1 Listen, my people, to my teaching;
tilt your ears toward the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a proverb.
I’ll declare riddles from days long gone—
3 ones that we’ve heard and learned about,
ones that our ancestors told us.
4 We won’t hide them from their descendants;
we’ll tell the next generation
all about the praise due the Lord and his strength—
the wondrous works God has done.
As I think about God’s words to listen, I wonder how we really learn this particular skill. I teach listening skills through my work, but ironically some days my words just fall on deaf ears. But when I think of human listening skills, I know that most of the time these ways have little to do with how we hear God’s voice and teachings.
So how do we really hear God? Moreover, how do we practice listening to God? I am reminded of the song, “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
Through this favored Christmas carol, the song writer talks about the Night Wind talking to the shepherd boy. The stars dance, and we know the voice that rings out is “…as big as the sea.” It is poetry and imagery and yet, how many of us have heard God’s messages in the quiet expanse of the natural world? Perhaps God’s words and teachings come to us in the quiet of a summer breeze or the sounds of the waves.
Maybe God teaches you something through the cry of a child or by finding something that was lost. Perhaps for you God’s words and ways are simply known through the poetry of the hymns. Hopefully God’s voice is found in the daily reassurance found by reading scripture. Most assuredly, we hear God’s words and teachings in the quietness of contemplative prayer.
However we know God’s voice, we praise an omnipresent God who speaks to us in all ways, imagined and unimagined. We know a God who is constantly reaching out to us. Down through the ages, we listen for a God who continues to speak to us through God’s Word and through quiet prayer. Most assuredly, we hear the wonders of Our Lord when we pause and just quietly listen in prayer. This is one way of listening for God that we pass along to the next generation.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
There must be a reason that Jesus went off to pray quietly and separately. His example is meant to teach us. Perhaps away from the rigors of life and interference, in the quiet of nature, somehow we are just drawn closer to Our God. It is through this quietness of contemplative prayer that we can really pause and hear the wonders of our God.
Gracious God, Help me listen more than I speak. Let me pause to really hear you. In the wonders of your ways, please speak to me. Thank you for loving me enough to keep our relationship alive and thriving. Amen.