Our church building may be closed, but God’s eyes are open and his ears are attentive to our prayers (2 Chronicles 7.15).
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Speak these words out loud:
‘Where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.’
from Matthew 6.21 (Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount)
Read the proverb through three or four times, slowly. Pause in-between, maybe write it out by hand – savour the words, let them speak deeply to you.
To answer before listening – that is folly and shame. (NIV)
Listen before you answer. If you don’t, you are being stupid and insulting. (GNB)
I love the Good News version of this proverb! It’s so blunt.
The worst kind of interview on TV or radio is the kind where the politician isn’t answering the question, and the presenter is constantly interrupting them. I usually listen to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 in the morning, and that happens a lot – and when it does, I usually turn it off.
But often do we (how often do I) do exactly that? Try to finish people’s sentences for them? Start answering before they’ve finished speaking? Or, slightly less rude but the same result: stop listening and start thinking about my reply before they finish speaking?
But there is a deeper kind of listening. Notice, the proverb doesn’t say whom we should be listening to. Sure, we need to listen to the person we are speaking to – but true wisdom is learning also to listen to God. What would Jesus say to this person if he were standing in your shoes?
Often when people are upset or angry, there is something deeper than the presenting issue, which is causing such a strong reaction. When this happens, telling them to calm down or to get some perspective isn’t going to help. What will help is deep listening, both to them and to God.
If you are married or live or work closely with someone, when was the last time you really listened to them? Even if you don’t or aren’t, we can all learn to listen more, and to stop being so ‘stupid and insulting’ (!).
Pray for Five – pray for your five friends / family from Thy Kingdom Come.
Our daily prayer sheet includes the names of everyone for whom we have a signed church family directory form – and local parishes and senior church leaders. Today we are praying for:
Hazel Lawson, Olive Carter, Julia Pinner
Father, please bless them with your peace, and a deep awareness of your presence with them, every day and in every way.
We also pray for: Overseas Mission Partners
Please pray for our leaders and healthcare workers, and all those working to keep us safe, well, and fed. Please pray that people would unselfishly put others before themselves.
Church Family Prayer
Come Holy Spirit,
and make us one in heart and action,
so that we can serve God faithfully:
abounding in love,
maturing in holiness,
and seeking out the lost.
Help us grow as disciples of Jesus –
in commitment, in depth, and in number –
that we may be a blessing to Amington;
to the glory and praise of God the Father.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labour in vain.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus
the only way to the Father.
Psalm 127.1, Hebrews 12.2 & John 14.6
May Christ our Saviour give us peace.