The art of listening. This is an excerpt from Debbie McComber’s book, “One Simple Act”. Nature has given us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak. Good listening requires focusing on the other person rather than on ourselves and our own thoughts or reactions. The act of being generous with our listening is a gift that our world is longing to receive. Listening increases wisdom. Listening helps us to define ourselves. Becoming generous in listening can transform our relationships. When we begin to listen to people, we also need to tune our ear to God on their behalf.
First we listen. This is the step of discernment. We listen to people and we listen to God. Sometimes people share their deepest needs in the most casual, offhand way. But if we are listening, really listening, there is often a rise within us, an inner “yes” which is a divine invitation to prayer.
God wants us to listen to Him. “If my people would but listen to me.” (Psalm 81:13).
Practice listening long enough to recognize the voice of God. When Elijah listened for God’s voice, it didn’t come in a dramatic way. “And he said, go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and break in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12).
Yes, a still, small voice.
It takes careful listening to hear that still , small voice. Silence is the first language of God.
When we are generous listeners, we will gain far more than we give.
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