Over the years as I have taught Confirmation Classes I have had to call on a student and asked: “Are you listening?” After their affirmative answer I would ask: “What were we talking about?” Many times they would have no idea. Other times students could repeat back to me exactly what I was talking about. They can appear to be distracted and maybe distract everyone else in the room, but at the same time still be listening. I don’t think that’s the case for most of us. When someone is talking to us it is important to focus on them for their benefit and for ours.
A singer-songwriter by the name of David Wilcox once responded to a question from the audience about how he composes songs. He said there are three aspects to the process: a quiet room, an empty page, and the question: “Is there something I need to know?” That’s a wonderful approach for us as we seek the Lord’s plan for our lives each day.
I wish I could follow that plan more consistently. When we recently went on vacation with our entire family of fourteen our son, Ben, planned our activities well. We usually had a day of touring and sight seeing and then we had a day off. That gave all of us a break to do what we wanted. Some went shopping, some went into the pool, a couple rented mopeds, and I spent a lot of time reading, catching up on work and just having quiet time.
That was different for me. Usually my life is a myriad of activities. I move from one to the next. Most of my Bible study time is message, Sunday School, or preparation for some other classes. This summer as Wilcox suggested, I have had a quiet room especially since there has been no preschool. I have lots blank paper, but I don’t know that I have asked this question enough: “Is there something I should know?”
Throughout Jesus public ministry, He took time to be alone in prayer. After feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish the Bible says: “Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that His disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side, while He sent the people home. After sending them home, He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. Night fell while He was there alone.” Matthew 14:22-23. If the Lord Jesus saw the need to be alone with His Father, how much more we need a daily time of solitude to pour out our hearts, meditate on His Word and ask Him what we need to know.
So what do we need?
- A quiet room or place - anywhere where we can focus on the Lord without distractions.
- An empty page - an empty page, which also means a receptive mind, a willingness to listen
- Asking the question: “Is there something that I should know?” Lord, speak to me by Your Spirit, Your written word, and the assurance of Your direction.
From that quiet hillside, Jesus came down into a violent storm, knowing exactly what His Father wanted Him to do.