our spirits are fed by words with ideas and images. We are ooded by words that can mislead us, so we need to feed our minds each day from the Word of God.

I often feed my mind by taking a thought from Scripture:
- Nothing can separate us from the love of God
- I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me
- God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (GICTYT, 70-71)

What would it be like to feast on the Word of God throughout the day? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 23 - John 10:2-4

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

John 10:2-4

2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

We all hear voices. Some of them are positive and comforting. Others are distracting and destructive. But there’s one Voice above all to which we’re called to listen. Jesus said that he is the Good Shepherd and that his sheep know his voice. Throughout history, those who have practiced God’s presence have insisted that they heard his voice. They have learned, so to speak, to program their minds to be constantly receiving the divine channel. (GICTYT, p. 79).

Some speak of “notions,” “promptings,” or “leadings.” Others have God-given dreams and visions, or are directed to speci c Bible verses. No matter how we hear from God, we will hear more clearly if we believe that God will really speak to us, are attentive and live in a posture of willingness to follow where he leads.

How has God spoken to you in the past?
How can you grow in recognizing his voice more clearly? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 22 - Psalm 127:1-2

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Psalm 127:1-2

1 Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.

2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.

People who lead spiritual retreats say the number one barrier for people trying to have a prolonged time of prayer is fatigue. But when we go to sleep, God is still at work. It is always day for God. The world keeps spinning, tides ebb and ow, lives begin and end even though we are not there to superintend any of it. God is present and in control even when we sleep. So he gives sleep to those he loves so we can rest under his watch.

Arranging to get enough sleep is actually an act of discipleship. Before you go to bed tonight, review your day with God. Con- fess any sin that comes to mind, and ask forgiveness. Where you were blessed today, take time to savor it and say thanks. Give God the last word of the day. (GICTYT, p. 68)

How can you sleep better, knowing God is in control and that he watches over you? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 21 - Acts 17:26-28

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Acts 17:26-28

26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.

Have you ever wondered why there are only 24 hours in a day, why we get hungry at least twice a day or why we need 6-8 hours of sleep in order to think clearly? God limits our days and our years on earth so that we will recognize our dependence and need for God. It is when we have a clear view of who God is that we can learn to trust him with our lives. We realize that everything does not depend on us.

We can wake up in God’s presence by doing three things:

1.) Acknowledge your dependence on God

2.) Tell God about your concerns for the day, and ask him to identify and remove any fear in you.

3.) Renew your invitation for God to spend the day with you.

As the psalmist wrote, “In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” (GICTYT, p.69)

How can you experience God’s presence as you do these three things? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response