• Margaret Blake

Listening carefully

This term as part of my training to be a reader I am doing a course called ‘Introduction to Spirituality and Discipleship’. Each week we read about and practise a different prayer tradition before coming together to learn more about it from our tutor and share our experiences.


The first week explored the discipline of Benedictine prayer. We were encouraged to pray four times a day (using the Church of England daily prayer) and seven times on one or two days with work and study structured around it.


How does reading that make you feel? I felt daunted by it. As we reflected on our week as a class it was clear that people responded very differently – some loved the rule and structure and making a schedule to follow.


Others, who prefer to pray as the spirit leads them wherever they are, found it more of a challenge. Benedict also encouraged Lectio Divina: prayerful reading of scripture to hear its meaning for us beyond the words.

The prologue to Benedict’s Rule of Life starts with the words ‘Listen carefully’ – listening to others and listening to God. How can our own patterns of prayer, reading and life help us to listen and be alert to the word of God and the needs of those around us?

Heavenly Father,

I wait upon you.

I pause, still my mind and still my heart.

I wait upon you.

I stop, and listen beyond the everyday.

I wait upon you.

I rest, and allow my soul to have space.

I wait upon you.

Amen

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