Listening to the Holy Spirit: Finding Your Faith’s Ear

Seven ways to start or re-start your discernment skills. God speaks. How will we learn to listen?

Your equipping skill: Listening Prayers of the heart and growing in discernment

Listening to the Holy Spirit is Central to a living Faith.

What “listening to the Holy Spirit” means

  • The Holy spirit testifies to Christ, guides, inspires and motivates us.  Listening to the Holy Spirit means prioritizing God’s word above other sources.
  • Too often we worship our preferences.  This leads us to blind and deaf spots where we cannot hear what God has to say. 

What this does NOT mean

  • This is not divining the future
  • This is not “Fire Insurance”, insuring a financial or other success.
  • This does not put you or I in charge. Servant Leaders are First Followers
  • This is not manipulating God to do our will.
  • This is not prayer per se, but prayer is the vehicle by which we listen. It is God doing all of the work while we work at listening.

Equipping with Authority

  • This article is focused on the Concrete more than the theorhetical. God is the speaker and will use your preferences to find your listening ear.
  • Central to listening for God is Having an intentional plan. This post should not imply that teaching a mechanical skill-is all that it takes. These 7 actions are ways to intentionally equip yourself to listen
  • Scripture, Tradition, Reason & Experience are all tests for The Spirit. The Holy Spirit will never contradict scripture, tradition changes to meet the day but gives us context and community, truth makes sense by faith-Fod gave us a mind to use. Finally, all experiences teach something. Pay attention and listen carefully to all four of these as you do these activities. Keep it simple-listen.

1. Disciplined Time with God through Bible study and prayer.

  • God has already spoken through His Word. The more time you spend with God through reading His Word and through prayer, the more familiar you’ll become with His voice.
  • This is important because God will never tell you to do anything that contradicts His written Word. The more time you spend time with God, the more familiar you will become with His voice.

2. Memorize Scripture in context

  • The Bible is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). It will change you, transform you, make you more receptive to hear God’s voice.
  • It’s not enough to simply read the Word. Search the Scripture and “Hide it in your Heart”. (Psalm 119:11)
  • Many times the Holy Spirit will use the Word to guide you. This becomes so much easier if you actually have the Word in your heart.

3. Create a balanced life of prayer: ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication (Requests).

  • No one like to be around someone who does all of the talking.
  • Don’t just run into prayer with your checklist in hand and pray, “Dear God, please help me here, bless this, bless that, protect them, help me have a good day. Amen.” Spend time listening.
  • You may not hear anything, but it’s important to remember that prayer is a conversation with God, not a list of needs and desires. .

4. Seek Silence Every Day

  • Look at the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 and you’ll see that God chose to speak to Elijah through a gentle whisper. God often chooses to speak through a still, small voice, and not a shout! Faith beckons us to listen in order to hear.
  • God wants us to remove all the distractions from our lives and focus on Him. Find a consistent time and a dedicated place to be silent before God everyday and hear God’s gentle whisper.

5. Have a Spiritual Director and wise counselors

  • God doesn’t speak exclusively to you. He also speaks to those around you. The book of Proverbs talks a lot about the necessity of seeking wise counsel.
  • When the Holy Spirit speaks to you, seek someone wise to be your prayer partner. Carefully and prayerfully seek the wise counsel of those around you. Pray for God to bring these human resources.

6. Intentionally Listen for God in Daily Decisions

  • Don’t just do something, Sit there
  • Practice makes perfect. We have been given a spirit of discernment by our Father. The Holy Spirit is God. God wants us to know the difference between God’s voice and the many enemies competing for our own thoughts.
  • It takes discernment, and the only way to figure it out is to start practicing. This does NOT legitimize procrastination.

7. Be obedient

  • Don’t just sit there, Do something. 
  • Listening to the Holy Spirit requires obedience. Search through the book of Acts. It is a diary of the Holy Spirit speaking to the early church. The “Spirit” is used in Acts 67 different times. The reason the Spirit is still leading and motivating the church today is because the church obeyed the Spirit when Jesus’ Church heard His voice.
  • Do the last thing God told you to do.  If God hasn’t spoken to you, perhaps it’s because you didn’t obey the last thing God told you to do. God may be silent until you finish what He started. When the Spirit speaks, it’s not meant as a suggestion. If you want the Holy Spirit to continue to speak to you, obey God when God speaks

NOW WHAT?  What transforming change will you make today? These “Doing” activities can and will point you to “Being” in Christ. The point of this excercise is to strengthen faith and create a more intimate relationship with God. Listen well and hear God’s loving and still small voice.

