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Encountering God through Contemplation: Listening for the Spirit | POD 026

Encountering God through Contemplation: Listening for the Spirit | POD 026

WATCH

HOSTS & GUESTS

Nydiaris Hernandez-Santos – Guest

Gabe Coyle – Guest

Bill Gorman – Host

 

Show Notes

Encountering God through Contemplation: Listening for the Spirit

Have you ever wondered how to find a moment of divine peace in the chaos of daily life? Together with our guest, Nydiaris Hernandez-Santos, we explore the transformative journey through the discipline of contemplation—distinct from prayer and meditation—and how it can lead us to a more profound awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our daily lives. Drawing from Psalm 63, the wisdom of Christian mystics, and stories from our own lives, we uncover the power of contemplation to connect us more closely to God. We confront the modern challenge of silence in a noisy world and consider how the practice of contemplation is both the road we travel and the destination we seek. Join us for a conversation that promises to enrich and realign our approach to spiritual disciplines and our understanding of what it means to truly be with Jesus.

 

THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  1. Understanding Contemplation: Begin by setting aside regular time for stillness to engage with God. Embrace the art of contemplation, distinct from prayer and meditation in its focus on simply being with Jesus. Pay loving attention to His presence and let the Holy Spirit’s influence become a perceptible force in your life. Minimize distractions and commit to this discipline with intentionality, allowing the peace and presence of God to suffuse your being.
  2. Real-Life Experiences: Open your heart to the possibility of encountering God in all aspects of life — from family interactions to personal reflections inspired by art. Take inspiration from our guest’s stories and be prepared for unexpected moments of spiritual revelation. Encourage yourself to stay alert and responsive to the divine presence in seemingly mundane experiences.
  3. The Value and Practice of Contemplation: Acknowledge contemplation not just as a practice but as a lens through which you view the world. It is a holistic approach that calls for extending grace, compassion, and empathy towards others, drawing on examples like Psalm 63 to seek God earnestly in all circumstances. Let the practice of contemplation guide you to a deeper level of communion with God, and let that connection inform your interactions and perspective on the world.

#RomansContemplation #SpiritualDisciplines #HolySpiritPresence #PrayerMuscle #TransformativeJourney #ChristianMystics #ContemplativePractices #ScriptureMeditation #theFormedLifePodcast #BeingWithGod

 

RESOURCES:

The Practice of the Presence of God | Brother Lawrence

Interior Castle | St. Teresa of Ávila

Dark Night of the Soul | St. John of the Cross

Desert Fathers and Mothers: Early Christian Wisdom Sayings – Annotated & Explained by Christine Valters Paintner

The Way of the Heart: Connecting with God Through Prayer, Wisdom, and Silence  | Henri Nouwen

Psalm 63:1-5 | Scripture Reference for Meditation

 

GUEST BIOS:

Nydiaris Hernández-Santos grew up in a small coastal town in Puerto Rico, surrounded by mountains and a beautiful community of people that deeply shaped her faith. A fascination with science led her to pursue a B.S. in Biology/Microbiology at the University of Puerto Rico, which resulted in a two-year internship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda M.D. Her passion for germs and the immune system led her to pursue a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Pittsburgh and subsequent postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Nydiaris loves to learn and study! Her life turned one hundred and eighty degrees when the Lord asked her to pursue ministry and her passion for preaching in a more traditional way which included pursuit of an M. Div. degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Nydiaris loves meeting new people and deep conversations. She also loves music, particularly her beloved Latin American tunes. If you are a passenger in her car, you will likely hear some salsa or Latin jazz playing. A long walk, good food, a nurturing book, and passionate prayer are her version of spa treatment.

 

QUOTES:

“So that there is something that contemplating God does that grounds you so that when hardship comes, when difficult times come, you’re not tossing around like a wave. You have something, a foundation to be grounded in and so you can do life with God.” — Nydiaris Hernández-Santos

 

“There is a reason Jesus said that we had to pray for our enemies, and that that is hard. Yes. But I’m thinking when I think about contemplating God through people, and I’m like, oh, that’s why. Because you will end up loving them after you contemplate God through them.” — Nydiaris Hernández-Santos

 

 “What it really is is to sit in prayer with no other objective than to be with Jesus. Yeah. You have no agendas for intercession, no list. Yeah. You simply have a phrase and the other day I did this… with the sole purpose of sitting there being with Jesus, and that’s that’s all there is.” — Nydiaris Hernández-Santos

 

CHAPTERS:

00:00 Exploring transformative journeys through Romans 6-8.

