Is God a listener or a teller? Think about it: when you are communicating with God in prayer, what is He doing most of the time? Is He constantly talking, filling every quiet moment with sage advice and cosmic ideas? Or is He mostly listening?
God, who knows our every need before we ask and the answers to all our problems, takes the time to listen to each one of us. God is a listener. To listen is to imitate God.
Years ago I did a prayer exercise with a group of seekers that had a huge impact on them. Our house had a second floor balcony that overlooked the living room. In the role-play, we would send one individual upstairs to “play God,” while another got the opportunity to pose the question he or she had always wanted to ask God. Some questions were simple and some were profound. But most of the time, God said nothing.
When we debriefed afterward, some of the most thoughtful comments came from people after they had played the part of God in the role of a listener: “Now I know why God doesn’t always answer my questions!”
Several had profound encounters communicating with God through that exercise. I don’t know if we were able to fully explain what happened, but somehow afterward many said they understood God in a new way. He’s not silent, He’s not ignoring us: He’s listening!
“…Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen…” (John 11:41-42; MSG)
Tony Stoltzfus is a best-selling author, leadership coach, master coach trainer and director of the Leadership Metaformation Institute. Additional information on the power of listening in the coaching relationship can be found in Tony’s book, Leadership Coaching.