Some resources for further study:

Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton

Anatomy of a Deceased Church by Thom Rainer (Praying together)

When God is Silent by Barbara Brown Taylor ( The Section on Silence)

The Once and Future Wesleyan Movement by Scott J. Jones ( The Holy Spirit p. 57)

(c) Alan Van Hooser, “The Thoughtful Pastor”, 2022 all rights reserved.

Ask 4 an Intentional Faith: A simple habit for life’s complex answers

The equipping skill: creating and strengthening good and intentional faith habits.

A recent health scare forced a month of isolation and reflection upon me. This created time to take stock. I realized, reluctantly, that I was living much of my life on auto-pilot with Body mind and soul. After much reflection I’m making this response, I am beginning a “Year of Intentional Living”.

Join me and see where we might go together. Add a reply at the bottom and share your journey.

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” James Clear, from his book Atomic Habits

For better or worse, we are the sum of our habits. I want to be and become a person of intentional faith in Jesus. People of any faith have faith goal goal. I take this journey as a follower of Jesus Christ. I want to be intentional about faith. My daily habits should include actions that lead me to an INTENTIONAL, thriving faith.

One daily habit is to test yourself. Ask four simple questions at the end of each dlay to test the intentionality of your faith-building. I am journaling my answers nightly. A reminder card is taped to my bedside lamp to cue me to stop and think. Weekly I share my journey with fellow church members and a trusted small group, for accountability. The reward is to go to sleep at night knowing that I truly lover each moment of the day. Here is how it might work for you

Printed cards provide the “Cue” to act. this one stays folded up in my pocket. More than anything, the card is a constant and intentional reminder. Write down your answers daily. If you don’t have an answer, intentionally do better tomorrow. Here are the four questions.

(You can have a card by request-contact me or enter a reply. I don’t share your contact info. )

When did I Pray today? Read Mark 11:15-26. When did you Thank, listen, speak and then move in prayer. Can’t remember? Make an appointment with God for tomorrow.

What did I learn today? Read Matthew 7:9-13 and find a familiar starting point. Poke around the scripture for a few minutes. Can’t remember? Make an appointment with God’s word tomorrow.

What did I teach today? Read Romans 12:1-8 and seize an opportunity to be a living sacrifice. Don’t TELL, SHOW your faith. Can’t remember? Think of a way to live what you learn from scripture and show someone.

What did I leave behind today that mattered? Read Romans 12:9-21. Where did you Love, Encourage, forgive, comfort, or do other meaningful things? Can’t remember? Watch closely for a God size opportunity tomorrow.

For added punch, share your victories, or opportunities for improvement, with a trusted friend. The journey of faith is always better with a co-traveller.

Where could Faith make your life richer? what do you intend to do about it? Take this cue and “Ask 4”! Make a bold and intentional step for yourself.

For additional study, read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, Avery Press, 2018. A sensible look at creating positive improvements in life-including your Faith Journey.

(c) Alan Van Hooser, “The Thoughtful Pastor”, 2022 all rights reserved.

The reluctant art of waiting in faith

Your equipping skill:
Waiting in faith-persevering in prayer

I love being a pastor. My life is filled with amazing people and their stories all tangled up with my story. Today my chin is on one pillow with my forehead on another, 4 inches above my phone. As I try to speak this post into the blog, I take sips of my tea-that I couldn’t brew myself- through a straw without raising my head. I will never again take for granted the ability to sit on my little bench in the back porch enjoying my tea. I am waiting.

On the last Wednesday of August, the retina of my right eye suddenly detached. Three weeks into recovery a piece of scar tissue came loose and then a second surgery. I started all over. Four days after that, a third surgery. At this writing, 5 weeks after that first terrible tear inside my eye, I am still laying face down and waiting. The eye is stable but the ultimate outcome is uncertain. I have another 10 days to wait and, I pray, See.

Hardly the trials of Job but I sit here waiting for unseen healings, relearning how to live as I wait. From a scriptural perspective, waiting is essential to faith. From personal observation, waiting sucks.

Luke4:3 “For forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.”

Type “ 40 days Bible verses” in your search bar and you will Find someone in sucky surroundings waiting for that waiting to do God’s work. Even Jesus was not exempt. This post should take minutes, but may take days. I am being reinvented. There are no options. I wait. Waiting in Christ is never a waste! What is God teaching you in your dark night? Here are Some of the Truths that I found during a season of waiting. Try these-add your own in a reply.

