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

Day 20 - Luke 10:38-41

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Luke 10:38-41

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

What is keeping us from sitting at Jesus’ feet, from living in the presence of God? Ironically, it is usually not that we have deliberately chosen to keep him at arm’s length. It is something much more insidious and subtle...the primary indicator is worry.

We live under the illusion that worry enhances our ability to control the world. Somehow we fear that if we stop worrying about something completely, it will really go wrong. So we worry as if we are still in control of something that’s actually completely out of our hands. (GICTYT, p54-55)

What are you worrying about today that is causing you to miss out on God’s presence and what he has for you? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 19 - Psalm 89:13-16

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Psalm 89:13-16

13 Your arm is endowed with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.

15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD.

16 They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness.

King David had a remarkable relationship with God from the days of his youth when he fought Goliath, to his days as the King of Israel. The Bible is full of the songs and poems he wrote about God, his character, his love, his power and his justice.

David was con dent of God’s power because of the many times he experienced God’s help and provision when he was in need. Even in his failures he learned about God’s constant mercy and forgiveness. He records many of his experiences with God in the Psalms, causing him to rejoice in the relation- ship he had with his Lord and Savior.

In what ways have you seen God’s love and power to save in your own life? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 18 - Matthew 4:18-22

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Matthew 4:18-22

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to sh for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

God not only pursues a relationship with us, he also invites us to follow him wherever he leads us. Sometimes God’s invitations come at inconvenient times. Sometimes they come at the cost of something else we want to do. Sometimes saying yes to God means giving up our security, our dreams and even those we love.

Sometimes we are aware of the choice before us - to align ourselves with God or pursue our own way—but we don’t want to commit to a choice. We hesitate or procrastinate.

The Bible provides many examples of people who had to choose whether or not they would align themselves with God. Think about what made some of them say yes “immediately,” hesitate, or reject God’s invitation.

What can be lost when we do not respond to God “immediately”? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 17 - Ephesians 5:15-17

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Ephesians 5:15-17

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Tomorrow may be the most dangerous word in the English language...The failure to embrace “the sacrament of the present moment” will keep us from being fully present to God right here, right now. Not because we consciously say no to God. We just say, “Tomorrow.”

Most of us have set conditions in our minds and we think that when those criteria are met, that will be the beginning of great moments. We think the great adventure of partnership with God lies somewhere in the future. We tell ourselves that we will grow closer to God someday when our kids are no longer small and demanding, or when the pressures of work lighten up, or when we become more disciplined, or when our motivation level is higher, or when we just magically grow into spiritual maturity. Some people go through their whole life in that frame of mind. (GICTYT, p.66)

What are you putting o for tomorrow that God is calling you to do today? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 16 - Hebrews 4:14-16

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and  find grace to help us in our time of need.

Sometimes we forget to surrender. Sometimes we refuse. Then our sense of guilt and inadequacy can cut us o from the current of God’s presence. On occasions when we have failed to surrender, then we have to learn to surrender even our failures. The most important thing about failure is this: Even when we have failed, the ow of the Spirit can be restored in our lives at any moment. Right now. All we have to do is ask. (GICTYT, p. 136)

The author of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus understands our fears and our weaknesses. He empathizes with our struggles and wants to help. This is why we can have confidence, that no matter what we have done or not done, we will find mercy and grace at the foot of God’s throne.

What is God inviting you to lay at the foot of his throne of grace and mercy? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 15 - Psalm 22:1-2

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Psalm 22:1-2

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?

2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer by night, but I nd no rest.

All of us will wrestle at some time with the absence of God. The question is, can human beings hold on to God in the face of suffering? After all, suffering is the test of love. We generally associate well-being with the presence of God and assume that suffering means someone has done something wrong. (GICTYT, p.141, 146)

While God hates pain, he can also redeem it. It does not mean he is absent. We often learn things in times of fear, pain and loss, that we cannot learn any other way. When things are going well we are tempted to think we are in control. When we su er we realize clearly that we are not.

After the death of his beloved wife C. S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Think about a time when you experienced a hardship and couldn’t find God. How did God redeem that time and pain in your life? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen to God's Response

Day 14 - Psalm 51:1-4

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Psalm 51:1-4

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.

Think about times in your life when you have felt a strong awareness of God’s presence with you. Then consider times when his presence seemed elusive and you even felt abandoned by God. Sometimes we can miss God because we aren’t paying attention to him. Sometimes we can’t see God because things are not right between us.

King David had sinned against God. His guilt and shame were exposed. But when he admitted what he had done and accept- ed the consequences, he experienced God’s grace and mercy. His intimate relationship with God was not only restored, but grew deeper and richer because he humbled himself before a loving God.

Ask God to bring to your mind any sin that has hindered or damaged your relationship with him. How can confession bring you closer to God? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 13 - Genesis 3:6-10

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Genesis 3:6-10

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed g leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Dallas Willard writes about a two-and-a-half-year-old girl in the backyard who one day discovered the secret to making mud (which she called “warm chocolate”). Her grandmother had been reading and was facing away from the action, but after cleaning up what was to her a mess, she told little Larissa not to make any more chocolate... The little girl soon resumed her “warm chocolate” routine, with one request: “Don’t look at me, Nana. Okay?”

Any time we choose to do wrong or to withhold doing right, we choose hiddenness as well. It may be that out of all the prayers that are ever spoken, the most common one—the quietest one, that one that we least acknowledge making—is simply this: Don’t look at me, God. It was the very first prayer spoken after the Fall. God came to walk in the garden, to be with the man and the woman, and called, “Where are you?” “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid,...so I hid.” Don’t look at me, God. (GICTYT, p.36-37).

