Workshop Summary: Is That You God? It’s Me
How God Speaks to Moses in the Bible
Fr. Nick walks through the story of Moses as an example of talking to God through the burning bush (Exodus 2:33).
God takes initiative in starting a conversation with us.
- God saw the suffering of His people and this was the context to which He reached out to Moses through the burning bush
- He is a father who loves us and is concerned about our suffering
Moses was standing on holy ground.
- Moses was in his regular life when God reached out to him. God does the same thing with us—we can encounter God in the midst of busyness in life
- God speaks to us in the extraordinary and the ordinary
- Prayer is gradual and gentle. God often speaks through our hearts, thoughts, nature, scripture, other people, etc.
God turns prayer into a moment of action.
- Prayer is always connected to change and a way of bringing God’s presence back out into the world
- He wants us to be His hands and feet
Moses is open and honest with God.
- Moses makes five objections showing us that we can be honest with God (Who am I to do this mission? Who do I say you are? I can’t speak well, etc.)
- God reveals himself more to Moses in his authenticity and vulnerability
Conclusion: God wants us to be authentic and open in our conversation with Him. It is a continual and ongoing conversation. This is how we discover more of God and His plan for us.
“Prayer—oh I keep plugging away at. At best, it’s like being in a dark room with someone you love. You can’t see them but you know they are there.” - Cardinal Basil Hume
Understanding How God Speaks To Us Directly
Eric approaches prayer with the metaphor of a father and his children.
Kids ask parents for things a lot and we try to help them, encourage them, and provide a resolution. Other times they ask bigger questions and sometimes they require more care and sometimes many conversations. And then sometimes, we as parents initiate a conversation with them to help direct them. The same goes for God. Relationship and prayer with God can be diverse just like this.
We have to know God to hear His voice.
- Do we know his character? Do we know the language He speaks to His people?
- Just like the example above, we can’t expect to receive exactly what we’re looking for every time we ask
- Everyone has different versions and interpretations of what a father figure looks like. If we haven’t had that loving experience from our father, it’s easy to experience unbelief and project our human relationships onto God.
What words describe your image of God?
- Loving or distant Father
- Faithful and caring Friend
What words describe your relation to God?
- God does want to speak to us and he wants to do it in a variety of different ways
Be aware of who God is and who He wants to be in your life.
- He cares deeply for you and wants to be involved in your life
- Be aware of the ways God could speak to you (see above)
- Take time to figure out who God is so we can better understand what is He saying.
- Stamp in your mind and heart what you were just aware of and what you understood
Verses for Reference
- Jeremiah 29:12
- Isaiah 49:15-16
- Galatians 5:22
"Prayer is heart speaking to heart; it’s a relationship we can have with God.” - Eric Chow
We encourage you to start with being in the Gospel every day. You can find Daily Readings here.
What happens when God shouts out? Does that mean I’m not paying attention?
- We turn to God often in times of need and difficulty. This is about something more loud happening in our life and that is a loud experience. In daily practice, it’s more like a gentle wave.
Are you talking about speaking to the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit?
- In Eric’s example, we are mostly speaking to the Father and Child relationship. But when we speak to God, we are speaking to the Trinity. Understanding that they have a role in our lives and we can interact with God in a variety of different ways.
How does one heal a skewed image of God?
- It’s a lifelong journey. It is about taking the time to go into scriptures and understand who God is and his character (see Moses' story). For Eric, it was about taking the time to write down those incorrect images because keeping it in his head is harder to process. When he started saying it out loud, He started to free himself from it. He then took it to prayer, asking for a new understanding.
How do I know it’s from God and not from me?
- It’s like talking with a friend about an idea. As you continue talking, it’s not always clear who came up with it in the first place but we know in that conversation, the idea was born. It’s a result of having a relationship with God.
- Take time to reflect and evaluate it against what you are experiencing—do you feel peace, love, joy? Look for the fruits of the Spirit.
Do you have recommendations for finding peace and silence in a world with so many distractions?
- Eric takes a multifaceted approach. A prayer corner, a schedule where he knows is quieter than other times, and a specific time where he can get away into the woods, etc.
- Part 2 of this workshop will expand on this
When God says something and you don’t understand, where do you go to sort out the answer?
- With Moses, he didn’t understand right away. So he asked questions. We can continue to speak to God, remembering it's a conversation. We also have the opportunity to grow in faith that God has a good plan and reveal to us what we need to know.
There is always a small voice telling me what to do and not to do—is that God’s voice? My conscious? Guardian angel?
- The conscious is the sacred voice inside us. It’s a gift. We have to train it but also pay attention to it.
You can watch Part 2 and Part 3 of this workshop below.