Friday, December 21, 2012
Listening is Vital to Communication
“He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame.” –Proverbs 18:13
Many of us have had years of training in communication skills such as writing, reading, and speaking. However, we probably have not experienced much training in what many believe is the most important facet of communication, listening.
The art of listening may not be lost, but is surely seems difficult to find. Many of us, instead of really listening as someone speaks to us, are mentally framing our response, getting ready to jump in as soon as the speaker takes a breath.
Consequently, we are really listening more to our own thoughts than to the person who is speaking. “I wish he/she would hurry up and take a breath so I can tell them what is really important.” In fact, for many of us, our listening habits are so poor we even have difficulty hearing God speak.
We have been taught that prayer is communication with God. Communication suggests both transmission and reception. Our transmission of concern to the Creator is usually done fairly well. We accept by faith that God is receiving our transmissions. But what about God’s transmission to us? How well do we receive it? Is it possible to miss God’s voice because we are too busy with our own thoughts, rather than concentrating on our Creator’s?
God’s people must understand that the Almighty is always seeking to communicate with us. However, if we are listening only for the answer we want, it is possible we will miss sensing God pointing us in another direction.
Try including the reading of the Word of God in your prayer life. It is amazing what you can hear when you listen to God’s word. It is even more amazing if you wait to hear from God before answering.
Mark White is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Clayton, NC. This article originally appeared in their church newsletter, The Outlook.