“Give ear to my words, O Lord; give heed to my sighing” ( Psalm 5:1 NRSV).
When someone listens, really listens to you, they “give ear” to you. They “give heed” to you.
Isn’t it remarkable that God will listen to us in that way?
Sometimes my prayers are made of words. Sometimes my prayers are made of sighs. Sometimes my prayers are made of a word here, a sigh there.
Isn’t it remarkable that God will listen, really listen to us whether our prayers are made of words, sighs, or both?
Thank you, loving Father, for giving ear. Thank you for giving heed. How many times have you listened to my words? How many times have you listened to my sighs? Thank you.
I try. I really do. I try to be fully present in conversations.
I try to lock on to the person talking. I try to listen to each word. I try to respect my conversation partner. I try to deeply listen.
I try, and often I do.
But there was this conversation I was in a couple of weeks ago when, try as I might, I was not fully present. And all of a sudden I had this startling realization that I was in the middle of a conversation and I was not focused.
Have you ever had that feeling?
I was disappointed in myself. I felt as though I had disrespected my conversation partner.
It has been a couple of weeks and I still remember. I don’t want to forget the feeling.
I am going to keep trying. I’m not going to give up on myself.
I’m realizing more and more how important listening is to my growth.The last couple of weeks have brought so many helpful opportunities for me to listen to others through social media, often in the form of opinions with which I disagree. Listening to those with whom I disagree not only helps me think critically about my beliefs and opinions, but also helps me better understand those with whom I disagree. That better understanding helps me to appreciate people, even when I do not agree with them. I have so much room for growth. I really want to listen.
“If Christians are to function as the body of Christ, we will need to foster stronger and more intimate connections with each other. To do this, we will need to learn to listen. Listening to each other will be greatly facilitated by our no longer viewing each other as threats to our well-being. Within the dominant culture that emphasized self-sufficiency and autonomy, there is little reason for us to listen to each other. Why should I listen to you? I don’t want to hear about the good things that have happened in your life; they just make me more depressed about my own lack of accomplishment. I don’t want to listen to your problems; I have my own. Nor do I care to listen to your advice or admonition; I can take care of my own problems by myself.”
Philip Kenneson from Life on the Vine , p. 149
“No one questions the need of times of formal address to God, but few admit in any practical way the need of quiet waiting upon God, gazing into His face, feeling for His hand, listening for His voice. God has special confidences for each soul. Indeed, it would seem as though the deepest truths come only in moments of profound devotional silence and contemplation.”
— Charles H. Brent