Listening to God, self and others

There are many ways to incorporate listening into your spiritual practice; here are three broad ways.

Listening to God. If prayer is a conversation with God then surly we should listen to God as prayerful as we talk to God? I often begin my prayers with the words of Samuel, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10) Some times I listen through scripture, lectio divina style, other times I just listen, simply listen. Not just in solitude either, it is also good to listen in the midst of action.

Listening to self. Of course, self awareness is an important dimension of spiritual practice too. In this I am guided by the words of the Psalmist, “Search your hearts and be silent” (Psalm 4:4) Listening to self is a journey into humility but also a journey into self discovery. You have a unique relationship with God because you are unique. Some personal contextualization is required here.

Listening to others. Then of course, we should listen to others. God challenged Cain, “Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:10) We should not be deaf to the pain of this world. In practice this means listening to other cultures, including Christians from other cultures, and listening to other religions, including the irreligious. Listening is essential to loving.

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