05:57 Attend to God, notice, and contemplate him.

10:02 Contemplation grounds, provides strength, approaching spiritual disciplines.

12:11 Love nature, art, and contemplation of God.

16:29 Finding direction and quiet in a noisy world.

18:45 Symone Wey leaned in and found God’s presence.

21:02 Finding hope and purpose in everyday life.

25:13 Revelations about God’s love for people.

29:42 Contemplative prayer teaches being with God, impacting relationships.

32:17 Contemplation: image, love, engagement, discipline, transformation, road.

Five Reasons to Practice Solitude

Five Reasons to Practice Solitude

Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. John 16:12

We are afraid of being alone. So much of our self-worth and self-image is tied to what others think about us. We can so easily fill our schedules with other people and activities to keep us busy. Even when no one else is physically around, the whole world is just one click or swipe away. We can endlessly distract ourselves with noise and images from TV, social media, music, podcasts, and so much more in this digital age. We use other people, endless activity, and entertaining technology to keep ourselves from ever truly being alone.

The intentional practice of solitude can be scary, but it has deeply formed Jesus-followers for over two-thousand years. Here are five reasons to engage in the discipline of solitude.

 

 

1. Jesus practiced solitude.

 

As disciples of Jesus, our goal is to become like him. We must imitate our master Jesus or that to happen. He was not afraid to be alone because he knew his Father was with him. He practiced the discipline of solitude daily throughout his life to commune with God, even as others would clamor for his attention (Mark 1:32-39). As Jesus approached the most difficult week of his life that would culminate in death and abandonment, he ultimately trusted his loving Father to meet him there.


2. Solitude teaches us to rely on God for identity and not others.


Whether it be a positive review from your boss or your friend’s laughter after telling a joke, it is so easy to rely on the opinions of others for our sense of self-worth. Intentionally taking time to be alone and connect with God through prayer and Scripture reading can teach ourselves to find identity in Christ and not in others. This is what Jesus did even at the height of his ministry so that he would not be caught up in others’ expectations of him (Luke 5:15-16). Jesus’ identity firmly rooted in God’s love empowered his ministry toward others.


3. Solitude empowers us to be present with God and others.


If you’re like me, perhaps you’ve found that your attention span steadily decreased as you began carrying your smartphone more. Technology has complicated the practice of solitude because we are never more than a swipe away from superficial connections with others. The intentional practice of solitude to remove ourselves from distractions like technology can clear our minds of distracting thoughts, and retrain our brains to have longer attention spans. This enables us to be present with God while reading the Bible and praying. It can also change our habits and patterns so that we can be more attentive as we interact with others. 


4. Solitude can open us up to the Holy Spirit’s gentle correction.


Often the fear of solitude stems from unresolved guilt and shame. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “We are so afraid of silence that we chase ourselves from one event to the next in order to not have to spend a moment alone with ourselves, in order to not have to look at ourselves in the mirror.” As God’s beloved children, there is no need to fear shame or judgment from him (Hebrews 4:16). When we are alone with God without anything to use as a distraction, God’s Spirit can reveal ways we are living and thinking that are different from the abundant life God wants for us. In solitude, we can confess these things and receive God’s forgiveness and empowerment to change.


5. Solitude develops contentment within us.


As we sit alone with God, we can develop a sense of contentment in him. Other pleasures or accolades can be seen in proper perspective to God. Practicing gratitude in this time of solitude can shift the focus from what you don’t have to how God has already blessed and sustained you. This contentment reminds us of God’s love for us and empowers us to say “no” to lesser things that ultimately won’t satisfy us.

As we enter this season of Lent, preparing to celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection, we invite you to join us in a seven-week journey to experience greater intimacy with God through the discipline of solitude. This study is available at theFormed.life, an online daily devotional resource to deepen your relationship with God and build habits of spiritual discipline. 

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