Monday, February 22, 2010

The Relationship Between Prayer and Listening to Others

A listener, in an intimate relationship with God, will find it easier to adopt a loving regard toward others. Their listening becomes a channel of God's love as it flows out to others from the Source within. Jesus promised that from us would flow rivers of living water when His Spirit took up residence in us. He is the ultimate source of love, even for those who are not aware of that source.

The person who learns to listen to God becomes an effective listener as this skill is applied in listening to others. It flows from a nourishing prayer life. Our inner life through prayer is nourished by God’s love. With hearts enlarged by His love, born in us is a desire to share this love. It is not that love is required from us, but because the nature of love is to give. When Jesus said that we were to love one another, it was not so much a demand He was imposing but rather a result He knew would emerge as a byproduct of His love permeating our lives.

The attitude of the listener is not that of a master or even a mentor, but rather that found in a friendship engendering mutual encouragement. It looks like the old adage of one beggar helping another beggar find bread.

As listeners we may ask ourselves the question, "Am I really capable of listening to the deepest needs of another person?" The answer will be "No," but the God who by His Spirit lives in us is capable. He can hone our listening skills. This is why it is so essential that we seek to remain attuned to Him. Prayer is for us a gift but it is also a necessary resource in our accompaniment toolkit.

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