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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Deep and Wide


 by Dina Sleiman

Deep and wide, deep and wide.
There’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.

Throughout this prayer series, I’ve been talking about how to tap into that flow of the Holy Spirit, and how to develop an intimate relationship with God. Thinking about that river of life, that fountain of living water, calls to mind the traditional Sunday school song above. It reminds me that in addition to going deep into God’s word and prayer as I’ve been encouraging us to do, it’s also important to go wide. So let’s look at deep and wide in reference to our prayer and devotion time in several areas.

Personal Communication with God
Most of the topics I’ve been writing about for the past few months have encouraged you to go deep into your prayer life, spending quality intimate time with God. Check my bi-weekly Thursday posts or my personal blog for more info in this area.

However, it’s also important to go wide in our communication with God. To always have him in our hearts. To direct our thoughts to him throughout our day. In this way a concern becomes a petition. Joyful moments become a time of praise. Thankful moments an act of worship. Painful moments a sacred encounter. Remember to keep your thoughts continually tuned to God, but to take that deep time to really focus on him and listen for direction as well.

Another area we should remember to go deep is in spiritual warfare. When under attack from the enemy, it is important to take out that shield of faith and that sword of the spirit of the word of God and to go on the offensive to do battle in spiritual realm, giving quality time and attention to the issue. 

Intercession for Others
Similar to personal communication with God, we should be regularly sending petitions to him for those we encounter throughout the day. When we hear an ambulance siren or see a crashed car, take a moment to whisper up a prayer. When we hear about a sick child on facebook or see someone looking sad in the grocery line, offer up a petition.

But we should also take time to go deep into prayer for other people, offering them before the Lord. Holding them in the light of his glorious presence. Speaking scripture promises and blessings over their lives, and going to battle in the spirit for them as well.

Bible Reading
In one of my posts I talked about an ancient Bible reading technique called lectio divina. This calls us to read small sections of scripture, taking time to mediate and picture specific words or phrases that stand out and shimmer to us. Incorporating prayer and listening into our Bible reading time. I love this technique. It truly brings God’s word alive. Another great way to go deep into God’s word is by memorizing scripture. Finally, copying it in your own handwriting is great for getting God’s word deep into your heart.

But it is also important to go wide in God’s word. To make sure that you’ve read the whole Bible, hopefully several times. We should know the voice of the good shepherd and not follow that of a stranger. The best way to learn God’s voice is by reading his word in large chunks. All of the techniques I’ve mentioned for hearing God’s personal voice and direction work best when you are well-acquainted with God’s written word.

And these days there are so many opportunities to go wide in God’s word. You can listen to scripture on CD while driving or exercising. You can read the Bible in multiple translations online. My church has held Bible reading marathons where people take turns reading the scriptures out loud. If I remember right, you can read through the entire Bible in a 24 hour marathon.

Praise and Worship
We can also go both deep and wide in praise and worship. I think most Christians know about focused praise and worship through music on Sunday mornings. However, it is also a huge blessing to your mind and your spirit to keep praise and worship playing in the background throughout the day whenever possible.

You know, this whole topic of deep and wide is similar to what we call quality time versus quantity time. And since experts have argued over which is more important in relationships, I think it’s safe to assume that both are essential. We need to know God on a deep level, but we need that quantity time spent with him and his word as well for familiarity and a sense of closeness.

So remember to go both deep and wide with your prayer and devotion.

Which are you better at spending in relationships, quality time or quantity time? Which do you find more important? What are the benefits of each? Please share any of your personal tips for going deep and/or wide with God.

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 Dina Sleiman writes lyrical stories that dance with light. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. She was the Overall Winner in the 2009 Touched by Love contest for unpublished authors. Her first novel, Dance of the Dandelion, will release with Whitefire Publishing in 2011. She has recently become an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire as well. Join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace. For more info visit her at http://dinasleiman.com/

15 comments:

  1. Hey Dina, I don't have any music going on in the background - worship or otherwise throughout the day. My world is very noisy but after several hours when I become aware of every little nuance of my computer, things that run on electricity in the room clicking on, etc, I realize it's only noisy in the storyworld of my head.

    However, since I stopped having the radio and tv, etc always in the background, I find myself waking to songs of praise. They're usually songs I heard on Sunday, or ones Nick and Nelson have been practising for an upcoming Sunday. Sometimes it's from CD's they've been listening to in the van... but I'll wake with a worship song and it'll stay with me throughout the day. I like that.

    It's almost as if God has picked a song and placed it in my head so it's waiting for me when I rise. Instant recognition that He's given me a new day. Instant knowledge that He'll be with me all day long. Instand awareness of Him. :)

    Anita mae.

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  2. That's awesome, Anita. That's the whole point. Living in the awareness of God.

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  3. Great post, Dina.

    I feel I need both quantity and quality with relationships. While I need deep time with my precious relationships (God, family, friends), hanging out is important, too. Every prayer doesn't have to be "quality." (Thank goodness.)

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  4. I get both deep and wide communion through praise and worship. Nothing else helps me feel God's presence nearly as much, and it's something I can take with me throughout the day, no matter what else I'm doing. :)

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  5. DeAnna, for most of my life worship, including worship dance, were my primary way of relating to God. But in recent years I've really enjoyed contemplative prayer and journaling as well.

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  6. What a wonderful expansion on the familiar song. It's true that we need both. For me, I have gone through seasons - sometimes more focused on the 'quality' sometimes on the 'quantity'; sometimes focusing more on praise and worship and other times more on study, meditation, or intercession. I suppose this ebb and flow is okay, as long as the pendulum doesn't swing too far on either side. 'http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com

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  7. I think it's all about having that relationship, although there are many ways we can express it.

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  8. Very nice, Dina. I expect you can pull all this prayer series together for something bigger than our blog. They've been wonderful.

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  9. Thanks, Deb. I've been putting them all on my personal blog and I'll probably collect them up from there.

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  10. I know it's odd for me to espouse a truly traditional method, but I've found following a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year program has been extremely beneficial for me over the years when it comes to putting the Word in my heart so it's available when I need it!

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  11. Dina, just like all your other posts in this series, I love this so much.

    When I was younger, I thrived on quantity. Now it's quality all the way. However, if something is of high quality - then it's lovely to have it in large quantity. :)

    I do have praise and worship music always on in my car and at work.

    Thank you for inspiring me, Dina - as always. :)

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  12. Niki, no reason to avoid tradition if it works. LOL.

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  13. Suzie, I think the key is that it be a joy and not a chore, don't you?

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  14. Yes, my dear. I totally agree. Stay warm, dry, and safe!

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