Spiritual Practice


Elizabeth Mann & Wesley Overhults

Listening doesn’t come naturally for me. It is a skill I continue to practice. Often, I get so caught up in my own thoughts that I neglect to give my full attention to other people. I may nod and agree, but my mind is a million miles away. Sometimes I think of what I will say in response before I listen to what my family and friends are saying.

Even in my prayer life, I’ve noticed that my mind wanders or my prayers are a one-sided conversation that doesn’t involve much listening. I get caught up in the busyness of life and forget to pray and to listen for God’s voice. Then God gently says to me, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a, NIV). In the silence, I hear God’s voice best.

Elizabeth Mann, 20


My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
James 1:19 (NIV)

PRACTICE LISTENING: Being a good listener means being emotionally invested in what you’re hearing. Good listeners put aside their personal feelings or aspirations and focus on other people, seeking to understand what they are trying to communicate and taking their words to heart. Listening is a skill that comes naturally to some people, while others have to work at it. Either way, it’s an art that all of us can cultivate.

Wesley Overhults

—from devozine (March/April 2014). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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