Because individuals who gather to help a person with discernment share in a sacred trust, they are asked to place a high priority on the responsibilities involved. A discerner can do the following things in order to remain in a state of readiness:
- Attend periodic meetings of the discernment ministry team. These are opportunities to practice discernment in relation to group concerns.
- Periodically re-read Listening Hearts, 20th Anniversary Edition and the first six chapters of Grounded in God.
- Prayerfully review Chapters 1 through 7 and Appendices 1 and 2 of Listening Hearts, 20th Anniversary Edition in preparation for each discernment session. Pay particular attention to Chapter 5, “Is It God We Are Hearing?” and review it, since the purpose of discernment is to distinguish God’s voice from other voices. Also re-read Chapter 5 of Grounded in God for further review of the Signs of the Spirit. And finally, go to the Listening Hearts website: www.listeninghearts.org and print out Chapter 8 of A Primer on Spiritual Discernment (Signs of the Spirit) to use for handy reference.
- Pay careful attention to discernment procedures so that everyone in the group works as a unit. Discerners (with the focus person) “gather together, not for discussion or dialogue, but for prayer. The prayer is in silence, in listening, in waiting for the Lord to speak through us. The end is not decision-making; but to walk with the Lord while living the question. The way is not through counseling techniques, advice or commentary, but through prayerful, simple questions asked only after quiet reflection.” (Listening Hearts, 20th Anniversary Edition, p. 72).
- Remember the importance of consensus in discernment. Consensus is implied if no one feels that another meeting is needed.
- Pray in preparation for and during the course of each meeting.
- Bring an appointment calendar to each meeting.
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