As God looks for you today, is there anything that you are doing that is making you afraid of God or want to hide from him? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 12 - Hebrews 10:23-25

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Hebrews 10:23-25

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The author of the book of Hebrews reminds Christian readers to hold on to the hope of Christ, especially in the midst of trials and hardships. We are encouraged to not neglect gathering together for mutual support and encouragement.

God often uses other people to help us discern his voice. There are certain people in your life whose words consistently guide you toward truth and joy and love...The spirit of Jesus speaks through the community of Jesus. When you are not sure about a voice, go to some trusted friends and discuss it. (GICTYT, p. 91)

With whom are you able to share your struggles with, knowing you will find encouragement to wait for God’s help and provision? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response.

Day 11 - John 5:19-20A

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

John 5:19-20A

19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.

How easy is it to hear God’s voice or know his will in the con- fusion of life? Jesus lived with a deep intimacy with God the Father such that he only did what the Father told him to do.

He was so dependent on God that he said that everything he did was a result of God’s power. He was so surrendered to God that he said his greatest desire was to do the will of his Father. He was so con dent of God that neither stormy seas nor hostile crowds could shake his poise. The river of life owed strong through this man Jesus as it had never owed through anyone before him. And when he died, the veil that kept people out of the Holy of Holies—the veil that symbolized separation between God and human beings—was torn in two. (GICTYT, p. 24)

How surrendered are you to God’s will and his purposes for you?

Do you trust God enough to do whatever he calls you to do? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 10 - Psalm 73:12-17

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Psalm 73:12-17

12 This is what the wicked are like—
    always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
    and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
    and every morning brings new punishments.

15 If I had spoken out like that,
    I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
    it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
    then I understood their final destiny.

Every good novel leads its readers down a path with twists and turns such that the end game is often not revealed until the nal chapter. The journey of discovery is what makes the novel so engaging and worthwhile.

There is what John Ortberg calls “a good of not knowing,” a God-given reason for uncertainty in life. Yet, when we are faced with choices or when we are waiting for God to answer our prayers, there is a temptation to skip to the end of the book. But in doing so, we will miss out on the kind of strength and beauty formed in our soul as we wait for God’s final revelation.

God wants to be known, but not in a way that overwhelms us, that takes away the possibility of love freely chosen....You never know where he’ll turn up, or whom he’ll speak through, or what unlikely scenario he’ll use for his purpose. (GICTYT, p. 42)

How can you enter into the sanctuary of God and receive comfort and strength even in times of confusion and frustration? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 9 - 1 Chronicles 16:11-13

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

1 Chronicles 16:11-13

11 Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

12 Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

13 you his servants, the descendants of Israel, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.

We often feel that if God would just reveal himself today, or if he would just answer our prayers in a mighty way right now, our faith would not waiver. Yet, God is constantly calling us to remember what he has done for us, his faithfulness to the people of Israel and to the people of God throughout history. And yet, answers to our prayers, no matter how miraculous, often get forgotten. Sometimes our faith seems so weak that we doubt in the darkness what we have seen clearly in the light.

John Ortberg writes that after we have been Christians for a while, “God takes away the props so that we can begin to grow true devotion that is strong enough to carry on even when unaided by emotions.” (GICTYT wkbk, p.28)

We must constantly remind ourselves of God’s character, what he is like and how much he loves us. As we remember the way he answered our prayers in the past, we nd strength to trust him to answer our prayers today.

What can you remember of God’s faithfulness in the past that will help you wait patiently for him today? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 8 - 2 Kings 6:15-18

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

2 Kings 6:15-18

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. 16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

The king of Aram was at war with Israel but Israel always seemed a step ahead. This was because God would reveal the king’s secret plans to his prophet Elisha who would then relay them to Israel’s King. So the king of Aram sent an army with horses and chariots to capture and kill Elijah. Elisha’s servant became terrified when he saw that they were surrounded by Israel’s enemies. “What shall we do?” he cried. But Elisha told him not to be afraid because “those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then he asked God to open his servant’s eyes so he could see the power and protection of God.

When we see the problems and obstacles before us we often forget that God is with us, protecting us and providing for our needs. We often need God’s help to see that we are not alone and do not need to be afraid.

What are you fearful of today that you need God to open your eyes to see his power, protection and provision? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 7 - Colossians 3:15-17

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Colossians 3:15-17

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

We need reminders throughout the day to practice the presence of God.

John Ortberg writes, “It can be helpful to keep certain physical reminders of God’s presence nearby. I have some stones with certain words inscribed on them that speak deeply to me about God’s care. One stone reads “Joy.” Another says “Courage.” A third one just has the word “Yes.”

Each reminds me of the spirit in which I want to work. They tell me that I’m not alone. Also, I have a crown of thorns and a nail on a credenza that speaks to me of God’s sacrificial love. I have pictures of the people I love, through whom God most often speaks to me.” (GICTYT, P. 72)

What physical reminders might you set up around your home or work place that will help you practice the presence of God? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 6 - Psalm 145:17-19

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Psalm 145:17-19

17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.

18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

The Lord promises that he is near to all who call on him. He assures us that he hears our prayers and responds to meet our deepest needs. Yet, many of us need to learn how to more easily experience God’s presence.

Brother Lawrence was a French monk and devoted Christ-follower who lived in the 17th century. He said, “The most holy and necessary practice in our spiritual life is the presence of God. That means finding constant pleasure in His divine company, speaking humbly and lovingly with him in all seasons, at every moment, without limiting the conversation in any way.” Spiritual growth, in a sense, is simply increasing our capacity to experience the presence of God. (GICTYT, p. 24)

How near does God feel to you right now?
How can you invite his deeper presence into your life today? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response