2013-08-06 - Listen, Don't Talk
Psa 46:10 (NRSV) Be still, and know that I am God!; I am exalted among the nations; I am exalted in the Earth.
In our house, because of the history of always having firefighters and police officers in the family, we have almost always had a "scanner" running. Also, back when I was on paid staff of a District Attorney's office (I have switched to volunteer status), I would listen to the calls so I would know about some of the cases were coming up in the next couple days. It's always amusing, when there is a "stuck mike," and a dispatcher says something like "all units check your mike." Well - "what's wrong with that picture?" Just the circular fact that if their microphone is transmitting, they can't hear someone asking them if their mike is transmitting!
I think it's like that with God, as well. For some of us (myself included), if we are busy, and passionate about our beliefs and causes - we tend to think a lot, and we tend to talk a lot. That's great; it's how we get things done, and God is the One who made us that way! Consequently, many of our prayers go along the lines of "please give me," "please do this or that" etc. There is nothing at all wrong with those petitions; in fact, our Heavenly Father wants an intimate relationship with us that includes everyday matters. He doesn't just want to be Lord of the "big things." This is one of the most common theological confusions / misconceptions that I have heard through the years. People say and believe that God only wants to hear prayers about the biggest matters, but He "doesn't have time" or "doesn't care about" what are deemed minor, everyday matters. To the contrary, you use common sense, you will realize that you can't have a really close relationship with God, if you don't include Him in your everyday minutiae.
When we are talking, we aren't likely to be able to listen well (though my husband Richard, who was an air traffic controller for so long, would probably be one of the exceptions - along with his colleagues!). So we also need, to put it in a lovely manner as the French do, to "fermez la bouche," or in other words - shut our mouths -sometimes and just listen. When I was trained and commissioned as a Stephen Minister back in the 1990s, they had a guideline that the caregiver should listen 90% of the time, and talk only 10% of the time. Imagine how our prayer time would be revolutionized, if we were to do this with God! But that's probably too ambitious for most of us; if we could even get to a 50/50 place, it would help our prayer times. In addition to enabling us to better communicate with God, quietly being still and listening can also put us in a more worshipful attitude.
I encourage you - along with myself - to spend more time listening to what God wants to impress upon our hearts.
Janice P. Moser