Date: Monday, September 22
Scripture: Psalm 116:1-4; 16-19
Verse: I’ll call out to him as long as I live, because he listens closely to me. (Psalm 116:2)
Do you know someone who is a really good listener? Someone who asks questions and probes more deeply when you tell a story? Someone who isn’t working on a response every time you speak, but instead tries desperately to hear you, even when you know you are not expressing yourself well? Someone who seems to get more out of you than others? The ability to listen well seems to be a lost art. Counselors and pastors are often encouraged to take some classes on “active listening,” the practice of making a conscious effort to make a conversation entirely about the other person and what they are saying not only with their words, but also non-verbally. It is easy to talk to a good active listener, and they have a way of making us feel at ease.
Psalm 116 tells us that God is an active listener, one who “listens closely to us.” The problem is that all too often we don’t do enough talking. The psalmist confesses he tells God things of which he is not necessarily proud. He talks about feeling stuck, worried, and grieving. He writes about feeling stuck and crying out for God to save him.
Too often I find myself praying sanitized prayers. I’ve cleaned them up to make them “presentable” to God. But God really wants to hear our story, whatever that is. Maybe it is a prayer of unbridled joy for all he has given. Maybe it is a prayer of hopelessness and despair. Maybe it is a prayer of thanksgiving God’s graciousness in struggles. Maybe it is a prayer for deliverance from a persistent problem. Whatever it is, God is ready to listen. Don’t be afraid to share.
Prayer: Forgive me, O God, when I’m not completely honest with you, and try only to tell you I think you want to hear. Amen.
Action: Pray a very honest prayer — whatever that means for you.
Respond: Do you have a person in your life who listens so well, you seem to tell them more than you would others?
Join the conversation! Click “Leave a comment” or type in the “Leave a reply” box below. Email subscribers, click the title of the devotion in the email to go to the webpage. Then follow the instructions above.