Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19, NLT). Let your compassion quickly meet our needs, for we are on the brink of despair. (Psalm 79:8, NLT) Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2, NLT).
Friend to Friend
We are continuing our commitment to become a better listener. Most of us are naturally slow to listen and quick to speak. As a result, learning to be quick to listen and slow to speak is no small thing. It takes time. It takes commitment. And it takes practice.
We have already looked at learning to listen for pain. Today we look at learning to listen for need.
Psalm 79 tells us that when we are in despair, God quickly listens to and meets our needs. That is the point of listening for need – to identify and, if we can, minister to the needs of those we love. To listen like God listens means we must learn to listen for pain as well as listening for need.
Often times listening for pain is simply joining someone in their pain. We may not be able to fix their pain. But we can share their pain. We can join them in their pain.
Listening for need is different – because often times, if we can learn to discern their need from what they say, we can help them by actually meeting their needs.
Here is a great definition of listening: “paying attention, with the intention of understanding.” In other words – we are not just listening to their words. We are listening for the message behind the words. When we take a posture of listening we will not only hear what that person is saying. Jesus will help us understand what that person is really saying.
When we listen for their needs we will discover:
- Practical needs we can meet through generosity.
- Emotional needs we can meet through friendship
- Spiritual needs we can meet through prayer.
Jesus knows what your friend or family member needs. And when you listen for their needs, you are also listening for the voice of Jesus to show you their needs.
Galatians 6:2 challenges us to “Carry each other’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” Before you can carry a burden, you have to identify it. Before you can meet a need, you have to know what that need is.
Think about how much life would change if we entered every conversations praying “Jesus, help me listen for the need of this person.” That would change everything! That can turn a simple conversation into a life changing moment.
The number one-way God meets needs in this world is through His children. And if we are going to partner with God to meet the needs of those around us, we must learn to listen for need.
Father, You are always available to hear and meet my need. You invite me to tell You what I need every single day. Help me have that same heart for others. Help me learn to listen for need.
In Christ I pray for a listening hear,
Now It’s Your Turn
Ready to give this a try? The next time you entire into a conversation with a friend or family member, put on your “I am listening for need” ears. Ask God to speak to you, to show you their needs. And be ready to do something about that need when you hear it.
More from the Girlfriends
John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (NKJV).
True joy does not depend on outer circumstances. Joy is a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control. We can learn to be joyful. Joy for the Journey is a spiral bound journal Mary has created to help guide you to a place of contentment and joy.
Need prayer? Our prayer team is committed to praying for you. Email your requests to our prayer team director, Ginger Meador, at firstname.lastname@example.org