Listening with all our heart

When we listen with the openness of a child, we are able to discern God’s messages.

I used to read books to our two small boys before bedtime, and they would become so engrossed in the stories that they would not let me stop, until I finally had to declare an end point so we could all go to bed. When children are really engaged in a story, they listen with all their heart. Their thought is completely focused on what they’re hearing. A similar dedicated, childlike listening is critical in prayer.  

As recorded in the Bible, Christ Jesus’ disciples once asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” The account continues: “Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1–4).

To me, this implies that Jesus was asking his followers to humbly set aside materially based thinking in order to be open to what he was teaching them about spiritual life. And today, childlike listening enables us to be receptive to the Christ, which Mary Baker Eddy explains in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (p. 332). I find that attaining this childlike receptivity, where I become conscious of and receptive to the “divine message from God,” begins with the way I pray.

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November 27, 2023

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