I want to hear the Master’s voice

I want to hear the Master’s voice

By John Wesley —  May 13, 2014

In John chapter 10, Jesus said two things that may speak to the heart of everyone who seeks to hear God’s voice.  Verse 3b-4 says: “The Sheep hear his voice; he calls his own sheep by name.  When he has brought out all of his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice.”  Later, in verse 10, Jesus says: “I have come that they may have life and may have it more abundantly.”

Hearing God’s voice is a gift that he gives us in a variety of ways:

  • Occasionally God speaks to individuals in an audible way;
  • He speaks through the Scripture —  reading it; meditating on it and studying it; hearing it taught and preached;
  • Using Contemplative practices such as Contemplative Prayer, Labyrinth walking and many others.  Some skeptics try to persuade Christians to stay away from Contemplative Practices, saying that they are either “of the devil” or that they are based in and more attuned to religious groups such as Buddhists and other non-Christian religions.[1]  The fact is that most of what we call Contemplative practices have been used from early in the life of the Christian Church. “The first appearance of something approximating contemplative prayer arises in the 4th century writings of the monk St. John Cassian, (a Catholic mystic) who wrote of a practice he learned from the Desert Fathers.”[2]  So, despite the pathetic and ill-informed attempts of certain segments of the Christian faith to discredit contemplative practices as valid ways of hearing God’s voice, (1) Contemplative Practice is not a “new age heresy”; nor does it attempt to lead Christians away from the basic concept of all prayer practice, which is to make a personal connection with God.  One issue that is difficult to defend against is that some Contemplative practices (like Lectio Divina and Labyrinth Prayer walking) are more “subjective” than many Conservative Christians are comfortable with —  i.e. the interpretation that results from the use of these methods depends on what I believe I have “heard”, “seen”, “sensed”, perceived” or “experienced”.  While Conservative Christians would claim that this should be conclusive “proof” that Contemplative practices are not “orthodox” (i.e. because they are subjective and not specifically mentioned in the Bible – if they bothered to read anything with academic credibility, they would discover that most Christians who use Contemplative practices do so to connect with God and always allow God to take the initiative in infusing the connection with meaningful spiritual content.


I would appreciate and enjoy hearing your comments and responses.



[1][1] Narloch, Christine, “Contemplative Prayer: Seducing Spirits and the Doctrine of Devils.” (May 2, 2006)

[2] The 101 of Contemplative PrayerReprinted via Empowered By Christ