devozine

Spiritual Practice

Can We Talk?

Angela Gay Kinkead

The spiritual practice of Christian conversation takes place when two or more Christians intentionally discuss their faith and talk with one another about seeking wisdom and God’s will.

 

devozine Talking with Parents TS 78631212I hear it several times a day. I hear it in humble moments, in voices that are sincere and searching: “Can we talk?” 

My work as a college chaplain puts me in a good place to have a lot of Christian conversations. Sometimes conversations are spontaneous, when paths cross and a brief “hello” results in conversation. Sometimes a student will come by my office or will email me: “Can we talk?”

The spiritual practice of Christian conversation takes place when two or more Christians intentionally discuss their faith and talk with one another about seeking wisdom and God’s will. Christian conversation means that we are in fellowship with other Christians, supporting and praying for one another, listening to and learning from one another, as together we listen and learn from Christ.

 

Passageways for God’s Love

John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, talked about “Christian conferencing.” He explained that God has set up passageways so that God’s love can be made known to us immediately. Prayer is one; another is reading the Bible. When John Wesley added Christian conferencing to his list of holy habits through which God can quickly get into the middle of our lives, he wanted us to remember that we can’t be faithful alone. Living the Christian life together is important. God’s grace, God’s unconditional love for us, can flow through the passageways more easily when we practice our spirituality with other people. We grow when, with other Christians, we listen for God’s voice and God’s direction.

Listening Teen TS 117872812Christians should learn how to have Christian conversations. We should practice carefully watching over one another in love. We can do that by agreeing to support each other and to hold each other accountable for the ways we strive to be like Jesus. When we practice Christian conversation, we discover ways to grow in our love of God, neighbors, and one another.

 

DIG DEEPER

Think of a hot topic or a question about God that you want to understand better. Gather together a small group of Christian friends. Remind them that Christian conversation involves

  • discussing thoughts and feelings,
  • listening with the heart,
  • prayer to hear God in the conversation,
  • supporting one another,
  • being trustworthy and responsible.

 

devozine praying circle124820010Begin the conversation with silence or prayer. Pray that God’s light will shine in the discussion so that everyone will learn God’s ways.

Try letting one person talk without interruption for five minutes. Silence is OK. Remember that the group is listening for God’s word. When five minutes have passed, invite people to ask questions that help clarify what they have heard. Take turns talking and listening.

Afterward, talk together about the experience. What was surprising? puzzling? disappointing? challenging? intriguing? inspirational? What helped you to know God and to grow in faith?

Angela Gay Kinkead , Dean of the Chapel at West Virginia Wesleyan College, has a real heart for young people and is always available for a good conversation.

— from Devo’Zine (May/June 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Upper Room Ministries. All rights reserved.

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