by Kim Engelmann
“If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”
—Mark 4:23, NIV
Jesus said the above phrase in many places at many times. Clearly some people heard what he was really saying on a deeper level, and others did not. In order to hear another person or God’s voice, we must be able to be fully present and secure enough in ourselves to open up to God or to another person without fear and listen with our heart. It is interesting that the word “hear” and “heart” are so similar. We can’t listen to another unless we bring our heart along. The root of the Latin word “obey” is “to listen.” Listening is the first step in moving into the will of God and becoming transformed. Surface listening is all about knowing what the other will say ahead of time. When I am fully present and listen with my heart, I am moved, surprised, honored, and called.
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[For additional reading about deep listening we encourage you to get a copy of Recovering Faith: Words for the Way. Volume 2]
- Do you listen easily, or is it more difficult for you?
- Are there some people that you are able to be more fully present with than others? Why or why not?
- When have you felt truly listened to? What did the other person do or say or offer that made it clear to you that they had heard you?
- How do you practice listening to God?
- Is God’s voice easily heard above your own thoughts and the pace of life?
- How are you growing in the practice of listening deeply to God?
Lord Jesus, there is much noise in our world
and many words filled with manipulation and fear.
Help me to stay in a different place,
to learn to deeply listen with my heart
before I speak to others.
May the anxiety
brought on by noise and activity
be quelled in me,
and may I find fellowship with You
in that place of holy silence
where You speak with deep tones
of mercy, compassion, and justice
and are fully present with me.