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Praying Woman

The Ministry of Listening

The Ministry of Listening

by Janis Jakes

It was a busy day at our regional airport. I sat alone and checked messages on my mobile phone. Like many people at the airport, I become temporarily invisible—sitting one seat away from a total stranger yet nonexistent except in my own world.

This day, however, the Lord had different plans. He drew my attention to a younger woman also sitting by herself and staring out the window. I sensed a prompting to go talk to her.

I hesitated, weighing in my mind whether it was really God. He knows I am an introvert and like to stay to myself in airports and public places. Why would He send me to do something so contrary to my natural desire? (Yes, I’m smiling.)

When the prompting remained, I turned off my phone and dropped it in my pocket. Ultimately, I love the Lord and desire to be obedient.

Okay, Holy Spirit. What do you want me to say? He spoke to my heart a tender message: Just be kind.

I moved across the aisle and sat down beside the young woman, hoping to be polite without appearing bothersome. I could see she was uptight and anxious but pretended not to notice. “How are you doing today?”

She barely held back the tears. “Terrible.”


“Yes.” She pushed a long strand of auburn hair behind her ear with trembling fingers. “I’ve never flown in my life. I’m going to see my boyfriend out of state, and I am petrified with fear.”

We talked for a good thirty minutes and she soon began to relax. As I listened to her, I learned she just needed someone to hear her—someone to listen to her heart. Someone who cared enough to step out of their world and into hers, if only for a few minutes.

Without God’s prompting, I would not have been that person.

How many others do the same thing? We are so busy and caught up in our own world—the one with the Do Not Disturb sign clearly hung across our expression—we miss opportunities to minister the love of Jesus through the simplest of acts, such as listening.

A similar situation happened one day when I visited the nursing home. An elderly gentleman began talking to me, and boy did he talk. He wanted to tell me short snippets of his life, and I listened while pondering an applicable Bible verse to share with him or a way I could contribute to the conversation.

I petitioned the Father, silently asking, “How can I minister to this man?” To which I believe He answered: By listening.

The elderly gentleman did not need me to be a brilliant conversationalist. He longed for someone to show they cared by hearing him. He did not need me to whip out my Bible and give him two verses from Romans and three from John. He needed me to listen. By the time we parted ways, I was glad I heeded the voice of the Lord.

As you go about the coming week, ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart to occasions to truly listen to others—not listening with the intent of responding but simply listening to what someone has to say. Ask Him to bring people onto your path who need a caring ear and compassionate heart.

Our God shows His love in so many ways, including listening. Let us offer the same to others and toward Him. What a simple yet powerful way to show we care.

But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah (Psalm 3:3-4)


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Articles to inspire, encourage and equip women fiercely devoted to Jesus Christ—warriors at heart—armed with the Word of God and dangerous to the kingdom of darkness.