Active Listening

May we slow down and read this letter with an opened heart and actively listen to what God has to say. For a vital part in the believer’s life is to stay in fellowship with God; through prayer, worship, Bible study-meditation on scriptures, and communion with other believers. Prayer, than can be said to be comprised of both a conversation with God and actively listening to Him through His word and other believers.

Over the past few weeks the Holy Spirit has been dealing with me in this very idea of actively listening. So many times problems arise in relationships because of poor communication. The common cause of poor communication is usually that of one individual being a poor listener. Listening has been a common fault of mine in the past.

I have come to the conclusion that listening is a skillful art…one that must be learned and practiced, which may not come naturally to many people. Actively listening must become a part of every Christian’s life so that we are effective in God’s Kingdom work.

This also includes the question, when God is speaking are we listening?

Listed below are thirteen Scriptures which show us that God is a good listener and that active listening is a vital part in prayer.

  • John 10:27 – 28 (NLT) My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,
  • 2 Samuel 22:7 (NLT) But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I cried to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears.
  • 1 Kings 8:30 (NLT) May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.
  • 2 Kings 20:5 (NLT) “Go back to Hezekiah, the leader of my people. Tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you, and three days from now you will get out of bed and go to the Temple of the LORD.
  • Job 34:28 (NLT) They cause the poor to cry out, catching God’s attention. He hears the cries of the needy.
  • Psalms 4:3 (NLT) You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for himself. The LORD will answer when I call to him.
  • Psalms 9:12 (NLT) For he who avenges murder cares for the helpless. He does not ignore the cries of those who suffer.
  • Psalms 28:6 (NLT) Praise the LORD! For he has heard my cry for mercy.
  • Psalms 34:4 (NLT) I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
  • Psalms 91:15 (NLT) When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.
  • Psalms 145:18 (NLT) The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.
  • Jeremiah 33:3 (NLT) Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.
  • Zechariah 13:9 (NLT) I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’

As a believer, God has promised to hear us and answer our prayers. It is vital that we learn to listen to Him and discern His voice; for HE WILL guide us, give us His wisdom, show us His ways and reveal His truth to us as we learn to listen. Prayer than is a conversation (a discussion) in which we are actively engaged in both talking to God and listening to Him.

He sent us and gave us His very Spirit, the Holy Spirit to reveal to us who He is in us and to lead us into all truth, speaking to us in many ways. I will be writing more on the in-filling and the gift of The Holy Spirit, which is in other letters, but let me say that God can and will talk to us in many different ways:

He will talk to us through: His Word – the Bible, circumstances, His “small still voice, our consciences, visions, dreams, nature, other people, Christian literature, worship, and through one of the most important ways, the Holy Spirit leading us into all truth.

I’m sure there are many other ways that God speaks to us…so you see…God is speaking and we do need to listen! May you see what I see in writing this letter; that we must be an ACTIVE LISTENER. Prayer is meant to be a two sided conversation NOT JUST – ONE SIDED in which we talk to God and hear nothing. Our prayers are not meant to be just eloquent theological speeches, short sermons, or a form of a shopping list. Prayer includes praise, worship and thanksgiving.

True prayer comes from an intimate relationship with the Father. He will draw us to Him as we get to know His ways and listening to His voice. It is through both prayer and His Word that we can get to know God in an intimate way; as we listen and obey His Word, His voice.

Many people may know about God but I would say few truly actively know Him. It takes active listening as we can clearly see in these examples with Isaiah and Luke:

  • Isaiah 30:21 (NKJV) Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.
  • Luke 10:40 – 42 (NKJV) But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Listening and obeying God will bring the best out of us and the best for us from God. God commands us in Isaiah to take the time to listen:

  • Isaiah 55:3 (NKJV) Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—The sure mercies of David.
  • Psalms 46:10 – 11 (NKJV) Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Give real Praise to God “for He is great and greatly to be praised”

As stated above, there is a time to be still…yes…“to be still (listen and be assured) that He is God”. Praising God will help us understand God’s greatness and walk in love with our Father and all people…motivating us to listen to His voice and to be a fervent prayer.

Let’s listen to what God is saying about the importance of love in these scriptures.

  • Psalms 138:5 (NKJV) Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, For great is the glory of the Lord.
  • Psalms 48:1 (NKJV) Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised In the city of our God, In His holy mountain.
  • Revelation 4:11 (NKJV) “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
  • Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV) Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
  • Psalms 63:3 (NKJV) Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.
  • Deuteronomy 32:10 (NKJV) “He found him in a desert land And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.
  • 1 John 4:8 (NKJV) He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
  • 1 John 4:11 (NKJV) Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
  • 1 John 4:18 (NKJV) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
  • 1 John 4:19 (NKJV) We love Him because He first loved us.
  • Ephesians 5:2 (NKJV) And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. As we stay in God’s presence we will hear His voice speaking to us, helping us to know that He will answer our prayers.
  • As the Psalmists states in Psalms 32:8 (NLT) The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. How exciting to know that God is guiding us along the best pathway in life!
  • When we obey His voice God has given us a promise: “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ Jeremiah 7:23 (NKJV) God has promised to watch over us as we LISTEN and “obey His VOICE”.

Remember, we must be alert in all that we do and and to be an active listener as well as an active speaker.

So, how do we hear what God is saying? Usually it is an impression, a knowing, or a small voice within our thoughts (or mind) in our hearts. May God help us to be a good listener. Are you determined to be an Active Listener?

Love in Christ Jesus,
Paul Lundmark

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