ARE WE LISTENING?
READ Isaiah 32:1-8
“Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,
and the ears of those who hear will listen.”
While walking my dog one Saturday morning, I greeted a Jewish man on his way to synagogue with his son: “Shabbat Shalom!” [Have a peaceful Sabbath!] He nodded in response. A moment later, I encountered a woman walking by and said, “Hello!” She didn’t respond. Looking more closely, I realized she had wireless earbuds in her ears. Perhaps she was listening to music or an audiobook and couldn’t hear me. That got me thinking. There may be times when God is speaking directly to us, but we’re not listening.
In a book by Mother Teresa, she argued we shouldn’t automatically recite our current list of wants and needs when we pray. Instead, we should kneel before our Heavenly Father and listen. At first, I disagreed with this approach, recalling verses like Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Then another verse came to mind: “… Be still and know that I am God …” (Psalm 46:10). Both passages of scripture are in the Bible, so both are true. Perhaps when praying, there should be times when we speak and times when we listen.
I tried listening during prayer instead of talking. A day or two later, scripture passages jumped out at me like never before (e.g., Psalm 51), soothing my soul. Perhaps God was telling me he already knew what I needed (Matthew 6:8) and was teaching me to follow him.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
“Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9).
Rick Stockwell (Connecticut, USA)
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