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For the first ten years of my life, I was an only child. I guess my parents didn’t believe in baby-sitters or perhaps couldn’t afford them, I just remember accompanying my parents to a lot of adult events. At each, I was told to “be seen and not heard.” So, I grew up being rather quiet, and reserved. That lifestyle carried over into my prayer life. In fact, I remember wondering in church, why some people prayed such long, wordy prayers, and why in the worship service, we spent so much time talking and singing about God, and so little time listening to God. Much of my early instruction related to prayer dealt with speaking to God, rather than listening to God. Along the way, I was influenced by statements like that of American financier, statesman, and adviser to U.S. presidents, Bernard Baruch, who said, “Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” Someone had me memorize James 1:19, “brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak . . .” A famous poster said, “Listen and Silent have the same letters.” So, thanks to my parents and my culture, I spend a considerable amount of time listening to God and my prayers are usually brief, and to the point. Let me clarify, I don’t listen to God with my ears, nor does God speak to me with His mouth. But if I am still, and quiet, and meditative, I don’t need human ears or a divine mouth to hear from God. So, next time your prayer life is lacking, try listening.

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