Relearn to pray. Cry out to God And struggle through To find new intimacy through prayer search the psalms. An fearlessly pray the words of people that have been there.

I’m unashamed to have cried out with these words.

Treasure those people close to you and tell them often that they are appreciated and loved. Accept their help. It’s hard for me and humbling BUT the hand of a friend may be the hand of God. Simply say yes and thank you. It’ll be enough for now. You can contact them later.

Fight with all of your might against self-pity and dark thoughts. Your life depends on it.I’ve been listening through the Psalms over and over. It reinforces this very Important thing.

Live life and shorter increments. I am living An hour at a time , I get a five minute break each hour. And for hours at a time, when I stop and put in eyedrops, this makes time manageable

Occupy your mind. I could not watch TV! Recorded books for free from the library. The Bible Can be read to you by some nice person on the Internet. (Thank you Biblegateway).

Never miss an opportunity to encourage a person in need. Don’t compare wounds, just be there for someone else. You experience connects you to the injured. You have been there. I had much weakness revealed and personal darkness challenged. Share you healed heart.

I have been in the dark and now see the possibility of a greater light. I love with a pastors love and I have been strengthened through this time of waiting, some of it with reluctance. Faith has taught me that this season will not last forever. When my faith was so fragile, Jesus kept a tight grip. I am a grateful disciple.

Anything that you’re going through can be over come. God is with us all. We have never been left alone but sometimes we can only see this by looking back on this time.

I am a better person for this month of darkness and changed forever. My eye will always be at risk for injury-I trust that Faith will be there when it is needed.

You are stronger than you can see while the battle rages. Don’t give in and don’t give up. Faith is real. God is with you and so am I. You are the beloved of God.

(By the way: Glory and thanks to God and Friendship UMC. Also, Thank you Dr. Shawn Kavoussi, his assistant Catherine, and the Houston Methodist hospital. You went far beyond what you had to do. Through you all, I can see )

(C) Alan van Hooser, “thethoughtfulpastor”, 2021, all rights reserved.

Today’s GODWORD is Distraction

The daily GODWORD is a daily text or emailed blessing daily. You can receive it by sending your cell or email address to revavanhooser@ aol.com or click the follow button and read it here. No personal info. is ever shared! See the next post for background information.

Your daily Godword is distraction

Psalm 119:16 “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.”

Take 20 minutes to ponder this verse while you pray for God to re-focus today. Distractions are not optional, but we can choose to how much power they have. Alan van Hooser

Previous GODWORD’s

Your daily GODWORD is children

Matthew 21:16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “ ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

Blessed are we when we are in the presence of children. They teach us how to keep things simple. Praise! Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is fear

Luke 12:4 “I tell you, my friends, don’t be terrified by those who can kill the body but after that can do nothing more. I’ll show you whom you should fear: fear the one who, after you have been killed, has the authority to throw you into hell. Indeed, I tell you, that’s the one you should fear.

Keep your heart fearless of people that torment. Fear those who subtly turn your head. Seek God all-ways

🌀! Your daily Godword is Patience

Roman’s 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

“Patience”literally means “to suffer”. Patience in trials is God’s classroom for faith. Hang in there, find joy in troubled times knowing that God is there with you. Alan van Hooser

Louis! Your daily GODWORD is urgent
Revelation 1:3 “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.”

Prepare urgently to slow down daily life. Intensely pay attention because God is at work just as urgently. Alan van Hooser

Your daily Godword is discernment

1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Discernment is listening, testing and then taking action on what God desires rather than what we like. What does God want in your day?

Your daily Godword is certainty

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Move through life with certainty only by holding onto an unmovable God who loves and leads you. Anxiety is optional! Alan Van hooser

Todays GODWORD is Strong
Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you will go.

Prayer is portable. God make the bold strong wherever they go. Pray large today and let God be large. Alan van Hooser

Alan! Your daily GODWORD is seasons

Ecclesiastes 1:9 “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”

We did not invent trouble. It is not new and only lasts for it’s season. Pray, don’t fret. This too shall pass. Alan van hooser

Ecclesiastes 7:8 “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. “

Every project, day and life is in transition. Do not fear the ride but enjoy it instead. You are a work in progress. You will get there! Alan Van Hooser

Your daily Godword is sure

Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”

Faith in God is a gift from God. It is sure and certain and the source of all blessings. Walk in the sure-ness of His faith. Alan van Hooser

Your daily God word is bond

Ephesians 4 :1 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

May your bond and vow the unity with God and with his church. May the peace of Jesus flow from you in every breath. Alan Vanhooser

Your daily Godword is stronger

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Loving God is the source of our strength and gives the potential to God size love with one another. Love stronger today. -Alan Van hooser

Alan! Your daily GODWORD is healing

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

God is in the healing business. His healing is certain and starts with your spirit. Wait patently-healing is at hand. -Alan van Hooser

🌀! Your Sunday morning GODWORD prayers for worship

John 4:23 “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”

I’m missing Sunday worship due to COVID and feel cheated. Pray for our worship leaders and celebrate their gift to us made in Jesus name. Rejoice! Don’t take your hour for granted!

