Recently, I tried a new technique to improve my openness to hearing the voice of God.
This summer I attended the Christians Practicing Yoga retreat in New York, where I meditated twice a day for 20 minutes after each yoga class. The extended meditation was new for me. I usually meditate for 5 minutes at the end of the weekly yoga classes I teach.
I was amazed at how I heard from God during those quiet times of meditation. My mind was not flooded with my daily activities and to-do lists. So now, back at home, I thought I would try this extended meditational time. My usual morning routine begins with a cup of tea and reading from a devotional book. Personally, I like The Power of a Praying Parent and The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. After the retreat, however, I decided to try meditating instead.
I sat in my chair but with my legs crossed. I set the timer on my phone for 8 minutes; I didn't want to bite off 20 minutes right away. I planned to increase the time each time I meditated. I focused on my breathing and the rising and falling of my chest. I opened my mind and heart to God.
I was pleasantly surprised when God gave me four different directives during this time. It was like my mind was finally quiet, and I wasn't praying and listing all of my prayer requests. During this 8 minutes of silence, God spoke to me.
On this first day, I was struggling with feelings of depression because my daughter had left for her first year of college the previous day. This was a difficult life transition for both of us. I did not have the opportunity to take our daughter to college; her dad did because our youngest daughter was starting high school the same day, and someone needed to stay home with her.
During that 8 minutes of silence God spoke life into my heart. He told me to cry and express my emotions whenever I felt like it and not to hold them in because if I did the sadness would make me into a person I did not want to be. He said that I would gain strength through my weakness. I believe crying is a form of healing and helps a person to process their sadness through expressing their emotions.
God also urged me to go to my daughter’s convocation at the University of Florida, which would be in four days. After being unable to take her to college, I would be able to visit with my daughter on campus.
God suggested that I find in my journal where my daughter had accepted Christ and to share that with her as she had been asking about it a few days before.
God told me all of this in that eight-minute time period. Can you spare a few minutes to spend time with him?
If you would like more information on how to meditate, here are four resources:
This site, ChristiansPracticingYoga.com, has a page on Christian Meditation that will help you get started.
Father Thomas Ryan in Prayer of Heart and Body: Meditation and Yoga as Christian Spiritual Practice wrote: “This book is for Christians who practice meditation or centering prayer but would like to come to deeper centeredness and awareness.”
Susan Neal in Yoga for Beginners: 60 Basic Yoga Poses for Flexibility, Stress Relief, and Inner Peace wrote: “I will explain each of the following methods of meditation: breathing practices, guided relaxation, guided imagery, affirmations, and stillness.”
Michelle Thielen in Stretching Your Faith: Practicing Postures of Prayer to Create Peace, Balance and Freedom wrote in her Chapter on Meditation: “The purpose of meditation is to ponder, create inner peace, calmness, and to connect with Christ.”