Many of the early Christians who lived as monks and nuns in the desert often spoke of hearing or receiving a “word from the Lord.” This “word” was not necessarily a single word but could often be a short phrase or even a sentence or two. This “word” received by the monk or nun could be described as a lesson the Lord was teaching them or a direction the Lord was guiding that person towards. Some examples of “words” from the Lord could be, “Do not be afraid,” “Trust in God’s love,” “Pray more,” “Persevere,” “Believe in the goodness of God,” etc.
Though this hearing from the Lord appears like a simple process there is one prerequisite. In order to hear from the Lord you must be listening to your own heart and bringing it before him. If you discover that you are afraid to trust people, that you feel alone, inadequate, insecure about the future or that you feel like God is asking too much from you, the only logical step is to speak with him about it. Too often people cover over their hearts and their experience with nice “pious” language because they think those are the words God really wants to hear, meanwhile they miss an opportunity for the Lord to speak a powerful and often times healing “word” into their real, concrete situations of their daily life.
God calls you to pray as you are with your life, your struggles and your joys and not somebody else’s. There are no two people who pray the same way because there are no two people who are identical. Each one of us is unique. If you truly want to hear a “word from the Lord,” then you must take the risk of being yourself before God. After all, the only person you are fooling praying in any other way is yourself.
God bless you,
Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, NY
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TO FR. JEREMIAH - THANK YOU)