Your daily Godword is prayer

Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people”

A day of low physical energy is a day of tremendous spiritual potential. Invest your energy in prayer today. Alan Van hooser

Today I am positive for COVID for the first time. Prayers for healing for all of us who are struggling with health today! Alan.

Your daily GODWORD is Spirit

Acts 2:3 “And tongues that looked like fire appeared to them, distributing themselves, and a tongue rested on each one of them.”

Sometimes God just shows up. Is today that day for you? Invest your heart in the life of worship. Be ready! -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is finished

2 Corinthians 8:11 “But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability.”

The “it” of faith is to Know and share generously the grace Jesus shows you. Church Meetings don’t matter until this is accomplished. Alan van Hooser

your daily GODWORD is together

Acts 2:1-47 “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. “

The church is made of relationships gathered by the winds of the Spirit. Enjoy the rush, be the church. -Alan van Hooser


Your daily GODWORD is distraction
Proverbs 4:25. “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”

Toxic distraction are stealing our days. Fight for your focus with Gods word and a ready prayer. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is Monday

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

“Monday” is not a swear word but a fresh start. Stand for God and make each moment a ministry. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is healing

James 5:15 “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

Physical healing leads us to Gods real motive, the healing of our soul through forgiveness. See and share your healing today. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is Community

Galatians 6:10 “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

The life in Christ is a life together. Strengthen your community and you strengthen everyone’s faith, including yours! -Alan van Hooser

Your daily Godword is family

Psalm 127:3 “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”

Family is that reward we work the hardest for, a life sentence of satisfyingly wonderful frustration. Praise God for them all! -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is community
Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

We are stronger, smarter, happier and more faith filled when we live in community. Sharpen another’s faith and watch yours grow today! -Alan van Hooser

your daily Godword is Journey

Psalm 119:104 “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Life is a journey, the Bible a map and Jesus our flashlight. Don’t wander aimlessly in the dark. Travel confidently In Christ today. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is health

3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul”

“How is it with your soul?” Is a better question than “how’re you doin’ “ good health is being at peace. Care for soul and body today. -Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is Rehab

Ezekiel 36:26 “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”

God is the ultimate physical therapy, touching beyond the muscle to meet the soul. Take your broken heart to God today. Jesus hears you! – Alan van Hooser

Your daily GODWORD is afterward

Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Faith rules in storm and shadow. Remember to keep faith up front during fair winds and light. Walk fearlessly always and all days. -Alan van Hooser

(c) Alan Van Hooser, “The Thoughtful Pastor”, 2022 all rights reserved.

Meet the Day; Lose the “MASK”

Face coverings come in many styles ranging from industrial-disposable blue to fashion-colored bling. One man, seen at Kroger, wore one with the lower half of his own face printed on it. They help filter any COVID laden spit, can help our current crisis and certainly won’t hurt anything.   Meet the Day, Wear this MASK.

Equipping skill: being transparent with God by faith and growing in genuineness with others

There another mask that we choose to wear to make us feel safer.  This one  won’t help but does hurt and some choose to wear them anyway. This is the false face we often use to hide our true self.  I don’t mean a positive attitude in a bad situation or the courtesy of not unpacking your emotional junk in a social situation. Wear this mask, Lose the day.  This mask is the stress inducing false face that we wear before others when we think we aren’t enough.

Face coverings mess up our communications. From Travis Bradberry, (wearing masks)“…our facial expressions are blocked. And we rely on facial expressions to understand emotions when words are mismatched with tone even more than you might think. According to a UCLA study, facial expressions account for 55% of successful communication when words and tone sound inconsistent.” Protective masks can create misunderstanding in communication, whether intentional or not.

Intentional false coving is far more destructive. The energy needed to maintain it is exhausting. We eventually believe the lie and even think we can hide our true self from God. This denies access to God’s forgiveness and blocks the daily living communion with God that we desperately need. This mask tells God to step back, that we are the authors of our faith, and we lose the capacity to be genuine with God or people.

