An Introduction

In just a moment, "God" and I will discuss what you can expect from this "Get Started" section of The Listening Prayer Project. But before we being, I want to share two things about this site.


First, all of the resources (or "entries") on this site are written in the format of a listening prayer – including this introduction. What this means is that each entry is a discussion between “God” and me about a certain topic. As unorthodox as this may seem, the reason for this approach is because we primarily learn how to converse through observation and imitation. It makes sense (to me, at least) to therefore provide resources that are about communicating with God in a format that demonstrates the experience. 


Second, you may have noticed that I just put “God” in quotes. I did so because the voice of “God” on this site is not purely the voice of God. Instead, the voice of “God” on this site is the voice of God as heard through the filter of me, Nathanael. And that filter can cause me to mishear some things. Thus my  quotes around God. What I am sharing is not purely God's voice. Instead, what I am sharing is a perspective of God's voice. This idea of hearing God's voice through a filter is such an important concept of listening prayer that “God” and I talk about it in the very next entry, “Uncertainty.”


And, with no further delay, then, I’d like to introduce you to "God."


Hello, Nathanael. Hello, everyone! 


Hi, God. If this were a typical interview between two people, I would introduce you to the audience with a quick overview of where you grew up, maybe where you went to school, and some of your career achievements. But that approach doesn’t really work with you, so I was thinking, then, that I might share a lesser-known characteristic of yours as a way to introduce you.


Oh...that I have great taste in music? 


Ha - but no. I imagine you have quite the ecclectic taste, though! Instead, I was thinking about something related to this site.


And what would that be? 


I’ve been practicing listening prayer on a (mostly) daily basis for more than 15 years, now. And, something that has become evident that others may find surprising is that you can be quite chatty.


Yes, this is true – I do like to talk! And good thing, too, since I want to converse with each and every one of you on a regular basis. 


I want to point out, though, that you do not like to talk just for the sake of talking.


That is also true! I like it when individuals practice listening prayer because that gives me the opportunity to acknowledge the person and tell them how much I appreciate and love them.


I’ve heard you share such sentiments before, but even so, it is still an unexpected thing to hear. 


Why is it unexpected? 


I think it is difficult to accept that you, God, want to hear from me (or someone like me) and then have the time and desire to respond to me.


Why is that difficult to accept?


I think it is similar to when we see a famous person in real-life. In the moment, we get so excited that we might reach out in some way to briefly interact with that famous person. We then remember that interaction for the rest of our lives. But regardless of how amazing that moment was, we do not continue interacting with that famous person, especially not on a daily basis. As the famous person in this analogy, the question would be why you would want to daily interact with me (or someone like me), a non-famous stranger? 


But you are not a stranger to me. I know each and every one of you very well. I am your #1 fan. And I want you to know how much I delight in you. Not because of what you do (or don’t do) but because of who you are. You are mine – not in a possessive way but in a created way. In the best possible way, you are mine. 


Well…I think a lot of us have heard differently. There are many messages out there that say you are our judge, not our #1 fan. And, that you are distant from us, not close to us. That you are disappointed in us instead of rejoicing in us.


Yes, I know of such distorted messages. They are not true. But they exist because my messages are not often heard firsthand anymore. Instead my messages are being passed along like a game of “Telephone” or “Whisper down the lane” that children sometimes still play. In those games, the original message becomes garbled the more it gets repeated. The takeaway lesson from those games is that the messenger should speak directly to the intended recipient(s) to avoid misunderstanding. And, that the recipient should ask clarifying questions if need be. When it comes to me and each of you, this direct form of communication can happen in listening prayer and it is why I hope each of you choose to start (or re-commit to) their own listening prayer project. 


I hope for the same thing. I think listening prayer is one of the most potent spiritual practices available to us.


I look forward to discussing the details of listening prayer in these upcoming entries, Nathanael.


Thank you, God. I look forward to it, too.