Session One - Listening to God

In a world filled with busyness, noise and clutter, it’s easy to get caught up in the distractions of daily life. Discerning whether God may be calling you to religious life requires dedicated time in prayer, for it is in the silence that God speaks.

Culturally, we use the term “discerning” to mean anything from using good judgment to being selective in our preferences. For the Benedictines, it means calling on the Spirit for guidance. It’s about deep listening and waiting.

Spending time in prayer is an opportunity to quiet oneself and be receptive to God speaking to us. The Benedictine prayer form called Lectio Divina is a practice of listening to a scriptural passage without preconceived thought or intellectual study.

You’ll want to find a comfortable and quiet place to pray, removed from any distractions. Below are some suggestions for your time in prayer:

  • Calm and settle yourself, and pray for an open heart and mind
  • Select a passage of scripture, and read the scripture passage slowly
  • Read the scripture again, then reflect on the passage
  • Name or write one phrase or word that stands out to you
  • Read the scripture again, then begin to pray with the word or phrase that spoke to you
  • Remain quiet, and listen as God speaks to you
  • Journal your insights
  • Choose a reflection question and bring that to prayer
  • Continue to be quiet as God speaks to you, then continue journaling your insights
  • End with a familiar prayer, and be open to hearing God’s voice the rest of the day

These prayer tips are formulated by a prayer form called Lectio Divina, and you can learn more here.

It can be encouraging to know that God has a plan for our lives, and often that plan is not quite what we expect. The best place to consider any serious decision is trusting God’s faithfulness to walk alongside you.

These questions can offer insights and guidance during this retreat:

  1. What did you experience during your time of prayer?
  2. How were you affected by what you were praying about?
  3. What impulses, intentions, feelings or attractions did you experience while praying today?
  4. Is there anything God seemed to be asking of you?
  5. Was there anything that occupied your mind and heart during prayer today?
  6. What was your general mood? Did you notice an emotion surfacing?
  7. What are the hopes and desire you what to bring to God during prayer?
  8. As you conclude the day, what thoughts are going through your mind?

Relax, take a deep breath and spend a few minutes reflecting on one of the scripture passages below:

  • Psalm 46
  • Isaiah 28:12-13
  • Hosea 2:14-16
  • Matthew 11:25-30
  • Mark 6:30-34

Simply rest in the words of scripture, and thank God for being with you today.