We all crave anointed preaching. We all desire to be fed by an anointed preacher who brings a message so powerful it inspires us deeply.
What I think most people really need though, is to do some anointed listening.
Imagine this scenario, imagine that a preacher comes in with the greatest message and most charismatic delivery that anybody has ever heard. Now imagine that the congregation who heard the message does not listen to a word that preacher had to say.
Do you see what I just did there? As you imagine that scenario, you may have actually recalled a time when you observed this very thing take place. A great sermon, an inspiring message, an incredible delivery, and yet people walk away without applying what they heard to their lives. At the end of that same day, they are no different than they were before the incredible message.
As Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees, he said a phrase many times, such as in Matthew 11:15 – “He who has ears, let them hear” as if to say “I know you heard me, but are you listening?”
A parent probably understands this best. We know what it is like to speak to a kid, you know they heard you, you know they understood you, but they are not listening to you!
Whether you are Jesus preaching to Pharisees, a pastor preaching to a congregation who is resistant to growth, or a parent talking to a child, the phenomenon of people hearing but not listening seems to be pretty common.
So what is it that you really need? Better preaching, or better listening?
How to listen
- In a conversation, do you do most of the talking, most of the listening, or is about equal? Realize that if you dominate a conversation, it is no longer a conversation. You are communicating to the listener that you are not interested in them, but rather you are only interested being interested in you.
- When listening in a conversation, pay attention. Leave your phone alone. Look at the speaker.
- Some listen only for as long as it takes for them to be able to speak again. If you are waiting to speak the entire time another is talking, you probably have not heard what they had to say, because you are thinking about your next statement.
- In the event where a speaker is addressing a group, like when you are hearing a sermon, consider taking notes. The process of writing your inspiration down will help to retain the information, and you will do you best to recall it later if you read your notes again later.