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Most Holy Father,

 

There have literally been times I have felt You put Your hand over my mouth to keep me from talking. I already knew what I was going to say. I wanted to say it so badly. It seemed so very important that I thought I might burst if I didn’t say it…but You have graciously closed my mouth at certain times. Other times, You have let me put my own foot in my mouth and I have had to try to apologize for words that spewed out of my unclean heart. Once the wrong words have been released, the damage has been done. There is no way to erase the wounds caused by my uncontrollable urge to be right, to have my voice heard, to make it known that I have all the answers. Oh, Lord! I need You to be my mouth guard, my God filter.

 

How can anyone hear when we are all busy talking? We just keep getting louder and louder, thinking our views need to be heard. There is not enough listening. Before I speak, Lord, please let me run it by You first. There have been so many times, after bringing it to You before I speak, I am a little shocked to discover that my attitude is wrong…that I am guilty of not honoring another by at least listening to them. I’m so sure of myself that I do not take the time to hear another’s heart. I’m so busy trying to convince them of my way that I have not heard the deep wounds of their heart. If I truly listen, even if I disagree, I am showing one of the greatest characteristics of love. To listen to the heart of another is to show true care.  Help me be a better listener.

 

Lord, You have been so kind to listen to me and all my whining, rants, raves, fears, and demands. Sometimes after I’ve unloaded on You, You then quietly speak to my heart. You have let me vent to You until I feel better. You have tenderly pointed out my wrong attitude when I was so sure of someone else being wrong. There are even times after talking to You about a situation that You asked me to speak to someone when I really didn’t want to. Yet how would I know when to be quiet and when to speak until I listen to You first?

 

Lord, it seems there is a pandemic of too many talking and no one listening. It is incredibly noisy in this world right now.  I need my quiet time with You to decipher Your will. Help us all to wait to speak until we run things by You first. Help us all to do a better job of truly listening to You above all…and then even offer the gift of listening with love to others—like You do for us.

 

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“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”   James 3:9-10

 

“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”    1 John 4:5-7

 

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Ephesians 4:28

 

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Your prayer prompt:

Father, help me to speak (and listen) to You before speaking my mind…

Heavenly Father,
Oh! How my soul longs to be listened to! Just listened to. Without interruption. Without advice. Without correction. Without argument. Without analysis. Without someone else’s story or experience or thoughts being interjected before I am able to voice what is in my mind and heart. It seems like there are so few “listeners” in the world. Yet it is one of the greatest gifts of love we can give someone. Listening is one of the greatest attributes of love. But there is so much noise and not enough listening…

There is a world of people who long to be heard. Everyone is talking and no one is listening. I know I fall short of true listening even though I know that is one of my gifts (perhaps it is a gift available to all of us). Who wants a doctor to decide how to treat before hearing what is really going on? What child will listen to a parent who never takes time to listen to their heart? Who wants to marry someone who is always correcting them when they don’t even listen to all they are saying? How can our country ever be united until all sides take turn listening? It seems everyone is yelling and no one is truly listening. Oh! How we need more listeners!

Father, You are the greatest listener! Though You have all authority and rule over all that there is, You are ready to listen to us at any time. You listen to our complaints, our desperate pleas, our angry tirades, our rambling thoughts that seem to have no point. You listen much deeper than our words. You see our heart and soul. You listen all the way to the end and to what is really being said. You are the only One who can truly understand us better than we understand ourselves. You are always ready and willing to listen. Though You know what we are going to say and what we really mean—You listen because You know we desire to be heard. You listen out of love. Thank You for always listening—even when words won’t come!

Lord, how often do I stop and listen to You? How often am I simply still and quiet enough to place all my attention on what You are saying to me? You do not force us to listen. But You must desire to be heard by each of us as much or more than we desire to be heard. Father, let me “listen” to You as I read Your word, as I hear the wind, as I listen to a song, as a fellow believer shares a truth, through the perfect timing of your ordained situations and encounters, through Your still small voice—Your voice that we will all recognize as we get better at listening. Let me show You my love through listening and then obeying Your voice.

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“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:9

 

“She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord said, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10:39-42

 

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, I am listening…