“The first duty of love is to listen.” — Paul Tillich

Jeremiah 29:11-14
Romans 10:17
Luke 6:12-19

We struggle with the concept of listening. This stems from our inability to value silence, to seek out solitude. We fill every moment and space with sound. Coffee shops, bookstores and bars hum with music, as streets and cities buzz with urban life’s song: construction, transportation, communication.

Runners often carry one indispensable accessory in addition to shoes: some form of earpiece. Commercial gyms without music or televisions don’t exist.

Given this penchant for sound, one might think we listen well. Well, actually we are easily distracted. And there’s a difference.

Now remove a modern person from such an environment. Remove yourself. The adaptation to the sound of only waves on sand takes more than a moment. The silence and solitude appear so alien. The change of pace feels confining.

So we avoid it. We don’t want to hear, to listen. Oh, we say we do, but we choose the sounds of civilization in music and news 24/7. Maybe the sounds we immerse ourselves in stave off the loneliness. Maybe these sounds drown out the questions within us.

To listen, to hear from God, we have to leave the crowds, the crush of sound and noise. We need to be alone to empty our lives of all distraction. It’ll take a moment to adjust to the stillness, maybe a while.

It’ll take a few more moments to empty our heads of the inner discussions, all the lists we extend, all the worries and fears and insecurities about ourselves. Perhaps just telling God all of these things will purge us and allow us to begin listening.

This rarely happens in a social setting. We learn this alone, in silence, and in solitude. That’s where we can begin finding one who waits for us. He doesn’t want a place on our checklist. He wants to be the list, the conversation, the one with whom we desire to speak.

What distracts you in praying?
Is it hard to listen?  Why or why not?
What prevents you from seeking out real solitude with God?


© Revolworks 2006