I keep returning to this quote from Henri Nouwen:
Many voices ask for our attention. There is a voice that says, “Prove that you are a good person.” Another voice says, “You’d better be ashamed of yourself.” There also is a voice that says, “Nobody really cares about you,” and one that says, “Be sure to become successful, popular, and powerful.” But underneath all these often very noisy voices is a still, small voice that says, “You are my Beloved, my favor rests on you.” That’s the voice we need most of all to hear. To hear that voice, however, requires special effort; it requires solitude, silence, and a strong determination to listen.
That’s what prayer is. It is listening to the voice that calls us “my Beloved.”
Let us consider creating space today to attentively listen to the still small voice which speaks these words of love. Perhaps we will hear it in a popular song, or as we meditate on a passage of scripture. The phycologist Greg Thompson encourages us to engage in an imaginative exercise based on the gospel accounts of Jesus’ baptism. He invites us to take time to imagine ourselves in a beautiful place, taking in the sights sounds and smells. In this place we notice Jesus, and notice how he sees us and how he seems to us. Then, we hear him speak to us the word he heard from his heavenly Father, ‘You, [insert your name] are my child. I’m so glad you are alive in this world.” As we engage in this kind of prayerful excise over days and even weeks, many have testified that we are changed, restored and renewed by the transforming love of God.