Romans 12:9-13 says, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”

This describes the true face of faith, the place of healing and the source of peace. The genuine life is loving, rejoicing, hope filled and lived in ACTION. So, live well. Cover your mouth and nose. Uncover your heart. You are His beloved, you are enough and you don’t need the false stuff. This is where true life comes from. Live it well.

Pray the REBEL’s prayer with me, “Jesus in you I am enough!”

Christian Life Hacks-INTERACTIVE

Equipping Skill: strengthening your creative spirituality. Share you creative spiritual life “hacks” in a comment below.

The Internet Universe is over stuffed with “Hacks”, clever, small actions that improve your life. There are hundreds of thousands of “Hacks” out there showing you what you have been doing wrong. With them, you can improve everything in life from peeling pomegranates to ironing shirts. This is a list of spiritual life “hacks”. You aren’t necessarily doing them wrong but you might get a little jump start and experience a bigger spiritual impact.

Some of this list was collected from other places while others are my own. This is a living document. Please add your own in the comment section!

1. Bullet Point Journaling:“BUJO” has streamlined my rather hit-or-miss journaling. Another post on this blog shares my heavily adapted system. This system of journalling systematically and efficiently uses your journal as icon, focusing your spiritual goals in everyday living. The first page is an index followed by few pages of lists and goals. Know where you have been, where you are and where you are going in Christ through them. The rest creates space for daily lists of your encounters from each day. Rather than prose, you make bullet point lists-simple, clear and focused lists. One small blank book replaced my scattered notebooks.

2. Use color in your journal: I am not all that artistic but adding a cheap assortment of colored pens to my $5 blank book keeps me in the word longer and opens me up to the scripture from a different part of my brain. Simply adding the act of doodling helps me pray more creatively and connect with the word.

3. Create a “Monday Morning Briefing”: I have several e-mail devotional sources of different perspectives that I read each Monday and glance at through the week. This is an addition to and not a replacement of Scripture and prayer. Choose two or three-A single source is thin while more than three clutters your in-box. Here are my three:Craig Groeschel-leadership, Patheos-a variety of posts that either edify or tick me off, and “Talent Smart”/Travis Bradberry-Emotional intelligence.

4. Create an email account for devotional posts: This keeps Spiritual matters from becoming lost in the pile and keeps you from checking work stuff at prayer time. My IPhone made this easy to check.

5. Keep it simple: I have chosen a small blank drawing-paper book and a small double-spaced journaling testament for morning devotions. These reside in my bag and go wherever I go. Prefer a tech solution? There are journaling apps. While I carry an Ipad and phone, I find too many distractions for my ADD to manage. Analog or digital, keep it simple and easy.

6. Create a fixed devotional space with a mobile solution: My desk at home and at work are sacred spaces. At my knee is a bag where my prayer and devotional items live. I can work on sermons or pray through an issue wherever I am. My prioritized work list and prayer list share the same space and carry the same spiritual weight. Pictured below is a $7 plain dot-lined journal from Walmart and a $25 wide margin journaling Bible. They work without wearing out my main study Bible.

7. Make a photo of a critical prayer matter and use it as phone wallpaper: My kids, grands and church family rotate across the front of my phone as a reminder to pray and not just talk about praying. Even if you are just praying about bad weather, keep it up front.

8. Bookend your day with God: Condition yourself to make prayer your first conscious thought and a disciplined habit of your final thought as you go to sleep. This simple habit will change your life in Christ.

9. Turn those daily repetitive task into prayer time: I hate unloading the dishwasher and folding clothes but look forward to the prayer time. These mindless tasks are exceptionally rich times for prayer. The old monks worked with their hands while they prayed. We can make any space sacred.

10. Make Lists: In your journal, make Lists of Books read, edifying movies watched, Bible verses by topic, birds watched, prayers answered, and whatever else that provides focus and depth for your devotional time.

11. Own a Psalm: Choose one psalm, pray through it until you own it, then choose another. This is God’s own devotional book and will open you up to spiritual riches.

12. Have and be a prayer partner: Devotional time is solitary but you were never meant to travel along. Find your intercessor then be available to someone else. NOTHING opens a disciple of Jesus up to deeper things like blessing another person in prayer.

13. Have a place with a purpose. Pray in the same place daily. Mine is a bench on the back porch. Other friends claim the car, bathtub, a Cubicle office drawer, a special chair, closet, or space by a window as that space where their body is trained to pray. You can decorate it lavishly or keep it secret as needed.