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Habitually Hearing

“She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” Luke 10;39

“Therefore, everyone who is of such a character as to be habitually hearing these words of mine and habitually doing them, is like the intelligent man who is of such a nature that he built his house upon the rocky cliff.” Matthew 7:24 Wuest

“But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.” Mark 4:34bd NIV

Mary sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to him. How often do you spend time listening to God? Every day? Every Sunday? Every once in a while? Jesus tells us to not just listen once but to be constantly listening. Why? Because there is so very much he has to tell us. A lifetime of constant listening is not enough time to hear it all. Eternity is not long enough for God to run out of new things to tell us. And we need to hear all he has to say to us because this is how we know what to do each day, how to live, the direction he’s taking us. Can he even take us anywhere if we’re not in the habit of constantly listening?

How do we listen? I’m reading Henry Nouwen’s Spiritual Formation (and taking a long time about it). The most recent chapter I read talks about listening to God and suggests that there are four ways God speaks to us.

He speaks to us through the Holy Bible.
He speaks to us through his Holy Spirit, that still small voice that speaks to us in the silence.
He speaks to us through others.
He speaks to us as we write to him.

Are you reading your Bible daily? Are you making time in your day to sit in silence and just listen? Do you keep your mind and ears tuned to God through the busyness of your day? When others speak to you, do you ever consider that perhaps God is using them to tell you something? I’ve never before heard anyone suggest that writing is a way of listening to God but it is something that I have experienced for much of my life.

Jesus often too his disciples away from the crowds to explain his words to them. He wants to do that to us as well, but if we refuse to follow him into that place of quiet listening how can learn and know?

Father, I want to keep my ears constantly open to hear what you have to say. I want to hear not just the big things but the little nuances, the things you have to say just to me because you know my circumstances and my heart. Speak to me, Lord! And keep pushing me to hear you—not just today or next week but every minute of every day.


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Oh God
You surround me with your love,
with memories
of who you are
of what you've done
of promises you've made
of who I want to be
of who I am because of you.

You give me hope and joy,
peace and gratitude.
You convict me
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encourage me
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of what it means to follow you.

You listen to my prayers
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in your time.
You give me insight
and knowledge
and words to write
to share your presence
your goodness
your love
your admonition
with others.

You expand my love
to pray for friend and foe
near and far
family and stranger
people as pins on maps
clustered and scattered
who know you and reject you
for those in need
and those too full to need.

You draw me close
and then release me
to bring you close to others
to serve
and love
and give
all I have received.

You fill my heart with joy
that warms
and glows
and bursts
into laughter,
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You wrap me in your arms
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