The voice of the Spirit
The Risen Lord says, “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.” Revelation 2:7
All seven of the letters to the churches end with these words. They make it clear that the letters have been written not merely to these specific churches but to anyone who has the ability to listen. They are the words of the Spirit and are words of life for anyone who will hear them.
Tuning our ears into the voice of the Spirit is vital for all of us. The Holy Spirit is the source of life and wisdom and without him we will never be able to discern God’s will. But the problem is that his voice is only one of the innumerable voices with which we are continually bombarded. Listening to the Spirit is an activity which will only happen when we deliberately give him our attention. It won’t just happen.
It has been wisely and painfully said that most people don’t listen with the intention of understanding, but of replying. We are all looking for the opportunity to share what matters to us and often have no real interest in what the other person has to say. True listening is when we give our full attention to the speaker with the intention of receiving whatever they have to say openly and humbly.
The Holy Spirit’s words will always be full of truth. Listening to them will often be challenging and even painful, but they will always bring life. He does want to hear from us as well, and in our prayers we should certainly bring our concerns to him, but we also need to ensure that we are good at not speaking. He wants us to be quiet in his presence and that’s where we so often fall down. We fill our prayers so full of noise that there is no space for him to share his wisdom and truth.
Mother Teresa once said: “God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.” Probably the advice that most of us need to receive in prayer is to speak less and listen more, so that we can truly hear what the Spirit is trying to say to us.
How good are you at listening to the voice of the Spirit, and what could you do that would help you to listen more carefully?
Holy Spirit, thank you for loving me so much that you want to speak with me. Help me to listen carefully to your voice today. Amen