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God is in heaven and you are on earth... so shut up and listen!

December 1, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Posted in: Prayer

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2)

I am by nature an introvert, a pretty quiet person. I enjoy extended times of silence, and don’t have an overwhelming need to get together with other people. In some ways, then, the above passage from Ecclesiastes is right up my alley, and has long been one of my favorites. The writer of Ecclesiastes exhorts his listeners to be careful in the words they speak and the vows they make before God, and instead come inclined to listen to God.

Prayer for me is less about the words I speak and more about the words God speaks. I don’t mean that in a mystical way, that somehow I hear God’s audible or quiet voice in my spirit. What I mean is that coming into God’s presence for me is primarily about reorienting myself to who God is and what His promises are in His Word. When I come before God, I am reminded that He is in control, that He knows the end from the beginning, that my life is not a series of random, meaningless experiences. I remember that He is good, that He loves me, that no matter happens, He is working all things together for my good, to make me more like Jesus. I consider all the ways I can spend my time, and am encouraged by His presence that giving my life to His service and to loving others is so much better than wasting my times on things that in the end do not matter. I remember that I can do nothing apart from Him, and that I need His strength.

Of course, prayer will include my words as well. I will offer up prayer for other people, and pour out my heart to God. But if the main focus is my words, then in the end I have sent off my list to Santa, so to speak, but not truly experienced the presence of God in a transformative way. When I heed the words of the author of Ecclesiastes, and come near to God primarily to listen to who He is and what His promises are for me, then my life is reoriented and I come back to my life with clarity and motivation to do His will. As you come to God in prayer, may you find yourself listening to His voice through His Word as well, and may it encourage and strengthen you for your journey.

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