Margaret Feinberg: Listen for 'The Sacred Echo'
By Paula Friedrichsen
CBN.com Margaret Feinberg is a critically acclaimed writer and popular speaker. She was named one of the “30 Emerging Voices” who will help lead the church in the next decade by Charisma Magazine. Margaret spends more than 150 days a year on the road speaking, and is particularly popular among college students and young adults. She has written more than a dozen books including The Organic God (Zondervan 2007). Her latest writing endeavor is The Sacred Echo (Zondervan 2008), which I recently read and reviewed. I found her newest book to be a treasure trove of sparkly little nuggets of truth and “ahh haa” moments.
I recently had the pleasure of talking with Margaret Fineberg—and she was just as interesting, intense, humorous, and intelligent as I has suspected from reading her book.
Margaret, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to me today. In a nutshell, what do you hope to see accomplished in people's lives as they read The Sacred Echo?
I hope that they begin to discover God’s voice in their lives not just as a whisper but as an echo. My prayer is that they will begin to recognize God’s persistent voice and enter into a deeper relationship with God through His Word.
This isn’t the first book you’ve written on prayer. Why did you feel compelled to write another book on this topic?
My first book about prayer, God Whispers: Learning to Hear His Voice (Relevant Books 2002), took a nuts and bolt approach to recognizing those moments God speaks, but since then I’ve grown in my prayer life and relationship with God. And I’ve been discovering that when God speaks he often speaks more as an echo than a whisper. He’ll say the same thing again and again. When I listen for the echo I walk more fully into all that He has for me. I felt like this was a message that others needed to hear and the response has been overwhelming.
The first chapter is titled, “I love you”. Why start with I love you when writing about prayer and the Christian life?
Well, because that is the most foundational and essential echo of all. God speaks “I love you” into all of our lives in more ways than we can count. And when “I love you” is alive in our hearts it truly transforms the way we treat, respond, and interact with others.
How can we be sure that echoes are coming from God?
The first and most important way is to ask, ‘Does what I am hearing line up with Scripture?’ The Bible serves as our primary gauge and filter for determining whether or not something is from God. If you feel led to do something that goes against God’s commands, then it isn’t from Him. God doesn’t tell people to steal, embezzle, gossip, brag, or put others down. He is in the business of loving and redeeming mankind.
In the beginning of chapter three you say, If prayer is one part speaking and one part listening, I think there’s a third part people don’t talk about as often; waiting. Margaret, why do you think God makes us wait for answers to prayer a lot of the time?
Waiting is hard, but it does so much. Waiting reminds us that it’s not all about us—we are part of something greater God is doing in our communities, world, and even history. Waiting also beckons us to a deeper relationship with Him. Waiting grows our faith, brings issues to the surface, and lets us practice what we say we believe.
What are some things that Christians can do to nurture intimacy with God?
There’s nothing like spending time in God’s Word. The Bible is like a megaphone for God’s people, and we will never hear His voice as loud or as clear as when we spend time in the Scripture. In addition, prayer is a wonderful way to nurture intimacy with God. It isn’t always easy…speaking honestly, listening carefully, and waiting for God to respond. But the pursuit of a relationship with God through prayer is so rewarding.
Why do you think people are afraid to ask God their most intimate or most scandalous questions?
Sometimes I think we’re afraid God can’t handle it. We’re afraid to take our disappointment, pain, and hurt to Him because we feel betrayed, angry, or miffed at God. Yet, when we hold back, we often do more damage to ourselves and our relationships than we could possibly imagine. God is strong enough to take our deepest doubts and most scandalous questions. He is big enough. And He is not surprised. I believe going to God is the healthiest thing we can do!
What is the single most important lesson or truth you’d like your readers to take away from The Sacred Echo?
I hope readers find themselves connecting with God like never before and recognizing His voice in their lives in the mundane and the unexpected. I hope that people will find themselves diving into Scripture and getting to know God’s Word until it comes alive in their hearts and lives. I hope readers find themselves infused with the hope and joy that can only come from knowing God.
To read more pick up a copy of The Sacred Echo.
Read a review of her book
More book excerpts and author interviews on CBN.com
Blog: Book Bytes
Paula Friedrichsen is a writer and speaker who lives in Central California with her family. Visit her Web site at www.PFMinistries.com.
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