As soon as someone says, “God told me to do it,” our internal alarms go off. Often we hear this phrase on the news in the context of someone who has done some unspeakable act, claiming God told them to do it.
Our experience has taught us that God does not speak to us in words and absolutes. So when someone claims an actual conversation with God, we are naturally wary.
But if we can’t rely on God to speak to us from the clouds, how do we know God is responding at all? If prayer is a conversation with God, how do we know what God is saying?
Truly prayerful people maintain that God speaks to each one of us loudly and clearly, but that often we either aren’t listening or have not been taught how to listen for God. God speaks to us in many ways in our lives. The more we open our hearts to prayer and communication with God, the more readily we are able to listen.
Through other people: Amy, a mother of three school-age children, says that as she has deepened her prayer life through praying the rosary, Mass attendance, and conversation with God throughout her day, God’s voice has been more evident through her interaction with others. “The more I pray, the easier it is to see signs from God that others may bring to me,” she says. She tells of a time that she was struggling to decide whether to go back to work as an attorney or continue to stay home with her children. “I was very torn and turned my decision over to God,” she says.
Within a few days, a casual acquaintance gave her a bookmark. Written in calligraphy on the bookmark was the word Lawyer. “My friend had not even known that I used to be an attorney. She told me that she just thought I’d like the bookmark, but didn’t know why.” Amy took this as a sign that she should go back to work, feeling a sense of peace about her decision. She knows, though, that much is lost in the re-telling of her story. “The problem with talking about signs from God is that reducing an event to words cheapens it,” she says. “This sounds like such a small thing, but when it happens to you, it feels real and important.”
—by Annemarie Scobey from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the 2012 Best in Class award from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for the past three years running. Here’s a sample issue.
We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.
And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.