Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Listen, Love, and Pray

Back in January of this year (how can ten months have gone by already since then?), I shared a post about my word (or for me, words) of the year. You can read the post by clicking here. My three words, for I could not choose just one, are: Pray, Love, and Listen. 

Ten months later, I am reminding myself again of these words. Especially thinking of the word "listen" today ... 

Listening to those we love
is key to loving them,
and to praying for them.

Not only listening to those we love, but also listening to those we have just met, to those in need, to even strangers. Is there anything else that makes you feel loved and valued more than to be listened to? 

It is so easy to be focused on ourselves, to fix our thoughts on what we would like to say when we are in conversation with someone. It takes a concentrated, purposeful effort to take our eyes off of our own agendas, and instead, to focus on listening, really listening carefully, to others.

I am continually asking God to give me a listening heart ...

Understand this,
my dear brothers and sisters:
You must all be quick to listen,
slow to speak,
and slow to get angry.
(James 1:19)

Cultivating a listening heart begins first with cultivating a heart to listen - to God. To listen intently, with a deep desire to hear His heart. To listen carefully, as if we are reading His Words for the very first time. To listen purposefully, committing ourselves to follow, and to act on His Words. 

Have you noticed how little children, though they can be easily distracted, will listen to us with believing hearts? We need to be oh so careful what we say to young children, for they take us at our word and believe what we say. "Jesus tells us to become like children, and little children believe the words they hear." (Emily Freeman, Simply Tuesday)

I am praying the same for me, that I will listen to God with a believing heart. And that I will also grow more and more in listening intently and purposefully to others. Loving others deeply, as we are loved by Him. And praying faithfully for others, as He asks us to pray without ceasing.

Sharing thoughts that have occupied my mind and my heart in recent weeks and that often appear in my journal as I ask God to cultivate a listening heart in me each day. And also sharing some thoughts as I have been reading through Emily Freeman's book, Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World (reading chapters 7-9 in recent days).

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