Thursday, September 15, 2016

September 15: Listening to Each Other

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.” - John 4:39-42

Just Listen
Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand.” - Sue Patton Thoele

My kindergarten student, Adrienne, ran up to me and burst into tears. “Ms. Spencer, Maria is not listening to me. I listened when she was talking, but now she don’t see me trying to talk!!!” As I held her in my arms, I said gently, “Adrienne, Ms. Spencer is listening to you.” As her sobs gradually began to subside, she looked up at me with her dark brown eyes and said, “Thank you teacher, you always see me when I talk and you listen.”

As I drove home that day, I reflected on the wisdom of my four year old student. When we truly listen to each other, we see each other and it is empowering for the speaker and the listener. The Samaritan woman listened to Jesus and saw him. The community listened to her testimony and saw Christ. They listened to Christ and saw him as the Savior of the world. Listening is far beyond a simple hearing process, it calls us to be intentional, present and open. When we listen to each other, we see each other. Our world is full of those who the world ignores and marginalizes. Imagine how listening with intention gives voice and empowers the speaker. It allows us to see the beautiful gift of God that they are. Thank you, God, I know you see me when I talk because you listen. Listen …… just listen. When I listen to you, I see you.
Loving and Listening God, teach us to listen intently for words spoken and unspoken. Listening deeply can heal hearts and spirits that are broken. Amen
Listening Activities
  • Talking Stick – This can be used as a tool to teach how to be a fully engaged listener. Sit together and whoever has the stick talks and everyone else listens completely. It is passed around so that everyone has the chance to share.
  • Device Free – During meal time, take the time to put away phones, ipads and turn off television. Take time to engage in conversation and listen without distractions.
Minister Sheila P Spencer
is an author, poet, educator and writer. A native of Los Angeles, she was an educator, literacy coach, teacher trainer and parent educator. She currently serves as Director of Christian Education/Formation for Disciples Home Missions and resides in Indianapolis, IN.
Our 2016 prayer vigil theme is Helping Our Children Heal from Violence. For more resources visit and 

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