Most professors have favorite sayings that capture a truth. One of my favorites is “there is a reason God created you with one mouth and two ears.” The implication, of course, is that maybe we were designed to listen twice as much as we talk. As a faculty member in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry, our team correctly focuses much of our training and teaching on the skillful ability to teach and preach God’s Word. Of equal importance is to develop the skill of listening. Listening has multi-dimensional functions including, among others, the art of listening to God, to your spouse, to your children and family members, to friends, to those in authority, to those in the household of faith, and to seekers.
It is my growing conviction that one of the paths to a holy life, a Christ-centered life is to become increasingly more skillful in the art of listening. James 1:19 challenges each person to “’take note of this: Everyone should be should be quick to listen, slow to speak…” One of my favorite authors, Marjorie J. Thompson states that “listening is the first expression of communication in prayer. We know that listening precedes speaking in the development of children’s language skills. The same order applies to the development of our prayer life. Something in our spirit is touched by the Divine Spirit before we are drawn to speak.” 1 Today let’s explore the adventure of learning to listen to God.