Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Like many churches in America, we have this thing at mine called “Pastor on Call.” Basically all of our pastors take a turn being available for anyone who calls, emails, or stops by the church wanting to talk to a pastor. Typically I do this about twice a month.

A few weeks ago I had a lady come in to talk to me. I won’t go into all of the details but it was without question one of the most intense encounters I’ve every had with a human being.

For almost an hour I listened to her life of abuse and abandonment, going all the way back to when she was just three years old. She couldn’t stop crying, yelling, and cussing as she told the story of how she had been abused by her parents, her husband, therapists, pastors and others. If ever there was someone with a good reason to be angry at God, it was her.

I had no idea what to do to help her. What she was going through was galaxies beyond my experience and skill set. Usually there is something that I can do; an encouraging word, or scriptures, a few action steps to take, or some counseling recommendations. This wasn’t going to cut it with her. I was terrified.

After she was done there was a long silence. It felt like forever. As I was about to say something (I have no idea what) she broke the silence and said, “Thank you for listening. You have no idea how much that helped me. I think that’s what I needed today more than anything else.”

The simple act of listening may be the most powerful thing you can do for another human being. (Click to Tweet)

It’s not flashy or cool, but it is often more powerful then we think.

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2 thoughts on “The Power of Listening

  1. I also work the on-call line; but I’ve got it once a week. I once prayed with someone that was distraught over the death of Michael Jackson.

    I listened too….

  2. Hilarious!

    The most interesting call that I got was from a lady that wanted to know if God would be OK if she used a horse psychic to heal her sick horse, Cinnamon. After 20 minutes of conversation and the realization that God would probably not be OK with that she asked me to pray for her horse, which I did.

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