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Weekly Devotions

Listen up-July 22, 2019

The art of listening. Something we do every day and can always improve in doing.

Monday Morning Devotion-July 22, 2019

 

Listen Up

 

Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.

                                                                                                                        Proverbs 1:5

 

            How important is it to listen, really listen to someone before you reply?  Well, the easy answer is that it is very important.  OK, end of devotion.  Let's move on to the next topic. 

            Wait a minute!  Not so fast my friend!  There is more to this subject of listening than meets the eye ┬░uh, ear.  Or both actually.

            Often, we tend to quickly form an opinion on a subject when another person is talking and there is a tendency to butt in and interrupt the flow of conversation.  I mean, why waste all that time when you already have the answer? 

            But, do you?  Really?  Maybe you should wait a spell to make sure before you take action.  Like the ancient saying goes; "God gave us two ears and one mouth in the hopes that we'd listen twice as often as we speak."  (Jack Wellman, Senior Writer at "What Christians Want to Know).

            Dr. John Maxwell, mega-best-selling author and speaker tells the story of a middle-aged man who walks into a cocktail lounge and asks the bartender if he has anything for hiccups.  Without a word the bartender reached down under the bar, grabbed a wet rag and slapped the man across the face with it.

            "The man said, 'Hey what's the idea?"

            "The bartender replied: You don't have the hiccups any more do you?"

            "The man replied: "I never did.  I wanted something to cure my wife.

              She's out in the car."

            The bartender had a case of the hurry-ups.  How often do we fall victim to that same malady?  Maybe we don't react as dramatically and erroneously as the bartender did but,

frequently we may think that we have the answer before we have fully listened to the problem.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen,

slow to speak and slow to become angry."  James 1:19

            Maxwell describes his approach to effective listening and becoming a better

communicator:

 

listen,

ask questions

listen again

ask more questions

listen some more

then

respond

 

            So being a good listener doesn't mean being totally silent.  G. K. Chesterton said:

 

            "There is a lot of difference between hearing and listening."  A person can come to a conversation with a preset agenda.  That could be to be heard or not to be heard. 

            Asking open ended questions in a timely manner can aid the listening process and contribute to a satisfying conversation on both ends.   Taking care not to interrupt and interfere with the other person's train of thought when interjecting your question is important.

 

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

                                                                        Jeremiah 29:12

 

            Another important consideration in being a good listener is making good eye contact.

 

A person who is looking all around during a conversation, although they may be paying attention, seems to indicate disinterest in what is being said.

            According to www.lonerwolf.com ("The Art of Listening) It is also important to realize that "about 60-75% of our communication is non-verbal. That's a lot!  In order to know whether to encourage the speaker, to open yourself more, or to be more supportive in your approach, it's essential to know what the person's body is saying.  Do they display signs of discomfort?  Are they untrusting of you?  Does their body language align with their words?"

            Stephen R. Covey ("The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People') writes: "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply."  That's because, on the surface, simply listening seems like a simple thing to do.

            "We mistake listening as easy because it looks passive and instinctive, but in reality, it's hard work.  Really listening (and not just appearing to listen) requires intense concentration and a good deal of mental energy.

            "Listening can be difficult for a few reasons.  Perhaps the hardest is that we think three to four times faster than people speak.  That means we could listen at a rate of up to 450 words per minute, but the average person speaks only 125-175 words per minute, making it easy to become impatient or let your mind wander."  ("How to Master the Art of Listening" Rob Stretch.)

This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  That if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us.   1 John 5:14

           

            To sum up how to "Listen Up" consider these points:

           

            1) Ask great questions.

 

            2) Pay attention to more than what is being said.

 

            3) Don't take word-for-word notes.

 

            4) Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to respond.

 

            5) Make people feel heard.

 

            6) Follow up on what matters.

 

            Happy Listening!

 

Prayer:  Lord help us to listen better always giving thanks for the way you listen to and answer each of our prayers.      Amen

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