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Matthew 6:5-34
Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him! (Matthew 6:8).

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Read 1 Samuel 3:1-15 and consider the circumstances surrounding his encounter with God. What’s more familiar to you: the voice of man or the voice of the Lord?

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How much time do you spend listening to God each day? What are some of the challenges you face when it comes to listening to Him?

I have recently noticed that I am adept at a skill that should not be celebrated. I pretend to listen. Whether it’s a loss of focus because we’re planning what to say next in a heated debate or the random derailed train of thought amidst a casual conversation, I doubt that I’m the only one who excels in this gifting. Sometimes, realizing I have no idea what has been said, I will listen more carefully in the hopes of covering my lack of attention; other times, I simply tell on myself because I have no idea where the conversation has been.

When it comes to communication, few of us lose focus when we’re the ones talking—it’s the listening that creates difficulties. The same could be said for prayer.

We have our agendas of what we want God to know about our lives, our lists of prayer requests we offer for others, and a general expectation of what we hope to gain from our time with Him. While Scripture teaches us that persistence is valuable in prayer (Luke 11:5-10), we can begin to live out that Scripture (and others that deal with prayer) through our voice and not our heart.

Even the Lord’s Prayer, while it provides a model for us to know what to say, must be encountered not simply through what we speak but also by what we hear. We ask for His kingdom, will, and provision, but then we must listen to the particulars of how we should live this out in our daily lives. Listening is difficult, not only for the intangible attention it requires, but also for the willingness to put others before ourselves.

We can look for God’s hand and miss His heart, but we will never miss His hand when we listen for His heart (Matthew 6:33).

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Revelation 1:1-20

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10 Responses to “listening”

  1. dossk says:

    Dear Regina What a lovely reminder for Christian workers & Pastors. The church membership tripled over a period of 2 years, when the pastor was willing to listen to the congregation intently & with loving care, while counseling. The art of listening is much needed talent these days than speaking.

    • Dear dossk,

      With all of the information that comes at us in any given time period, it’s no wonder we can often see our interactions with others as another task to accomplish. As you’ve shared, true listening means setting aside our agendas.

  2. Sandy says:

    You did it again. Guilty! Thanks for your faithfulness and allowing God to speak to my heart, so I can listen.

  3. roxanne robbins says:

    Thank you for emphasizing the importance of listening, particularly to God.

    • Dear Roxanne,

      I love what you’ve pointed out–He’s the One who ultimately matters. Secular society knows how to put forth good precepts for building better relationships, but only Jesus holds the answers for eternity.

  4. mike wittmer says:

    This is a timely reminder that listening is active and takes effort. I think we should be glad that prayer takes effort, because that means we have a chance to show God how much he means to us.

    • Dear Mike,

      I have often been guilty of wanting my relationship with God to be easy. While things come more readily as we grow in intimacy with Christ, too often we are more willing to invest in the hard work of our jobs, our physical activity, and other things more tangible as we shy away from the challenging places of our spiritual walk.

  5. Dear Jackson,

    One step, one conversation at a time!

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