Lord Your Servant is Listening: Using Listening Prayer as a Means for Discerning the Call to Vocational Ministry
ABSTRACT FREDDYE G. JAMES LORD, YOUR SERVANT IS LISTENING: USING LISTENING PRAYER AS A MEANS FOR DISCERNING THE CALL TO VOCATIONAL MINISTRY Under the direction of DENISE M. MASSEY, PH.D. Discerning whether or not women and men have received a call to ministry from God has been difficult historically. Listening to God’s voice requires one be in relationship with God and be intentional about the pursuit of hearing. This research was designed to use listening prayer, a type of contemplative prayer, to help the five young men and women of Ministry Apprenticeship Necessary for Tactical Leadership Development (MANTLE) at Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral(WOF) use listening prayer as a tool to hear from God regarding if they have been called to vocational ministry. This group was selected for this research project because of their selection for leadership development at WOF. Group members met for six sessions to learn about listening prayer, the call to vocational ministry, and to practice listening prayer exercises. A pre-project survey, group observation notes, post-project survey, group members’ oral reports from journaling, and an experiential paper from each group member were used to generate data. The qualitative data was analyzed by coding. While this study was not designed to provide results with statistical significance, listening prayer, when understood and practiced consistently, is profitable as a tool for discerning the ministerial call. All group members heard from God regarding a call to vocational ministry, four affirmatively and one who did not hear but intends to continue to listen. This study gave participants a means to hear from God and cultivate an ongoing dialogue in the context of an intimate friendship with God. The positive results point to the need for further study on the topic.
James, Freddye G