Most of the time I think I am a good listener. Except for those times when I am tired or feeling impatient.

Then I need to put into practice the principles of being an effective listener. It is more than just avoiding interrupting others while they are speaking, or finishing someone else’s sentences.

Being a good listener is being content to listen to an entire thought of someone else’s, rather than listening faintly as we form another question or clever comment in our mind. Listening is more than waiting for the other person to breathe so we can get our point in.

Listening is vital to good communication, but effective listening is often hindered by the fast paced way we live, and the tendency to treat communication as if it was a race

Our children all talk. They could talk your ear off a lot of the time. They usually don’t have any trouble expressing themselves. One of the things they love to do is share their thoughts and concerns as they go to bed at night. It’s usually late, I’m tired and my bed is calling. But I learnt early on that when people and especially your children want to talk it is wisdom to make the time to listen, even if it is late at night.

It’s at these times when they and others just want to talk and share their hearts, that it is so important for me to put aside myself, and give them time and actively focus on listening.

Sometimes in our world you may sense that no one is listening to one another. Husbands and wives aren’t listening, parents and children, people you work with, family members.

Instead we get distracted with all the technology around us, phones, tv’s, laptops, gadgets, our own thoughts and agenda’s. There is the silence of people not even talking anymore. Instead living together in quiet desperation.

We all no doubt need to practice the art of being good listeners. Honestly listening and not just thinking about tomorrow’s to do list or yesterday’s meeting.

So here are some thoughts on being a good listener:

1.Be in the moment:

When we practice good listening we stay in the moment; practicing the power of being in the now. We look at the person, we listen, we watch their face, their expressions, and their body language. We listen not only to their words, but also to their heart. We stay in the moment, listening and learning.

 2.Clarify what you are hearing and sensing.

When we actively listen we ask questions to understand. We want to make sure that we are seeing it correctly through the other person’s eyes, sensing and feeling as they do. We pause, reflect, and ask clarifying questions.

“Friends are those rare people who ask how we are, and then wait to hear the answer.”

3. Slow down

Slowing down our responses aids us in hearing others. It takes a lot of energy to be on the edge of our seats ready to rush off to do the next thing, or waiting for our moment to interject with our response. Slow down.

4.Take the pressure off.

There are many times when I am listening to someone and I quite simply don’t have the answers, or have anything to say. And that’s okay. I listen, I pray and just relax. If I have some wisdom or revelation it will come to me as I’m quietly listening, or even later when I have time to talk to God about it.

If we don’t feel we always have to say something we won’t feel so much pressure, and will be more peaceful and ready to listen. It enhances the quality of our relationships. We don’t always have to have the answers. Usually people just want to be heard and feel someone has listened and cared.

Listening is an art we can all practice. We listen to others, we listen to God, and we listen to our own hearts.

Today slow down, take the pressure off, live in the moment, and listen with your ears, your eyes and your heart.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19)

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

Prayer:Lord please help me to listen. To listen firstly to you, and then to give others my time and focus so that they feel heard. Help me to slow down, relax and hear those around me, that I might be a blessing. In Jesus Name Amen.