Turning the volume down.

There’s so much noise around us, isn’t there? All kinds of hums, pops, clangs and clicks. All kinds of messages, ideas, assumptions and cynical comments. All this noise, and us – as the receptors – have to do “something” with it.

We can listen, or we can ignore.

We can absorb, or we can block.

We can be open, or we can shut up shop and close.

Noise floats around begging for a place to absorb, a place to land and be felt. And here am I, in the early stages of a week of prayer, figuring out what noise is doing what.

What’s God’s whisper, and what’s my mind wandering?

What’s a prophetic call, and what’s a great idea?

What’s an encouragement or conviction of the Spirit, and what’s judgmental and cynical me?

Here’s what I’ve learned so far in our week of prayer: I need to turn the volume down – and turn it down I am trying. How? Simple. By echoing the same question the disciples asked of Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

“Teach us to pray” means I stop and listen first. I set my mind, heart, body and soul on who God is. I become aware. I turn down the volume on the other noises.

Because when I don’t do this, I start asking God to bless my cynical-fueled grand idea. I ask Him to do things I want done. I ask Him to move “those people.”

In turning down the volume I allow God to move in me first – and if I’m not moved, am I really praying at all?

Jesus tells a story of two men praying: One man was awfully religious and pompous about it. The other man stood away from the religious space, beating his chest, and said to God “Have mercy on me, for I am a sinner.”

Something had moved in Him, and I long for that kind of movement to take place in me further as we pray this week.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

“Watch your step when you enter God’s house.

Enter to learn. That’s far better than mindlessly offering a sacrifice,

Doing more harm than good.

Don’t shoot off you mouth, or speak before you think.

Don’t be too quick to tell God what you think he wants to hear.

God’s in charge, not you – the less you speak, the better.”

Ecclesiastes 5:1-2, MSG

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