Sermon quotes on listening

Augustine of Hippo

Remember this. When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold. When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness. This is also the case when people withdraw from God.

Bob Benson

When life caves in, you do not need reasons – you need comfort. You do not need some answers – you need someone. Jesus does not come to us with an explanation – He comes to us with His presence.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for other Christians is learning to listen to them.

Alfred Brendel

“The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent.

Brother Lawrence

There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God; those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it.

Winston Churchill

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

Robert Frost

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.

Ernest Hemingway

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen. 

Peter Kreeft

Listening to other people’s needs is listening to God. Noticing simple, natural beauty, hearing music, even confronting the challenge of pain and problems – that can all be listening to God too.

Harper Lee

People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Martin Luther

Some plague the people with too long sermons; for the faculty of listening is a tender thing, and soon becomes weary and satiated.

Frank Laubach

Prayer at its highest is a two-way conversation – and for me the most important part is listening to God’s replies.

Frank Laubach

The trouble with nearly everybody who prays is that he says ‘Amen’ and runs away before God has a chance to reply. Listening to God is far more important than giving Him our ideas.

Malcolm Muggeridge

Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.


Thomas Merton

Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him requires a lot of courage and know-how.

A.A. Milne

If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” 

Winnie-the-Pooh (Winnie-the-Pooh, #1)

Andy Murray

“Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue; God’s voice is its most essential part. Listening to God’s voice is the secret of the assurance that He will listen to mine.

Henri Nouwen

Prayer is first of all listening to God. It’s openness. God is always speaking; he’s always doing something. Prayer is to enter into that activity… Convert your thoughts into prayer. As we are involved in unceasing thinking, so we are called to unceasing prayer. The difference is not that prayer is thinking about other things, but that prayer is thinking in dialogue,… a conversation with God.

Henri Nouwen

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

Pope Paul VI

Of all human activities, man’s listening to God is the supreme act of his reasoning and will.

Eugene Peterson

Speaking to people does not have the same personal intensity as listening to them. The question I put to myself is not ‘How many people have you spoken to about Christ this week?’ but ‘How many people have you listened to in Christ this week?

Shel Silverstein

Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.

Phillip Yancey

Some who attempt prayer never have the sense of anyone listening on the other end. They blame themselves for doing it wrong…. Prayer requires the faith to believe that God listens.

C.S. Lewis

“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion.

The Silver Chair

Harvey Fierstein

How time flies when you do all the talking!

Torch Song Trilogy

Oswald Chambers

The voice of the Spirit is as gentle as a zephyr…So gentle that unless you are living in perfect communion with God, you never hear it.

Arthur Conan Doyle

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

David W. Augsburger

Being heard is so close to being loved, that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.

Sam Walton

Asking and hearing people’s opinions has a greater effect on them than telling them, ‘Good job.’

Thomas J. Watson

The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer.

Frank Buchman

The lesson the world most needs is the art of listening to God . . . God gave a man two ears and one mouth. Why don’t you listen twice as much as you talk? This is a daily possibility for everyone—to listen to God and get his program for the day.

The Revolutionary Path (London: Grosvenor, 1975), 5.

Gordon Smith

It is inconceivable to think that God would give us so much to do that we can no longer spend extended time with Him.

On the Way: A Guide to Christian Spirituality (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2001), 72.

Gordon Smith

It is inconceivable to think that God would give us so much to do that we can no longer spend extended time with Him.

On the Way: A Guide to Christian Spirituality (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2001), 72.

Joshua Brooks

For many of us, our ears have simply become attuned to listen for the opinions of people, all the while becoming deaf to the voice of God.  As H. G. Wells once said, “The trouble with so many people is that the voice of their neighbors sounds louder in their ears than the voice of God.”

Playing for an Audience of One: Learning to Live for the Approval of Jesus, Pleasant Word, 2008, pg.4.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Christians . . . so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.

Frederick Buechner

Listen to your life. All moments are key moments.

Thomas Watson

Be not only attentive in hearing, but retentive after hearing.

Alan Fadling

The practices of solitude, silence and listening to God started to slow me down and enabled me to focus my attention more and more on coming to Jesus and following him rather than talking about Jesus and slaving away for him…The focus was less and less on our activities for him and more on our attentiveness to him, on walking with him, and on working with him.

Taken from An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest by Alan Fadling Copyright (c) 2013 by Alan Fadling. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our illustrations page on Listening. 

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